So, I want to ask where you stand on an important political issue: Family Law Reform.
As you may or may not be aware, our current system of Family Law has devolved into one in which a whole host of Family Court Industry players are profiteering from the minimization or elimination of parenting time and rights for non-custodial parents.
Many custodial parents, lawyers, parenting plan evaluators, supervised parenting services, States, friends of the Court social workers, many Courts, and others; are making money by using children as an excuse to exploit non-custodial parents, causing irreparable harm to both children and their parents in the process. I, and a rapidly growing base of many others, would like this to stop. More specifically, we are asking for five primary reforms to Family Law:
The presumption of 50/50 custody and parenting rights during and after divorce. We are NOT asking for a REQUIREMENT of 50/50, because we still want parents to be able to decide for themselves what works best for them. However, in the event that case goes to trial, instead of having the NCP being forced to rise to a high standard to show why they should have time with their children, I believe it’s far healthier (for both parents and children) for the parent contesting this time to be required to rise to a high standard to show why the NCP should NOT have equal time with their
And while this may dramatically hit the financial accounts of those who are using children for profit by creating or aggravating conditions of conflict, this reform will affect far healthier outcomes for families.
I would like reforms to child support calculations. More specifically, an elimination of financial incentives for minimizing or eliminating a non-custodial parent’s time with their little ones. As it sits now, there are basically two pieces to the child support calculation: (1) An actual physical needs worksheet, and (2) A tax-free income redistribution; with the Court establishing the higher of the two as the child support order. I recognize that custodial parents may need some time to adjust after divorce, and I have no problems with alimony/maintenance. However, I would like the alimony portion of child support to be eliminated. If a CP wants to better their lifestyle, they can put the work into bettering themselves just like NCP’S are often admonished to do. Children are NOT tax-free income producing assets, and NCP’s are NOT indentured servants.
Reforms to child support enforcement: If one wants to accomplish a goal, it helps establish good or helpful conditions to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, the Family Court has become accustomed to pathological and often draconian measures for enforcement in which the civil rights of NCP’s are systematically ignored or eliminated through administrative court procedures. If a person loses their job, or becomes ill or disabled, it makes no sense what so ever, to take away their driver’s license, vocational license, destroy their credit, throw them in jail, or force them into homelessness. How does this help to ensure the support gets caught-up? It doesn’t. It simply makes the problem worse and sets the non-custodial parent up for future, life-destroying failures. Truthfully, current regimes for enforcement that treat “deadbroke” parents as common criminals are completely inappropriate.
Social Security Act, Title IV, Part D, Section 458 “Incentive Payments To States”: I have no problem, in theory, with states being rewarded for child support enforcement. However, I have a big problem with States profiting from it, and a REALLY big problem with the lack of resources available to NCP’s for visitation enforcement. For little or no cost, a CP can have the state pursue civil or criminal remedies for delinquent child support.
This is a repost of the following Facebook Memo I posted on 8/28/12:
Memo To Followers:
Federal Title IVD Payments and Bonuses to States For the Collection and Administration of Child Support Payments.
Recently, I’ve been getting some queries about why I’ve been hammering so much on the issue of child support payments. And, I suspect, we’ve lost a follower or two because I’ve sort of ratcheted up the rhetoric on this topic a bit lately.
In fact, a couple of weeks a ago, we were having a discussion on this page in which I was asserting that States can receive anywhere from $1 to $2 in Federal subsidy payments for every dollar they collect and administer in child support payments. And it was during one of this discussion that one of our followers asked the simple question, “Do you have any documentation on this?”.
Well, at the time, the only information I had available was budget information from the Office of Child Support Enforcement from 2009. So I contacted Michael McKormick at the American Coalition for Fathers and Children and he confirmed that my information was also the most recent published data he had as well (He also noted that Obama administration has been highly resistant to publishing any current budget data on this matter….).
In any case, enter my new best friend, Rita Fuerst Adams from Fathers and Families (Fathersandfamilies.org).
Because Rita was able to track down for me the actual act that describes exactly how these payments and bonuses are calculated.
I’ve Attached The Link For You Below. But Here Is The Short Story Version: *The program is administered by the Office of Child Support Enforcement within the Administration of Children and Families; which is governed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
* The Act governing the program is known as the `Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998′.
* There are bonus and penalty measures that determine the funding.
(A) IN GENERAL- In paragraph (1), the term `incentive payment pool’ means–
(i) $422,000,000 for fiscal year 2000;
(ii) $429,000,000 for fiscal year 2001;
(iii) $450,000,000 for fiscal year 2002;
(iv) $461,000,000 for fiscal year 2003;
(v) $454,000,000 for fiscal year 2004;
(vi) $446,000,000 for fiscal year 2005;
(vii) $458,000,000 for fiscal year 2006;
(viii) $471,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;
(ix) $483,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and
(x) for any succeeding fiscal year, the amount of the incentive payment pool for the fiscal year that precedes such succeeding fiscal year, multiplied by the percentage (if any) by which the CPI for such preceding fiscal year exceeds the CPI for the second preceding fiscal year.
(B) CPI- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the CPI for a fiscal year is the average of the Consumer Price Index for the 12-month period ending on September 30 of the fiscal year. As used in the preceding sentence, the term `Consumer Price Index’ means the last Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers published by the Department of Labor.
*** So essentially, the pool value increases every year at growth rate equal to the consumer price index. Which for 2012, would put the incentive pool at a little over 530,000,000****
(3) STATE INCENTIVE PAYMENT SHARE- In paragraph (1), the term `State incentive payment share’ means, with respect to a fiscal year–
(A) the incentive base amount for the State for the fiscal year; divided by
(B) the sum of the incentive base amounts for all of the States for the fiscal year.
Now, here’s where it gets important, because this is where the base value figures are established:
(4) INCENTIVE BASE AMOUNT- In paragraph (3), the term incentive base amount’ means, with respect to a State and a fiscal year, the sum of the applicable percentages (determined in accordance with paragraph (6)) multiplied by the corresponding maximum incentive base amounts for the State for the fiscal year, with respect to each of the following measures of State performance for the fiscal year:
(5) MAXIMUM INCENTIVE BASE AMOUNT-
(A) IN GENERAL- For purposes of paragraph (4), the maximum incentive base amount for a State for a fiscal year is–
(i) with respect to the performance measures described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (4), the State collections base for the fiscal year; and
(ii) with respect to the performance measures described in subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (4), 75 percent of the State collections base for the fiscal year.
Skipping some stuff here…
(C) STATE COLLECTIONS BASE- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the State collections base for a fiscal year is equal to the sum of–
(i) 2 times the sum of–
(I) the total amount of support collected during the fiscal year under the State plan approved under this part in cases in which the support obligation involved is required to be assigned to the State pursuant to part A or E of this title or title XIX; and
(II) the total amount of support collected during the fiscal year under the State plan approved under this part in cases in which the support obligation involved was so assigned but, at the time of collection, is not required to be so assigned; and
(ii) the total amount of support collected during the fiscal year under the State plan approved under this part in all other cases.
(A) The paternity establishment performance level.
(B) The support order performance level.
(C) The current payment performance level.
(D) The arrearage payment performance level.
(E) The cost-effectiveness performance level.
**So, you can see two important things here.
First, the reimbursements, payments, and bonuses are NOT determined by a reimbursement of State expenses incurred. In fact, the minimization of State Collection Costs is a bonus item.
Secondly, and this is really important, the figures used are the child support funds that States have under administration.
*** See the link for the actual tables for calculating bonuses, etc****
And here is something I found interesting. Check this out:
(c) TREATMENT OF INTERSTATE COLLECTIONS- In computing incentive payments under this section, support which is collected by a State at the request of another State shall be treated as having been collected in full by both States, and any amounts expended by a State in carrying out a special project assisted under section 455(e) shall be excluded.
***i.e. If two States are working together to collect funds, they both get credit for the purposes of establishing bonuses – this is pure gravy.
Note a couple of things here.
First, the bonus values are doubled for the categories of paternity test performance and cost performance.
So why would the Feds care about State costs? Because this is the bonus and incentive program, and States already receive a 66% dollar for dollar reimbursement for administrative costs (and I’m not sure, I’ll have to check, but i think there is a way they can finagle the remaining 34% to get even dollar for dollar match) under a different section of the Social Security Act.
So, there you have it.
States can get up to 100% reimbursement for administrative costs plus up to two times the bonus pool share for two categories along with the rest of it.
Now add to this, the fact that Courts often charge fees for posting these certified payments, and may assess additional fees and fines for enforcement, and you’ve got a very lucrative incentive for States and Courts to maximize child support payments.
In Other Words, It Should Be No Surprise That: _
(1) Child Support payments are maximized, regardless of whether the NCP can afford them. States and Courts don’t care; the debt can’t go way or be retroactively reduced.
(2) Equal and Shared parenting is disincented – this will reduce revenue to the States and Courts.
(3) More and more States are requiring mandatory garnishments and payment administration. People who are already paying on time will improve their performance ratings for bonus calculations.
(4) States like TX make it difficult for non-paternal parents relieve themselves of child support burdens.
(5) Why States and Courts are not persuaded by reasonable and humane arguments for shared parenting reforms.
The system has been corrupted by money and the Feds are driving this corruption.
You might have noticed that the common theme of our most recent publicity messages center around “sharing the truth”.
And there’s a reason for this: we’ve been seeing a rather active effort on the part of our opposition to blatantly lie to the Public in an attempt to thwart Family Law reform.
In reality, this is not new. Because they’ve been doing this for the last forty years or so.
Never the less, you’re probably seeing a ridiculous talking point come up a lot lately. I’ve seen it all over, and it’s probably best described by a Facebook post is saw in the Love and Iron newsfeed from NC Fathers. Here is the opening post:
“In speaking w/ a NC Legislator yesterday, she exclaimed that in many cases the only reason a non-custodial parent would want shared parenting or joint custody is so that they could lower child support payments.”
Award-Winning and Prize-Winning Author of Access Denied, The Wretched, The Roots of Evil, The Ghost of Clothes, Omonolidee, First Words and Unzipped: The Mind of a Madman, The Deeper Roots of Evil, along with numerous short stories, poems and articles.