Well as we can see from the two articles below the people that profit off of the custody of children are many and diverse.
As it’s not just family court attorneys, GALS and Evaluators who are making money from this whole custody business, nor is it the custodial parent necessarily, although all stand to lose something depending upon how this is ultimately resolved. But now we see even our state and local government itself stands to lose the windfall it has been getting from matching federal funds received for all child support collected.
Additionally it also appears that this could be a class issue of sorts.
As middle and upper class non-custodial parents appear to have been shouldering some hidden tax, which helps the state bring in federal dollars for lower income families. As I’m sure that the 71 million or so matching TANF dollars mentioned that the states receives from the federal government is NOT wholly based on matching child support collected from ONLY lower income families.
In other words as a friend of mine used to say: the plot sickens.
Thus as I’ve been saying right along, we must really address the financial issues surrounding custody of children. As the financial issues ARE the MAIN EVENT. Solve the financial issues and ALL THE REST will take care of itself.
I guarantee you that MOST of these custody fights will end TOMORROW when there is no financial incentive to have custody. Parents will go right back to doing what they did before which was settle it amongst themselves.
Actually I never even HEARD of a custody fight before the last 15 years or so (except in the movies or on TV) and I lived through the 70s where the divorce rate was even HIGHER then today. AND practically every divorce involved kids… Yet with no guarantee for ordinary parents of being forced to pay guideline child support (if they became non-custodial) or face getting tossed in jail if you couldn’t afford to pay it, no one bothered fighting over custody...
Custody simply went by default to the more interested parent (and in spite of much propaganda to the contrary that was generally mother). As it appears when children are not worth any money to anyone, the only one interested in them is generally their mothers (again in spite of much propaganda to the contrary)...
Additionally, we need to address MORE then just the child support issue. We must address ALL the tax and other public benefits that have made custody of children something for people to fight over. From subsidized housing, free medical care, extra food allowances to the infamous ‘anchor babies’ who give the custodial parent citizenship privileges, ALL of this must be addressed and either modified or come to an end.
Everything that has made children a prize to be fought for: support, benefits and other monetary/benefit advantages linked to custody must be rescinded or at least modified. The custody of a child must not continue to be seen as the equivalent of winning the Irish sweepstakes; but must return to its roots. Where custody naturally reverted to the one who cared the most about the child, not the ones who stood to make the most income from it.
Unfortunately there will be no simply answer here. Since the problem is so complicated, so must be the solution.
Measure Complies with Federal Law
By Rob Port
MINOT - Recently, North Dakota Human Services Director Carol Olson wrote a column about the North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative, a measure which got about 17,000 petition signatures and likely will be on the ballot in November.
Olson states that should the initiative become law, it would cause North Dakota to lose out on more than $70 million in federal money for human services programs in the state. To back up her claim, she quotes a letter from the federal regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Thomas Sullivan.
Unfortunately, neither Olson nor Sullivan are interpreting this situation correctly.
The standards for state child support guidelines are found in federal code Title 45, Volume 2, Section 302.56. All they require of state child support guidelines is that a) the state have a formula for determining the amount of child support, and b) that the formula take into account all of an obliged parent's income.
That's it. Federal law does not prohibit additional calculations (such as the actual cost of raising a child) from being used to determine the amount of child support to be paid, nor does the initiative prohibit the amount of income to be used in the calculations.
In short, the initiative is explicitly in compliance with federal standards.
So why is Olson saying that the initiative isn't in compliance? It helps if we follow the money.
The federal funding that the Child Support Enforcement division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services gets is based on the number of dollars that agency collects in child support. The more child support money the division collects, the more federal funding it receives.
The initiative likely would reduce the amount of child support collected in North Dakota by preventing support payments from exceeding the cost of raising the child. Currently, many parents pay hundreds of dollars a month more than they need to because current child support guidelines are based only on income, not the needs of the children.
The bureaucrats down at the child support offices like that because it means more federal dollars for them.
This is the key at the state level, rather than any concern about being out of compliance with federal regulations.
What we need to ask ourselves is this: What's more important: A family law system that's equitable to both parents and does not require child support payments in excess of what is needed? Or, keeping the amount of federal funds the child support agency receives high?
I pick the first one, especially in light of a recent announcement that North Dakota has a half-billion dollar budget surplus.
There is no reason to be sacrificing equality for the sake of some federal dollars right now.
VIEWPOINT : State wants to protect revenue stream
By Don Mathis
SHERMAN, Texas - The forces that are lining up against North Dakota's Shared Parenting Initiative have two things in common: lack of logic and lust for lucre.
For example, Herald columnist Lloyd Omdahl writes, "Dr. Diane Lye said that the single most important determinant of a child's well-being after divorce is living in a household with adequate income" . Does this mean if Dad makes more money than Mom, he should have custody?
How about this one: "Father contact in low-conflict families can be beneficial, but in high-conflict families, it can be harmful." I guess if the ex-wife wants conflict, the ex-husband should just drop out of his kid's life.
In fact, Omdahl and Carol Olson, executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services and the author of "Family-law measures would lead to cutoff of federal funds" , both are singing the same tune. They are afraid this initiated measure would jeopardize millions in federal Temporary Aid for Needy Families funds for North Dakota.
The refrain of their song is Omdahl's: "Many custodial parents have had to turn to the government and its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for help."
Well, how many: Fifty percent? Seventy percent?
No, 8 percent. According to Olson, the state's child support enforcement program "serves about 60,000 children monthly, and the TANF program ... each month helps financially support about 5,000 qualifying low-income children who live with single parents or other relatives."
While 8 percent qualifies as "many" if you happen to be in that category, there is a much bigger welfare recipient that all of us should know about.
The federal government gives millions of taxpayer dollars to each state so they may keep track of child support. North Dakota's share is $71 million.
How far would those millions go if they went directly to those 5,000 qualifying low-income children?
The North Dakota Department of Human Services is trying to use children to justify its budget. We have child labor laws to prevent exploitation of our children. DHS should be prevented from using kids for cash as well.