The True Equality Network is a group of mostly women 40,000 strong who are a rational group unlike most radical feminists and are advocates of shared parenting who recognize the tremendous bias against dads in family courts. Recently Terri Lynn Tersak wrote a very informative detailed piece that details the economic motives behind child support, the motives behind how the state acts and why the states do not and never will collect child support arrearages.
There are several key messages and data in this piece that all of us should have at our fingertips to understand the real problem as opposed to getting carried away by what we see in the media or what is communicated based on cursory analyses.
The Federal incentives under the failed “Child Support Incentive and Performance Act” (CSPIA) actually pays the states more money not to collect child support arrearages than it does for collecting them and that most of the people screaming about the problems with child support are missing the most critical point; the fighting is all about the money, not about our children.
SOME KEY FACTOIDS
1) The US Census Bureau reports that 90% of fathers with joint custody, 79.1% of fathers with visitation rights, and 44.5% of father with no visitation rights pay their child support in full.
2) Parents who are wrongly denied visitation with children don’t pay child support regardless of the enforcement actions taken over 60% of the time.
3) Less than 5% of male child support obligors who legitimately qualify for federally required downward modifications in their child support orders are granted reductions.
4) The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) reports that 70% of all outstanding child support arrearages are owed by obligors’ earring less than $10,000.00 per year. Most of the arrearages from this group remain unpaid after ten years.
5) DHHS-OCSE reports that approximately 5% of all outstanding child support arrearages are owed by obligors earning over $40,000.00 per year and 100% of the arrearages owed by this group are paid within ten years.
6) US Census Bureau figures show only 57 percent of moms and 68 percent of dads required to pay child support pay all they owe.
7) The most effective and cost effect method of child support enforcement is enforcement of custody and visitation orders.
8 ) The most common method of wrongly reducing a parent’s time with their children is through false claims of abuse.
9) Since 1999, every state has cut state level funding for child support enforcement by as much as 32%.
10) False claims of abuse are so pervasive our states have started passing laws making it a criminal act to do so (The sad thing is; filing false claims of abuse is perjury and perjury has always been a crime).
One of the sources of income for the state is the “incentive payment pool”. However, a states share of the pie is much higher if the administrative costs of collecting child support is lower i.e. the states are incented based on their cost effectiveness of collecting child support payments. Hence the popularity of wage garnishment since it keeps administrative costs low, thereby increasing effectiveness, thereby increasing a state’s share of the incentive pool.
As you go down the income range of obligors, each state hits a break point where they make more money not collecting an arrearage as they would collecting. Moreover, at the bottom of the scale, they can actually loose incentive monies by collecting these accounts.
The third “class” of child support monies is called, “Collected, undistributed.” That means the states actually collected the money, but did not pay it to the parent who was expecting it. This collective amount of collected but not distributed child support payments in every state is not a trivial amount. The states will tell you they have no idea where these parents are. They tell the parents expecting the money, it wasn’t paid by obligor and it sits in interest bearing accounts and the states get to keep the interest. How do they make this work? Because fighting parents do not speak with each other and get their information from the state.
The parents who need the child support the most get the least amount of service, so our welfare reform is not replacing public assistance, it simply abandoned the neediest and their children.
Today, the American male is taught to believe that violent behavior by women is “comical” and that pusillanimous submission to violent women means you are “sensitive” and therefore worthy of being with a woman. While at the same time any type of violent behavior on the part of a man requires they receive “social retraining” and/or are incarcerated.
In order for the states to get the biggest piece of the big pie as they can, they need a lot of child support to be collected. To that end, they need a lot of child support on their books. So, they must generate the maximum amount of child support per case and being that their budgets depend on those incentives, they have to find a way to maintain those levels in as many cases as they can.
Based solely on ideology and government-funded, industry promoted propaganda, today the generally accepted perception is that only men are abusive in intimate relations and only women are abused. Only men fail to pay child support and only women suffer from the system. The long established facts clearly demonstrated by hundreds of peer-reviewed research studies show that none of this is true. Yet radical ideologues demand ever more draconian intervention with total disregard for due process and the rule of law. There is no effective oversight of what the funding is really spent on; and that the present system not only fails to serve, but abuses the abused. Yet zealots demand more of the same and ever more government funding. This is a classic approach of bureaucracies. If the current approach does not work, the obvious solutions are to throw more money at the problems and hire more bureaucrats to promote the party line.