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September 27, 2006

Comments

Gee Guy

First of all, I agree with you. Don't waste the money on the stadium for the Saints. (The Rams maybe, but the Saints? No way!)

Second, don't dismiss Sinrud's idea too quickly. I recognize the rationality of your argument that a father will not be able to pay support if he is in prison, but there are some fathers (and, frankly, mothers too) who aren't going to pay it whether they're in prison or not. I have no problem locking these people up.

Maybe his is a bad solution to a real problem. Some men get orgasms while women (and taxpayers) get the kids. Do you have any ideas how to stop this? I would love to discuss them, because serial fatherhood without responsibility is a bad thing, with many adjunct and related problems.

Matt Singer

I think this idea shows how unfit Sinrud is for office, not because he's using it as a political wedge, but because he really hasn't thought it through.

My guess is that there are some better policies out there for this problem. That's a bit tied into my job, so I might dig some up.

Bill Anderson

Here’s my idea GeeGuy and Matt— First, legalize prostitution in Montana. Next, take all the male-hating "single moms” who claim they can’t support themselves, put them in travel trailers, and send the moms around to all the state prisons to service the inmates. The state could charge, say, one dollar a trick and split the money with the moms. Their income would be taxable, of course.

My idea would get the moms off welfare and stop them from whining to the newspapers all the time because they never get laid. The plan would make the inmates happy and less violent because they’d get really sleepy after pumping some ugly fat single mom for a half hour because she has no idea how to fuck, which is probably the reason why her old man left her in the first place. Also, by having regular sex so often, the inmates won’t become “butt rapists” like Wulfgar said.

And, hey, maybe a few of the traveling single moms will hook up with their deadbeat husbands again. Who knows?

moorcat

Gee Guy,

I would suggest that you know very little about what you are talking about. Having lived with the reality of the "support enforcement system" for 15 years, thing are a little different on this end.

Let me tell you catagorically - the support enforcement system has NOTHING to do with providing for non custodial children. If it did, silly proposals like Mr Sinrud's would gain traction with anyone. As Wulfgar has already pointed out, it is counter productive. Unfortunately, it isn;t the only law tied to support enforcement that is counter productive.

Another that most states employ (and those that don't support...), is to remove someone's professional and driver's licenses if you go delinquent in support. There's a bright idea if there ever was one. You will remove someone's ability to work so that they are motivated to pay child support. LISTEN UP, MORONS, IF YOU REMOVE MY ABILITY TO WORK, YOU REMOVE MY ABILITY PAY CHILD SUPPORT.

This never happens, you say? Horseshit. My license was removed the first time WHILE I WAS ACTIVELY PAYING CHILD SUPPORT (this was credited to a "clerical error" but it still ended up costing me over $400 to get straightened out, as well as five days lost work.

When I lost my job at Intel (along with over 8000 other high tech people in the Seattle area...), finding another job was, shall we say, difficult. Since I was paying child support by payroll deduction, as soon as the Support Enforcement devision missed a payment, they started the process for removing my licence again. Here is a little gotcha in that law - they don't have to notify you that they are doing it...

I found out my license was suspended when I was pulled over by a police man ON MY WAY TO A JOB INTERVIEW. Needless to say, I didn't make the interview.

Now, here is another catch... If your license is suspended for non-payment of child support, you can't get it back until you have paid all your back support. You also can't get a work license. If you have a DUI, you can get a work license, but if you are delinquent in child support, you can't.

So, Gee Guy, before you start rounding up all us "deadbeat dads" I would suggest you actually research the subject a little. I have been denied over 40 jobs in the last year alone simply because I do not have a driver's license. It is somewhat hard to pay support when you can't get a job...

This is just one area of support enforcement that most people don't know about. Larry brought up another - that there is no recourse for a non-custodial father to "force" the court awarded visitation. I have not seen my daughter in eight years - not because I don't want to, but because the woman that gave birth to her won't allow it. I have VERY good visitation on paper. Unfortunately, paper means nothing in reality and there isn't a "visitation enforcement division" to help me out...

If you want a really clear picture of the support enforcement situation, I would be more than happy to provide you with the picture you DON'T ever get to see on the news - and for the record, I was never married to my daughter's mother. She seduced me to get pregnant so that I would marry her. Yes, I was stupid enough (actually drunk enough in this instance - the major reason I don't drink anymore) to sleep with her. She showed up at my door a month later to tell me "you have to marry me now, I am pregnant".

I have been paying for that mistake for over 16 years now. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter to death (I have been to court three times over custody and I actually won the first two times...), but NEVER make the mistake of assuming that support enforcement has dick to do with actually supporting a child...

Moorcat

DMerriman

In a news item I saw on TV before the Saints game, it was pointed out (by a New Orleans resident) that there are 3 things that bring money into New Orleans: their convention center, the French Quarter, and the Super Dome - and that the football game was just the first event to be held there, soon to be followed by a number of other paying activites.
Sure, the money could have been spent on the demolished neighborhoods, making it possible to bring people back in. But back to what? With the refurbishment of the Super Dome, they now have an ONGOING source of income that can be used to the benefit of the whole city: repairing streets, updating power/sewer/water lines (to better survive the inevitable future hurricane), additional cleanup, and so on. Rather than spending the money on what would pretty much amount to a one-shot cleanup, they've used it to 'prime the pump' for a continuing source of income.
Oh, and that $184 million is in 'today' dollars; a better comparison would be to compare original construction and refurbishment prices when adjusted for inflation.

I'm not even going to get started on Sinrud.

Gee Guy

Moorcat, unlike some areas you have challenged me on, this is an area that I actually do know something about. I would daresay I have experience in roughly 50-100 times as many cases as your one.

And you are jumping to terrible conclusions based on your own bitterness toward me and/or the system. If you go back and re-read my post, I was hardly buying into the whole 'deadbeat dad' picture. I said there are "some" who won't pay no matter what; in my experience, spanning roughly 15 years with these cases, that is true. And I have no problem locking them up. And we do have a problem in our society with serial fatherhood without responsibility. For every guy like you who is trying to do the right thing, there is probably somewhere between .25 and 1 guy who just makes a kid and moves on. Those people leave vast wreckage in their wake.

Now, let's move from my points to yours. First, you state: "If your license is suspended for non-payment of child support, you can't get it back until you have paid all your back support." That is true, but somewhat misleading. You can avoid suspension of your license in the first instance by entering a payment plan. This does not require that you pay all your back support. It is a plan "that provides sufficient security to ensure compliance with a support order and that incorporates voluntary or involuntary income withholding ...or a similar plan for periodic payment of a support debt and, if applicable, current and future support." MCA Sec. 40-5-701

So, if you get in arrears and make arrangements to pay the debt, you can avoid suspension. If you fail to comply with your plan, then you can lose your license and, technically, could be required to pay all of your support to get it back. However, in my years of doing this, I never saw this happen for good faith failures.

Second, I agree with you that the support system is often abused by the custodial parent. I often saw custodial parents living better than the kids for whom the money was sent. True, and it sucks.

Third, you are correct that there is no "visitation enforcement division." This, too, is another serious problem (I wish custodial parents who screw with visitation could see that they are hurting their kids even more than the non-custodial parent!) The explicit policy of the law is that support and visitation are separate from each other. I can't remember the exact statute, but the rationale is that they don't want parents withholding support when there are visitation disputes, or withholding visitation when there are support problems. It may or may not make sense to you, but there is at least a rational basis to keep the two separate.

Now, as much as I agree with you, I am going to argue the opposite side of some of your points. I am not trying to comment directly on your situation as much as use it to make the points. Please don't be overly offended.

First, drunk or not, you created the kid. Period. And you created the kid with her mom, whether you now think she is evil or insane or whatever. Good, bad, right, wrong, it is the fact. And I would be willing to bet that if her mom were posting here instead of you, she'd be saying what a worthless piece of trash YOU are. But, no excuses, you and mom created an 18 year problem through your OWN actions.

Second, the support process can be and is often abused. On the other hand, having handled both sides of these cases, and having my own kids, I can tell you that if I paid my wife child support based on the Montana Guidelines, it wouldn't do squat as far as the true expense of raising my kids. From your point of view it probably seems like plenty of money; it isn't.

Third, I am certain you love your daughter. And the policy of the law, right or wrong, is to place your daughter's interests above yours. So, when you lose your job, "the law" doesn't care. She doesn't stop eating. Your obligation continues. Again, the law has no sympathy for parents.

Fourth, while we hear of deadbeat dads, I just as often encountered deadbeat moms. I saw a very common sentiment on the part of non-custodial moms that 'moms don't pay support,' that was just a flat out refusal.

Now, one little personal bit of encouragement for your case, Moorcat, and I'm sure you will tell me to take a flying leap and it's none of my business. But while it is of little consolation to you now, kids like your daughter who are denied contact do figure it out in the end. She'll know the score, and you will get her back. I laugh that I am old enough to have outlived one of my custody cases to be able to relate this as one of my happiest stories: when I was a brand new lawyer I was in a hard fought, 3 year battle to win custody for my client, the kids' mother. Their dad refused visitation, vilified me, and vilified the mom. A few years ago, one of the kids, who is now an adult, came up to me and thanked me. He said he could never wait to grow up so he could see both his mom AND his dad. Hang in there.

Direct Action

It would be a lot cheaper, quicker, and easier just to kill the bitch and disappear with the kids. Fuck your legal bullshit GeeGuy.

moorcat

Gee Guy,

There is so much utter horseshit in what you posted, I cannot even begin to point it out at this point as I am getting ready to get on a bus to see the two kids I actually raised - for the most part as a single parent without any support at all from their mother.

When I get back, we can continue this conversation. I find that you have a very unrealistic view of the support system. You are assuming that I am only aware of my own case. In that, you are completely incorrect. I was the regional Vice President for PWP and it was my job to monitor (and sometimes even testify before) the Oregon Legislature to try to address some of the many varied problems with the system. Your "estimate" of .25 - 1 "deadbeat dads" to every case like mine is so completely wrong as to defy reason.

I have no idea what capacity you claim to have worked in the support system but it is painfully obvious that you still have a few blinders on when it comes to the actual situation facing tens of thousands of men in the US.

It is time you lifted the blinders. People like you allow idiots like Sinrud to hurt people like me (and more importantly, people like my daughter...)

This whole conversation has caused a lot of hurt that I usually keep pretty buried to surface so I am going to walk away from it now. If you seriously want to hear the whole horror story (including the fact that I have filed three times to have my support reduced since becoming unemployed without ANY responce at all or how Oregon Support Enforcement charged me child support for the three and half years I HAD PHYSICAL AND LEGAL CUSTODY OF MY DAUGHTER due to "clerical error") I will be more than happy to enlighten you later...

Moorcat

Gee Guy

Actually, Moorcat, a "conversation" is a two way thing. This seems to be about me taking a position, and you calling me stupid or uninformed based on isolated, empirical references to your situation. I'm actually too busy for that, and it's pretty uninteresting.

Good luck with your kids.

Wulfgar

Ya know, it's probably due to my own distance from the situation, but I've read these comments 3 times now, and I'm really not understanding the animosity involved here. So, I'm not going to step any further into it than I obviously already have.

I do want to clarify this, however: to me the 'problem', to the degree that there is one, is truly about taking care of the kids. Discussing the morality of irresponsible parenthood probably doesn't help solve the problem, because then it becomes an "issue". That was kind of the point of the post, after all.

In answer to your question, Geeguy, as to whether or not I have a solution, I do have a proposal: Make child-support payable by the state, based on the ammount set and attributed to the indivisual paying parent. Then make the paying parent responsible for the funding as a function of taxation. The collection apperatus is already established, the penalties are already in place. If they don't go, they eventually end up in prison anyway. And the goal of funding the child is accomplished regardless. (Keep in mind, the government doesn't stop funding Halliburton just because people welsh on their taxes; the same principle is at play here with kids lives.)

Now, there are reasons that I don't like the idea I just kicked out, but I will say this: it has the huge advantage of NOT being counter-productive to the success of the stated goal.

Gee Guy

A reasonable enough proposition. While I disagree with it for several reasons, and while I think the problem of irresponsible parenthood goes far beyond morality, due to the animosity you mentioned (for which I apologize to you and your brother), I'm just going to shut my pie-hole on this one!

Wulfgar

Geeguy, strictly for the record, you've no need to apologize to me here. It isn't your animosity I find confusing. I know full well that Moorcat has been ill-used by a poor system. I am equally aware that he has strong and often bitter feelings about it. What I don't get is that anything you wrote here inspired such harsh response. I'm not saying it's unwarranted; just that I don't get it.

moorcat

Geeguy,

I do apologize for being so harsh to you. I have had a week to think about it and I did take out my bitterness about the system on you (when I REALLY wanted to take it out on Sinrud...).

You didn't really deserve my venom. What set me off was your original statement that you agreed with the idea of putting anyone in jail for back child support. I know that you qualified it but unfortunately, most people don't. The idea seems to be that if you are in arrears in child support = "dead beat dad". I tend to react badly to that idea and anything that smacks of that idea...

As far as a solution, there have actually been a number of common sense solutions proposed in various places in the last ten years. Unfortunately, most of them have been defeated because of the afore mentioned stereotype.

The one I REALLY liked was the idea that non-custodial parents should be given a hiring preference for government/civil employment. Not only does it solve the problem of collecting support (who better to collect support than the government that is supervising it) but it also solves the obvious problem that you can't collect support from those unable to pay support.

This would do nothing to solve the problem with people who simply do not want to pay support but it certainly would help with cases like mine.

The bottom line here is that the current idea (of punishing non-custodial parents by removing their ability to work) is counterproductive and needs to be addressed. The system is creating a self sustaining problem with no solution.

One last thing - the idea you mentioned about a "payment plan" was too simplistic. What you failed to mention was that a payment plan (at least with Montana, Washington and Oregon - I know about those states because I have personally dealt with them...) REQUIRES a substantial "downpayment" of back child support before they are even considered. If you are in my situation (unable to get a job because your ability/licences ect have been removed for back support), you can't pay the required "downpayment" and the statute is worth less then the paper it is printed on.

Again, I am sorry I was overly harsh to you. You didn't really deserve it.

Moorcat

Gee Guy

Moorcat. No offense taken. This is obviously an issue that is very close to you.

Again, I probably agree with you more on these things than disagree.

When I did this work, I was considered sort of a "dad's rights" guy. I saw too much visitation abuse. It is hard to blame a guy for being galled about being asked to support his ex and her newbie, when he can't even see his kids.

Realistically, the problems we discuss are more cultural than legal. Dads' importance is minimized today, and that's wrong.

Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts and I wish you the best.

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