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Sexism and Bias A Cancerous Nightmare

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Sexism and Bias have become a Cancerous Nightmare in the Family Court System. Leaches plaque our hearts and minds as they continue to suck $$$$ from a body that is soon to be bled out.

I was given permission to share the following situation. This is part of an Article entitled: “Sexism in Divorce law and Child Support enforcement.” To read the whole article you may go here: GATHER.com.

Hannah writes:

The bills are piling up and the income is shrinking to meet them in the middle. Our budget is stretched so tight that it’s got holes in it big enough to drive my 1992 Plymouth Grand Voyager through it, bent tailpipe and all.

It’s not that we don’t make enough to support ourselves. My husband and I both work. The problem is that we don’t make enough to support two families, yet that is what we are required to do… and it isn’t because his ex can’t make ends meet… She earns more than my hubby and I both put together, and her hubby has a job, too. She hides income to collect more child support from my hubby, and the CS agent in charge of their case TOLD MY HUBBY THAT SHE’S ALLOWED because SHE’S the mom and she “needs” the money more than he does.

She and her hubby can afford a huge house (big enough they have allowed another family to move in with them,) two cars from this century, cable TV, high-speed internet, new digital video cameras and a Wii, mall-shopping and fashion-store clothes… she has a blackberry, and it’s her SECOND one. She got her first one when they were new and REALLY expensive. She gave that one to her oldest daughter so she can keep tabs on her. The younger daughter has her old old phone.

We live in a cramped two-bedroom apartment, drive clunkers which are about 20 years old – one was free, and the other was under $200.00, or we’d have NONE – , don’t have cable, scrimp for internet so our son can do school assignments which include internet use (don’t they know some people have budgets?!?), shop at Goodwill and the Salvation Army (when we can afford to – I haven’t replaced my socks, undergarments, or shoes in about four years… in fact, my current work shoes came from a friend who didn’t fit into them but couldn’t return them to the store. It’s hard to find women’s 9 1/2 ww at thrift stores, so I’ll probably get mens’ shoes again when these fall apart) and dread holidays because it’s hard to come up with the money to celebrate with the family.

She buys expensive gifts toys for her two younger kids with the new hubby using the child support money my hubby pays. My hubby’s two daughters often get the great privilege of SHARING gifts. (Last year, the family got a Wii.)
I worked for hours on a points site, writing and publishing like a madwoman to earn bookstore gift cards so that we would have SOMETHING to give the kids, including MY son with my hubby… who apparently doesn’t matter in this equation as far as CSEA is concerned.

When my hubby’s ex had each of her younger babies with her new hubby, MY husband’s required child support payments to her went up immediately. However, when we applied to have the same consideration given to our case based on the birth of our son, it took them a year to give it to us, and they refused to make the reduction retroactive to the beginning of that application.

When she CHOSE to quit her $40,000.00 a year job, she asked for even more child support based on her household’s reduced income, and received it.

Later she FLED with the kids, packing up suddenly and moving from the northwest area of the state to the south-central area, a small town out in the middle of nowhere a four-hour drive away from us. She CHOSE to take them and move. She and her new hubby CHOSE to lose their income in the process. She told my hubby about a week before she left that she was moving, and that in doing so she was going a far enough distance to negate the custody agreement. She thought that this meant he wouldn’t be able to visit his kids. Instead, my hubby moved to a friend’s house in the Dayton metro area, an hour’s drive away from the ex’s new locale. It wouldn’t help with the afternoon visits, but he’d still have the weekends.

It took him eight months to find a job. Faced with a market that labeled him everything but hired (even McDonalds turned him down for being overqualified), he applied to go back to school. At the financial aid office, he made a connection that found him employment, but it wasn’t as good as the job he’d left behind. Now, he was making minimum wage.

After he began working again, he applied to CSEA to have his child support reduced based on his circumstances… circumstances which came about in response to CHOICES made by the ex.
At the CSEA’s hearing on the matter, he was told that his drop in income did not occur for the reasons he’d stated, but because he’d quit his job to move to Dayton and go to school, decisions made for his own purposes and his own benefit. They totally ignored the facts that there were better schools for his area of study in his original hometown, that the only attractive things about the area to which he’d moved was its proximity to his kids, and the availability of a place to temporarily live rent-free, and that a few years earlier, they’d increased his child support when his ex-wife had chosen to quit her job for her own purposes and her own benefit.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not for one minute disagree with or resent my husband’s financial responsibility for his two daughters who live with their mother. It is not wrong for him to be expected to contribute financially to the meeting of their expenses.
What I do disagree with and resent is the unequal treatment the system has given to the two parties (my husband and his ex-wife) with regards to the manner in which support is assessed and assigned and in which rules governing that process are applied.

It’s been intensely frustrating dealing with the CSEA system’s sexist attitude. Making it worse is our knowledge of friends’ cases involving ex-wives who are supposed to be paying support, and friends who owe support to their ex-wives. In every case we’ve seen where a man is the payer, the CSEA rules with an iron fist. When the CSEA makes a mistake, such as the time they put my (now late) BIL in jail over the weekend of my hubby’s and my wedding (which he missed as a result) NOT over back-owed support, but over a typo – his case worker’s mistake – there isn’t even an apology. When a guy does get behind, even by one payment, he gets everything from threatening phone calls to instant jail time. (My BIL’s weekend in jail was for one payment, which he’d made, but which was not properly recorded due to that typo.) I know a number of guys, including my hubby, who have been threatened with jail, harassed with phone calls, and hauled into court over less than a thousand (which can be just a few payments) back-owed.

A male co-worker of mine got protective custody of his daughter after the mother’s neglect led to the girl becoming very sick. When he stopped paying child support after gaining custody (our small employer didn’t deduct) the CSEA tried to go after him for it in court. The case worker even told him that getting custody was cheating and that he should still have to pay!

That attitude is more widespread than you think: A friend of ours from the old neighborhood had shared custody with his ex-wife, and child support payments were taken from his paychecks. His ex screwed up, and he ended up with protective custody of their kids. Afterward, the CSEA continued to confiscate child support payments from his paychecks for six months, despite repeatedly being provided with proof that he had full custody. The payments were sent to her, and she wouldn’t have to pay him back the thousands of dollars the agency had taken in her name unless he took her to court.

Conversely, in every case we know of involving women paying child support, the agency bends over backwards to avoid enforcing it. I know of one woman who is behind by over $8000 (and four years) and hasn’t had any penalty at all. When she had custody, and her ex-hubby was behind by a lousy three days, the same CSEA case worker who now, won’t go after the ex-wife for the $8000, then, threatened him with jail time.

A woman I worked with in the county where I grew up quit her job to avoid paying support. Her ex, who also worked with me, was told by “his” CSEA case worker that since he was a man, he should be able to earn enough to make up the difference. Suck it up and drive on.

Sensible standards need to CSEA. Fraud should NOT be permitted, EVER. One child should not be denied a normal existence just because other children exist. Support shouldn’t be used as a means of punishing the non-custodial ex for whatever “wrongs” (real or perceived) led to the divorce. No one should be forced to pay support for a child that is not his or hers. Custodial parents shouldn’t be able to use child support as a gravy train. Non-custodial parents shouldn’t be put into the poorhouse by child support enforcement gone wild.

Please take a moment and SIGN for Child Support Reform. You do not have to be directly involved in the Child Support System to Sign this Petition. Yet, we are all apart of the System; if someones’ U.S. Constitutional Rights are being violated, you are being violated. How much more Government interference are you able to put up with? Presently, the Children are always the losers; relationships are being ruined, thousands go to jail and thousands commit suicide each year! PLEASE USE THE COMMENT FORM TO SIGN LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE; Thank You!

“The more of us we have, the more hope we have and hope is the commodity we need; RIGHT NOW!”

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About The Author

My name is James (Jim) DeLelys. I have been involved in the Child Support System for nearly 16 years. Over those years I have acquainted myself with countless individuals who have had to bear the burden of a terribly broken and corrupt sytem. It is through 'listening' that I have come to the enevitable conclusion that Child Support Laws and Government interference can not be tolerated anymore.

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