"Is Staying Home with Children "Shirking Work" For Child Support Purposes?
The Wisconsin Supreme Court Says No
By JOANNA GROSSMAN
Tuesday, Jun. 14, 2005
Some Background on Child Support Law
Once, only fathers were legally required to pay child support. Now, under the law, all parents have a legal duty to support their children.
In theory, child support has always been available.
BUT HISTORICALLY, IT WAS NOT ROUTINELY AWARDED UNTIL AT LEAST THE 1970's..."
I myself highlighted the above fact as I think it is important to understand the evolutionary history of our modern day ‘custody wars’ especially since this particular series of wars appears to dovetail precisely with the federal government’s standardization and enforcement of child support guidelines.
Of course, I know many will paint this as probably being a coincidence.
Nevertheless, it would seem that once gaining custody of a child automatically equaled controlling access to ALL the financial assets of the family, suddenly everybody and his grandmother decided they needed to fight for custody...
…whereas previously, when MOST children were worth little or nothing, ONLY their MOTHERS appeared very interested in them.
Then, through a series of federal laws, Congress required states to adopt rules that would result in a greater number of child support awards, in greater amounts. (It did not, however, mandate what the rules ought to be.)
Pursuant to a 1988 federal law, every state today maintains child support guidelines that dictate exactly how much a non-custodial parent should be obligated to pay.
The guidelines in each state are derived from a set formula, which is supposed to produce an appropriate amount of support to meet children's needs. These formulas, regardless of their technical variations, are all based on the basic assumption that children should benefit from roughly the same percentage of parental income after divorce as they did in the intact household. States tend to follow one of three basic formulas:
First, some states, such as Wisconsin, simply require noncustodial parents to pay a flat percentage of their income to the custodial parents based on the number of children being supported.
Second, a majority of states use the "income-shares" model. In this model, total support is calculated based on a percentage of combined parental income. Then, each parent's portion is calculated based on his or her relative earnings.
Third, a handful of states use a model that first carves out necessary expenses for parental support, and then assigns a percentage of the remaining income for child support.
One of Congress' goals in requiring states to adopt guidelines was to decrease judicial discretion in awarding child support and, thereby, to increase consistency among awards. As a result, the amount of support called for by any set of guidelines is "presumptively" appropriate - which means that a judge can only deviate from that amount (up or down) in certain, limited circumstances.
Removing judicial discretion vis-à-vis child support, by the way, HAD to be done. Since just as happens NOW when mothers enter court to litigate custody, Judges THEN routinely discriminated against mothers regarding child support. MOST Judges, believe it or not, when they had discretion in the past chose to award mothers absolutely NOTHING in the way of child support.
Of course when children were worth nothing, everyone was very content with leaving them with their mothers and we never heard of custody wars.
Today, of course, it’s a different story and we are routinely bombarded with stories of the many casualties of these custody wars: children victims of parental abductions (350,000 annually, the FBI has a website now strictly devoted to this new crime) pregnant mothers being murdered BEFORE the birth of their infants by boyfriends or husbands in some cases (such as the case with Rae Carruth, Tjane Marshall, Scott Petersen) even young children themselves being murdered to avoid child support and many, many mothers losing custody of their children to never see them again ie., Jerica Rhodes, Jessica Lundsford and other mothers too numerous to list here.
Thus, it's obvious that the same thing Congress did with child support must also happen regarding custody. Removing judicial discretion and instituting mandatory custody guidelines at the federal level is probably on the horizon for the US, as well.
Since clearly the most educated and pampered elite in history ‘the legal profession’ cannot be trusted to make fair decisions where women and children are concerned.
Today we see many looking at ways to further standardize child support guidelines in an attempt to stop the ruthless custody wars that ensue when selfish people persist, with no regard for the well-being of their offspring, in continuing to use children as humans shields to protect financial assets.
Of course, it’s probably only a half measure until the federal custody mandatory guidelines, which I’ve mentioned above, are instituted.
Anyway, we see the continuing evolution of rulings where child support is based upon financial disparities in household income no matter which parent has custody, such as what happened last May in Pennsylvania with the Colonna vs. Colonna ruling, where a custodial father was ordered to pay child support to a non-custodial mother due to disparities in household income.
New York is currently investigating passing a law to achieve a similar outcome and I think it would be a GOOD thing if it happened. Actually I think the federal government should make this ruling part of their mandatory guidelines as a strategy to stop people fighting for custody in order to avoid paying child support…
This way you’re paying it whether or NOT you are custodial since you’re paying it based upon disparities in household income…
”There are important cases to review from the past year. Probably the most important is the Supreme Court decision Colonna v. Colonna, which describes cases in which the dependent spouse may get child support even though the dependent spouse is the partial custodian.
CUSTODIAL PARENT AS SUPPORT OBLIGOR
Colonna v. Colonna, 855 A.2d 648, (Pa. 2004). A lengthy decision issued from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on April 29, 2004. In an unusual case in which Mother had primary custody in the summer only, and was the income-dependent spouse, Mother sought support from Father, the custodial parent. The court found that since this was a case of significantly disparate income, equity and fairness required the income-superior parent should pay child support to the partial custodian. The case arose under Melzer (combined monthly net income over $15,000), but the decision said it should apply with guideline cases as well. The Supreme Court urged trial courts to use the deviation provisions in the Rules to create economic justice.”
Some of this information courtesy of http://www.highswartz.com/bios2a.asp?ID=28
Generally a law like this will favor more mothers then fathers (as women generally still make less income then men) however, there is ONE category of mothers that could be negatively impacted. That is mothers who have children with men who are either drug/alcohol dependent or in jail. For if these men decide they wish to be involved with their children, I could easily see a court deciding that a child’s custodial mother needs to pay these non-custodial fathers a few hundred dollars monthly in child support, as per the intent behind the Colonna vs Colonna ruling.
Thus, we see once again where women in their role as mothers MUST be particularly careful when they affiliate themselves with dangerous men and decide to have children with them.