Sunday, April 27, 2008

True or False: Child Support Enforcement Leading to Custody Wars

As always, I'm a little late with responses.

For some reason I'm still having problems with the Google blog system and I haven't been getting emails sent to my account telling me someone has posted a comment. Of course I have almost 200 posts on here and no way of knowing if someone has posted a comment, unless I get an email telling me they have.

It's definitely my lack of technical skills which is the reason, I have to go back and look at how I set up my options. I guess when I removed the moderate coments feature, I took off the notify by email feature as well. So there might be other comments scattered throughout my blog as well that I'm not aware of; thus, if I missed responding to someone I apologize. This is a small blog but I always try to respond to every commentor.

Quite my accident I found Richard's last comment. He compared my view of how the Johnson era changes to child support policy eventually led to the custody wars to the conspiracy theory that the government created AIDS to destroy black people. I felt it was a charge worthy of a whole separate post since it's on one of my favorite topics: child support policy leading to custody wars; and, frankly I didn't have another article to post anyway.

So I posted the begining of the comments to the end.


PolishKnight said...
Question

Hello NYMOM.

It would be very helpful to me if you could clarify your position on the so-called 'rights' or non-rights of men as fathers in this situation.

If men don't have "rights" as "sperm donors" unless contractually specified, and you agree with this, then do you think that "child support" for non-married people should be eliminated? Or is this a case of men not having rights but burdens by default?

In regards to this case, this isn't a simple "sperm donor" case but rather of a he-said/she-said issue. He says he wasn't a simple sperm donor and she disagrees. This isn't the same as anonymous sperm donors going to clinics looking to claim babies years later...

3:45 PM
NYMOM said...
I think I said many times that unmarried women should NOT be able to take a man into court for child support, although I would let the state take an unmarried man or woman into court IF the resultant child became a public burden.

I also stated that unmarried men should NOT be able to take a woman into court for visitation or custody.

These are things people would have to negotiate between themselves as they did in the past.

The ONLY time the state should get involved is if abuse or neglect is involved. Or a child is placed on public benefits of one kind or another.

4:07 PM
Anonymous said...
That was Charles Murray's position back in the '80s when he wrote the infamous Bell Curve.

Recognizing that it is mostly the dopes of our society doing unmarried births (still true, for the most part), he advocated keeping the rules real real simple.

No marriage, no rights, no goodies.

But he also favored cutting the other illegitimate daddy, the state, out of the deal as well.

By ending the public benefits that encourage births among the least suitable parents and making unwed birth the financial disaster it once was.

Which is probably stronger medicine than our system can swallow, so we'll continue to have the least fit producing more offspring for the more fit to support.

At least until the Muslims swallow up Western society and unwed motherhood ceases to be a statistically significant phenomenon, for obvious reasons. I hope I won't be around for that.

Richard

3:46 PM
NYMOM said...
Yes Richard, my position is just the opposite of Charles Murray's then.

I say that as long as people are not coming to others looking for handouts, they can do what they want with their lives. Marry, not marry, father works mother is home, mother works father is home or both parents work and use a trained chimp to raise thier kids.

I'm okay with it.

As long as the children are happy, healthy and safe it's up to their parents how they order their lives.

But Murray was wrong in many ways.

One thing that has been demonstrated recently in a pretty thorough study is that in states with strict enforcement of child support single mother birthrates dipped over 20%. That's a pretty big drop and I guaranteed you that most of the dip is in the communities that Charles Murray CLAIMED were just having kids to get money.

So women, even poor, young, uneducated ones, will change their behaviors if they see that it will lead to losing their children. What woman is going to make such an investment in having children only to risk having them snatched away a few months later????

So Murray underestimated the mother/child bond as men are often apt to do...

6:14 PM
Anonymous said...
You're saying that child support enforcement leads to poor women losing their children?

Not following that. Unless maybe this is more of that BS about men suing for custody to avoid paying child support.

If so, not buying it. Poor women lose their kids all the fucking time and and least of all to the fathers. CPS takes them away all the time and puts them with fosters or with grandparents if they're willing.

They even have a nickname for CPS: "the baby-snatchers."

And poor women see kids all around them dead from drugs and crime, or carted off to juvie or jail.

None of it deters their reproduction one bit.

And Murray wasn't saying these gals have kids just to get the money. More like, they don't worry enough about having illegitimate kids because they know the benefits are there.

If child support enforcement changes anyone's behavior, ever think that maybe it motivates the guys to put on some of those free condoms that Planned Parenthood works so hard to get out?

Which is good for everybody.

Richard

11:56 AM
NYMOM said...
I'm saying that stricter child support enforcement leads to more custody battles in our legal system which is currently infested with politically correct gender neutralized feminists. This has been going on since the late 80 early 90s...

I guess the word has now effectively spread, so there has been a dip of about 20% or so in the ratio of single mothers in those states with stricter child support enforcement.

I believe that this will also translate, if anyone cared to look, into a substantial dip in the population of African Americans in those states. Remember single mothers have been the engines of growth for that community. Let's face it if those woman had waited for a marriage to a husband with a good job in order to have any kids, their entire population would have been extinct about 50 years after the Civil War.

But that was the entire point when the idea of child support was first foisted off on the community after the riots in the 60s...a spiteful and mean-spirited attempt to destroy these people that has backfired and now haunts us all.

7:20 AM
Anonymous said...
"But that was the entire point when the idea of child support was first foisted off on the community after the riots in the 60s...a spiteful and mean-spirited attempt to destroy these people that has backfired and now haunts us all."

Wow! That's got to be the most far-fetched conspiracy theory I've ever heard. Right up there with the government creating AIDS to wipe out the black population.

Turning to child support was nothing more or less than an effort to keep the monetary demands of single mothers from swamping the economy.

A "spiteful and mean-spirited attempt to destroy these people" would have been more like simply eliminating the public benefits altogether. Turning to child support to defray the costs wasn't mean-spirited at all. It was very moderate and logical under the circumstances.

But if it also gets more of those guys to put a glove on it, hey, so much the better.

Richard

11:28 AM
NYMOM said...
Sorry I didn't respond but I didn't see this comment reflected in my emails. There's something slightly whacky about this google blog system, or maybe I'm not handling it correctly. Not sure.

But anyway: some public policy experts, at the time that the child support policies were enacted, saw the mean-spirited intent behind them. It was nothing but an attempt to shift the blame for the condition of Afr. Americans away from the 100 year post-emancipation denial of economic opportunities and foist it off onto the backs of their own families.

A more advanced form of blaming your mother or some other woman for everything men do wrong.

The changes were instituted under the Johnson Administration; but like many other public policy changes, the true impact didn't become apparent for a decade or two after the fact around the 80s/90s. The changes were made after a commission was put together to identify the 'causes' of the lack of advancement of Afr. Americans after the riots.

Anyway they came to the conclusion that the main problem was not a history of racism denying economic opportunity to black youth; but the fact that too many Afr. American men were abandoning their families and not providing enough economic support to their children.

The original intent behind child support was to reimburse the states for any assistance a poor woman needed to raise her kids. Initially it was just reimbursement for 'welfare' any actual money given to her. But now it's morphing into ANY assistance including state-supported child care in order for a mother to go to WORK...Eventually it will be for anything: medical, food stamps, housing and not to be able to pay it is considered criminal. Many many poor men are sent to jail and now, many poor women are starting to join them.

I actually used to correspond with a poor woman who lived in the south and hasn't been allowed to see her children in three years. She had lost custody to her ex-husband. Anyway she was under court-ordered house arrest, only able to go out to work and back (they had some kind of electronic bracket on her) and most of her paycheck was taken to pay child support. She was actually about to get evicted as she couldn't pay her rent on what she was left with...and many poor men are in the same situation as you know.

So this entire situation has gotten out of control, with even middle class families being dragged into it now (who never had a problem with collection of public benefits). Now the child support they pay is usually forcibly garnished through the state-run system that then uses those numbers to get reimbursed from the federal government for collecting child support monies. The federal government reimburses the state $1 for every $2 they collect or something of that nature.

So no one can address this issue properly to reform it, if we continue denying its ugly origins. Trying to compare this to some nut saying the government causes AIDS is not a valid argument. Why not try to address the actual child support issue instead of blowing it off.

13 comments:

The Real News said...

In 2001, I created www.FamilyLawCourts.com as a resource for reporters and the public to learn the system is working just fine as the system exists as a full employment act for attorneys, therapists, monitors, etc. Parents are merely the financial fodder with the children being the cog which turns the marketing wheel. So with judges acting more like sales reps than anything else, as well with documentation to back it up also on the site, what continually mystifies me is why parents keep expecting fairness and impartiality. I truly don't get it, and it beats me why are Americans worried about jobs and illegal aliens when the single most intrusive form of government we have today is a Family Court judge.

In Texas - their legislators make things just a tiny bit more strange. See www.FamilyLawCourts.com/statetexas.html

Then there's the matter of parents wigging out and killing their childen. Partial list of kids murdered by their parents at www.FamilyLawCourts.com/kids.html and why women should think twice before calling the police in the first place, at www.FamilyLawCourts.com/badcop.html

However, realizing legislators had scant interest in addressing issues was actually a very freeing day for me personally; because then I was free to come up with a solution rather than continually grousing about the problem. So the good news is although our government is broken, some Americans want to fix it. Not all though. As I mentioned earlier my eight years of experience compels me to add Most just want to complain so someone else will do the work.

That being said - I did the work. Those having a complaint about a judge are free to register it. I created a database in such a way reporters can research specific judges and biased, so-called mental health experts, attorneys and monitors. It's at www.USAjudges.com and for $45.00 people and attorneys can create a report about specific cases. So far attorneys have made the most reports. This is a useful for reporters and others who want to bounce a judge. As with most things, the solution lies with those impacted and no one else. Certainly not media who do not routinely cover the busiest court in the nation. The solution is paying it forward as one's neighbors, co-workers and members of one's own religious community frankly, don't want to bother with something in which they have no personal stake. That's just how it is.

NYMOM said...

Well I happen to consider this blog an attempt to address the situation. Everyone does their part to remedy injustice in their own fashion. I'm a grandmother, not so healthy anymore, so I think blogging is an effective tool to bring attention to what I consider a serious issue.

I don't consider what I do to be just 'grousing'. I often say to people I'm on a mission here and I am.

Anyway, your way to deal with it is probably just as valid, and I'm sure there are others out in the world taking an entirely different approach. Each to his own, each equally valid in how they approach the problem.

Whatever, good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I also believe that with a few rare individual exceptions, most of the new "interest" in fathers seeking custody is money (and the desire to control/punish the mother, which is closely related). I look at the historical reasons.

From roughtly the 1920s to the late 1950s, divorcing mothers experienced one of the best periods for mother custody with the "tender years" doctrine. Admittedly, the divorce rate was not as high then as later. Nevertheless, what was the FR reaction during that time period? I'll tell you. Nothing. Zilch. Didn't care. Oh, and did I mention that during those years, child support was virtually unenforcible? And that children as laborers had lost virtually any economic value to parents? (Child labor, with a few exceptions, was outlawed in the late 1930s). What an amazing coincidence. Kids are an economic liability = mother custody is okay.

By the early 1970s, the gender neutral feminists had already done away with "tender years" and instituted "best interests of the child" as a gender neutral standard. So dads had legal equality for custody over 35 years ago. Most moms continued to get custody, however, because they were the ones who had done all the child raising all along. And child support was still not very enforceable. So we have gender "equality", but mothers still have de facto custody because kids still have no economic value.

Now move to the 80s and 90s. Lots of conservative reaction against welfare (and virtually any support for working class or impoverished parents). We're going to go after the daddies, the authorities say. NOW the dads suddenly discover they want custody of their children. They want the check from mom, with her wages (at 50% to 75% of Dad's) garnished. Trash the b**** and get rich and the same time. What a deal!

Yup, it has everything to do with money. Just like the 19th century and before, when there was mandatory father custody. That's because kids were valuable as laborers. They made money for dad. Moms didn't succeed at getting custody laws changed until kids lost their economic value. Now that they have value again (as your link to a child support check), the dads want custody back.

Wow, what an amazing coincidence....

Silverside (who since getting custody back in Aug. 2007 has yet to receive a penny of child support, even though she paid it to a chronically unemployed deadbeat dad, now on the NY Register for Child Maltreatment and Abuse, for 11 years.)

Anonymous said...

NY, that's all very well and good, and I agree the system needs reforming. But what you were originally saying is that that the government came up with the child-support idea in order to try to destroy the minority population. That's what makes no sense.

"NOW the dads suddenly discover they want custody of their children. They want the check from mom, with her wages (at 50% to 75% of Dad's) garnished. Trash the b**** and get rich and the same time. What a deal!"

Silver, perhaps you got a screwy deal somehow but you're kidding yourself if you think child support is some kind of gold mine for custodial dads.

Less than a third of custodial fathers even have a custody order at all. Most of them feel it isn't worth the hassle they know will result.

Of the ones who do have an order, only about half receive anything at all.

The average child support order is some $300 a month. Since most payors are men, I imagine the amount that women are ordered to pay is considerably less.

And this is called getting rich? Dream on, lady.

Richard

NYMOM said...

First of all I totally reject the historic presumption that from the 1920s through the 1950s there was some significant change in mothers having custody of our children due to this so-called 'tender years' doctrine. This implies that mothers never had custody of our children, never raised our children until men reached some heightened stage of enlightenment; and, then suddenly as a gift to women, men decided to allow us to raise our children. Then the narrative continues that women 'screwed' it all up and raised a bad generation of children because fathers were not in control. In other words women screwed up the chance men gave us (as some kind of gift) so men took it back.

This is total and complete baloney.

In every species, in every age, the female of the species raise the young and human beings are no different from other species in this regard. Mothers raise and have raised the children of this world alone for eons and they've turned out just fine for the most part. Males are a secondary factor in this regard, not the captain but the crew, back up and support. Nothing else. Just because a few rare exceptions like a penguin or a male spider somewhere might participate more in rearing their young then most other species changes nothing about how 99.9% of the rest of the planet functions.

I don't know how many times I have to say this before it gets through to people but women do not receive their rights as mothers as a gift from men. These rights predates any court of law that man has ever invented. It is womens' rights through natural law (if you wish to call it that) from God, evolution, nature whatever. Not something women need to get legitimized in anyway by a court, or a signature, nothing...

It's just ours.

It has nothing to do with this total propaganda from feminism btw, that somehow feminists fought for and 'won' mothers' rights for them and so now women owe them something.

We owe them nothing.

Most people never saw the inside of a courtroom to decide custody of their children. They didn't need to since children were worth nothing, few children had estates, so nobody with the possible exception of their mother was interested in them. Thousands of homeless children wandered the streets as beggars and prostitutes in every city. Were men overwhelming the courts ever before this period looking for custody? Actually we never even had a family court system until about 100 years ago, it was unheard of...

All of this custody business is totally new for most people. It was dreamed up by the greed of men actually. You can see the echo of their greed in some of the terminology used to designate custody in Texas, for instance. They call it conservatorship or something like that and then you can get a joint conservatorship (similar to joint custody). This whole custody business is entirely about managing propery or income and with child support today every kid is potentially worth something. Anyway this conservatorship idea (which is the basis of what we call custody) probably originated somewhere in ancient times when men got themselves appointed as guardians for orphans who had propery to manage or some sort of income to look after. Until their ward became of age, the guardian controlled their income and often when the ward did come of age, they were forced to marry into the guardian's family. If an orphan had no propery, they were probably sold off into slavery or left to starve on the streets.

Economics is the root of these so-called custody or conservator arrangements and that's the root of the custody wars we are seeing today.

Now I'm not doubting that your ex could be a nut, just doing this for spite. But we have to acknowledge how economics drives most of the rest of these situations, if we are ever going to solve this thing in a rational manner. Since an economic problem is fixable, whereas a bitter, spiteful, ex-monster is not...

So if I accept your rationale about what is driving this, we might as well hang it up and go home right now. Because there is a difference between an asshole and a monster and a monster cannot be fixed. Your ex was clearly a monster, whereas many of the other men involved in this are just plain, run-of-the-mill, ordinary assholes.

NYMOM said...

Richard, whether or not the average child support order is $300 dollars a month of $30 dollars a month, it is still worth it to many men to seek legal custody. Because what you are overlooking Richard is what the average man pays if he is non-custodial and it's a lot more then $300. since most men still make more money then most women.

Maybe a man has to pay $800 if he doesnt't get custody. So minus the $300, that's a savings of $500 a month for a custodial father. I know men who never file for child support, they don't need to, since legal custody is all they wanted anyway to avoid paying themselves...

Let's not play stupid here Richard. I think you know the actual numbers for what men generally pay in child support versus what women pay as well as I do. So it's clearly a bigger saving for men to seek custody. It's a couple of hundred dollars a month extra in their pockets and whether or not they spend that couple of hundred extra on their kids is not relevant to the argument. They can if they wish, maybe many do, but the economic incentive exists for the unscruplous to seek custody for this reason.

Additionally the origins of our current child support policy is not in doubt. I just posted an article reviewing it a few weeks ago...I think it's pretty clear from the timing of its implementation that it was directed at the black population of this country in retribution for the riots of the 60s.

Anonymous said...

"I think it's pretty clear from the timing of its implementation that it was directed at the black population of this country in retribution for the riots of the 60s."

Well, I think it's pretty clear that a more effective means of retribution, if that's what it was all about, would be to scrap the welfare system altogether.

It was entirely natural for the average taxpayer who was supporting his own children and also contributing to the support of poor children on welfare to demand that the fathers of the poor should kick in as well. Nothing mean-spirited about it.

And if it's only gotten the guys donning the glove 20% more often, big whoop. It hasn't been nearly effective enough, then.

Now about that child support, of course I understand all about the net difference between paying and not paying. I was talking about that silly BS about custodial dads "getting rich" off child support when most of them are getting zip.

But you gals are really hot for this argument that men just want to avoid child support. In my opinion, even if child support IS a factor in a dad's decision to request custody, that's a big fat yawn.

Does anyone care when a mom who is perfectly willing to work out a joint custody agreement decides to demand joint instead after her lawyer tells her how much better she'll come out financially? Of course not.

Does anyone care that no matter how much women luuurve their kids they're obviously no more eager than men are to contribute to their upkeep when it involves helping fund another household besides their own? Almost no one.

Nor should they care. Because it's not the business of any outsider to attempt to divine, evaluate and approve a natural, legal parent's motives for demanding their fundamental right to the possession of their own damn natural blood children, be it father or mother.

If one parent's rights are not held sacrosanct, neither will the other's be in the long run. So think about that.

Sorry to pop your bubble NY but all that pontificating about all our planet's species just falls flat. Human females have never raised children alone in any significant numbers simply because it hasn't been feasible for us. The ones who have have done it at a huge disadvantage to the children themselves which we can still see today.

Human simply haven't developed and evolved that way. We have different and more complicated needs than the other species which is why the contribution of two parents is needed.

You only have to look around to see the proof of that. Two-parent families produce more winners, to put it crudely, and single parents of either sex produce more losers.

Deciding custody is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Which is why if I support any particular custody policy at all it's joint custody, which has been demonstrated to lower the divorce rate and keep a kid's home together. That's what they need the most.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to be offline for a couple of days. Enjoy.

Richard

NYMOM said...

"Well it's pretty clear that a more effective means of retribution, if that's what it was all about, would be to scrap the welfare system altogether."

This was in the aftermath of the riots of the 60s Richard. Maybe you weren't old enough to remember them, I was, the government had to call out the National Guard.

So no, the LAST thing Johnson wanted to do was something so obvious like announcing a total cutoff of every benefit to poor people...if you read anything about former President Lyndon Johnson, you'll see he was a very crafty politican. So what he did was to announce many EXPANDED benefit programs (but slip in a charge for reimbursement of every benefit you or any member of your family applied for).

That's the origin of our current child support policy.

It just took a little time for the federal government to force compliance from each state. But now over 30 years later, everyone is in compliance and these custody wars are the result. Only one result as there are numerous others: even these murders of pregnant women are related, this new fast growing crime of child abduction, same thing...

All connected.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that there was a 20% drop in out of wedlock births in states with stricter child support enforcement laws because MEN have decided to change their behavior as far as wearing a condom during sex because they don't want to risk paying child support? Everyone wants to focus on the behavior of the women, but maybe the stricter laws provide incentive for men to behave more responsibly rather than rely on women for birth control all the time. Condom use among men is very low, but put in an incentive to avoid a future child support burden, and they might be more inclined to wear a condom. The good old days of relying on women for birth control are over and now they have to take responsibility to prevent an unwanted pregnancy BEFORE they have sex if they don't want to pay for it. Otherwise, they make the kids, they pay for them. Sounds good to me.

another anonymous said...

I don't know about that. Ever since men have had more to lose in recent years by having irresponsible sex, they've only sired more illegitamate children without any regard to their or their childrens' future. At least women when they had more to lose waited until marriage to have babies. Obviously men are driven more by their penises than anything else, because they get women pregnant then complain later. And I thought men were more rational than women!

NYMOM said...

"MEN have decided to change their behavior"

Well that probably plays some SMALL role in the drop. Of course that thinking also feeds into the mentality of men (and many women) that the earth could not maintain its place in the solar system w/o the intervention of men.

Thus, our fixation on God, genesis, et al.

So let's proceed on the assumption, unless and until proven otherwise, that women, as the only creators of life on this planet, are the ones most likely to be responsible for the change.

Okay.

NYMOM said...

Of course, until proven otherwise.

NYMOM said...

"I thought men were more rational then women."

But men siring children has little to do with rationality. It's about the evolutionary desire to have SEX...and babies are the result of that.

Probably the reason men didn't 'sire' so many out-of-wedlock children in the past was because the penalties were so severe for unmarried WOMEN who became pregnant; thus single WOMEN chose NOT to have sex with too many men.

So really, it was WOMEN's behavior driving the historically low out-of wedlock birth rate all along, little to do with men, whose behavior has not changed.

As I said many time, the essential man is the same, whether in Brooklyn or Baghdad or for that matter in the forums of Rome over 2000 years ago.

The birth rate is driven by WOMAN...

It's just like I said about marriage. Everyone keeps talking about men not wanting to get married and that's why there is this so-called marriage strike. NEWSFLASH everyone: men have NEVER wanted to get married, not now, not ever.

For Pete's sake we have historic writings from Augustus of the various 'carrot and stick' approaches he was forced to implement to try and force men into marriage. They used to riot everytime he issued some new proclamation on the subject.

So marriage itself is probably in trouble today because WOMEN see little benefit in it anymore...

I think individual male behavior has little to do with either.

Although you could make a case that collectively men (who still control most of the governmental bodies that pass legislation, as well as enforce it) collectively men are responsible by passing laws unfavorable to women who marry and/or bear children.

So there is less of both.