I recently wrote a blog post about the organization, Fathers and Families and their concern over states being able to garnish money from deadbeat parent’s bank accounts. I’m not someone who wastes a lot of time worrying about a parent who doesn’t pay child support. My concern is with the child who, more than likely did without because mom or dad didn’t pay.
I received a comment to that blog post that is indicative of a lot of the rhetoric I read on Divorce Support and other sites online from men who believe that child support laws are unfair. There are a lot of men who consider themselves victims of an unjust system because they are ordered to support the children they chose to have.
Below is the comment and my thoughts on his argument that he and other men are the victims of “legalized extortion.”
"Your post assumes the dad or parent did the leaving and made the choice not to pay. What if this scenario transpired: the dad was kicked out, willingly gave up his rights to all property and assets, paid his entire paycheck to the ex, only to end losing his job and getting kicked to the curb after working very hard at the marriage and giving up everything for 5 years.
His ex can now go down to the state offices, lie about how much he earns and an order is immediately set in place charging him thousands he cannot pay. He’s unemployed, remember? He seeks a modification; this process takes two years to go through, the end of which the amount is not backdated so he still owes back child support based on an amount he never, ever earned.
Even had he earned the amount, the amount taken out of his check would leave him with well under a thousand dollars a month to live on. If he remarries, the ex can go after his new wife’s income for her child support, and yet he doesn’t get to credit his ex’s new husband’s very substantial income in his favor.
His children are all in school, his ex is a certified dental hygienist and, even working part time while the kids are in school, could make significant money “in the best interests of the kids”. Instead, she chooses to extort it from a man who works tirelessly seeking work.
He gave it all to try to make it work and he cannot possibly hope to have a life…EVER. This legalized extorting is unjust in the extreme, does not benefit the children at all, and only benefits the unethical woman.
And, while this is only one example, it is a commonly occurring for many good and decent men who never wanted a divorce in the first place. It was NEVER their “choice”. Instead men often end up paying with their lives for someone else’s choice. On what planet is any of that even remotely fair?"
Distortion, Not Extortion:
The above is nothing more than a distortion of the truth. As someone who has worked as an expert in the field of divorce for over ten years I can spot a twisted tale and that is what we have here.
This man wants us to believe he was adversely affected by the Family Court System. In order for us to believe such a thing he has to either leave out details of his story or embellish the story with a few untruths.
Let’s take his comment point by point and break it down and attempt to shed some light on what more than likely actually happened.
Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave:
He asserts that he was kicked out by his wife, gave up all property and assets and gave her his entire paycheck.
- If this is true he did so of his own free will. If he chose to give everything in an attempt to save the marriage no one extorted anything from him. And if he made this choice he did himself no favors because he had the option of protecting his legal rights from the moment his wife kicked him out.
“His ex can now go down to the state offices, lie about how much he earns and an order is immediately set in place charging him thousands he cannot pay.”
- Sorry but that isn’t the way it works. State Child Support Enforcement Offices DO NOT base child support on what a spouse says the parent made. These offices use the Department of Motor Vehicles or The Federal Parent Locator Service to attempt to locate the non-paying parent.
If that parent can’t be located they will impute an income into their system based on the last job the parent had and the earnings at that time. The commenter’s ex-wife didn’t lie to child support enforcement. What happened is, she reported him for non-payment of child support, he had disappeared and when they could not find him they imputed an income for him.
”He seeks a modification; this process takes two years to go through, the end of which the amount is not backdated so he still owes back child support based on an amount he never, ever earned.”
- Yes, if you wait until the State’s Child Support Enforcement Agency gets your case you can experience a long, drawn out battle when trying to modify child support. If the commenter had gone to court when he lost his job instead of stopping paying child support and forcing his ex-wife to use the agency he would not have ended up in such a battle.
He failed to protect himself by using the court the moment he became unemployed and is now angry with the system that was put in place to protect him. It is a convoluted thought process that I see often. He did what many are guilty of doing. He lost his job, stopped paying, ended up on the state’s registry and now is angry, angry, angry at others instead of himself for failing to take the proper legal steps he should have taken in the first place.
”If he remarries, the ex can go after his new wife’s income for her child support, and yet he doesn’t get to credit his ex’s new husband’s very substantial income in his favor. “
- Not even close to the reality of the situation. A new spouse cannot be held financially responsible for the support of any offspring other than their own. An ex can NEVER go after the new spouse’s income to pay child support. That is the law folks.
On the other hand, if his new wife co-mingles her money with his money that money can be garnished to pay back child support that is owed. For example, if there is a bank account in both his name and her name the state can take money from the account. She can stop the state from taking money that she earned by filing a “Notice of Exemption” with the state. His new wife’s income WILL NOT be impacted by the money he owes for child support arrears if she takes proper steps to keep that from happening.
”His children are all in school, his ex is a certified dental hygienist and, even working part time while the kids are in school, could make significant money “in the best interests of the kids”. Instead, she chooses to extort it from a man who works tirelessly seeking work.”
- This statement makes no sense. It is irrelevant whether or not the mother makes enough money on her own to support her and the children. Her ability to earn doesn’t not take away his legal and moral responsibility to pay. His opinion is that since his ex-wife expects him to help financially care for his children she is trying to extort money from him.
I would like to ask him if he would be willing to take on the responsibility alone if he had substantial income and his ex-wife was refusing to help him support the children? One has to wonder how any parent, mother or father gets to the point of believing they should have no financial responsibility just because the other parent “makes enough money.”
”It is a commonly occurring for many good and decent men who never wanted a divorce in the first place. It was NEVER their “choice”.
- I’m sorry but “good and decent men” don’t whine about paying child support. Good and decent men use common sense when dealing with problems such as a job loss and child support. Good and decent men do not hide from a state agency that is looking for them due to child support arrearages. Good and decent men don’t blame others for mistakes they make and this commenter made the mistake of not utilizing the Family Court System to his best advantage and now wants to blame everyone but himself for the position he is in. By doing so he is doing himself no favor, not to mention what his actions have done to his children.