Child Support Reform – Fathers and Families
Going after a man’s wallet and his finances is one of the more blatant and destructive ways the family court system attacks men.
The past few years many fathers have fallen behind on child support payments due to the economy and high unemployment rate. The problem is when dads do fall behind it is extremely difficult to pay off the additional arrears because of the high interest rates applied so it just keeps on adding up.
In California, 75% of all child support arrearage is solely the interest charged on back child support, according to Robert Franklin, a father’s rights advocate who serves on the board of directors of Fathers & Families.
For example, every six months New Jersey conducts a sweep of non-custodial parents, almost always the father, who are behind on child support payments and give those men an ultimatum: pay up or go to jail.
The last time one of these roundups was performed they collected only 1.2 cents on the dollar, Franklin said. This means that these fathers, when faced with the choice of going to prison or paying the amount, just simply cannot pay.
“The men who are behind on child support are not unwilling to pay, they are unable to pay,” Franklin said.
Fathers & Families, a national organization committed to family court reform at the political level, has made reducing, if not eliminating, the outrageously high interest rates charged to child support arrears one of its legislative goals in 2011.
Last year, the organization was successful in reducing the child support interest rate by 50% in Massachusetts.
Alimony reform is also at the top of the group’s agenda. One of the main abuses of alimony is the issue of “double dipping.”
For example, if the father or husband owns a business and he gets divorced, his wife gets half of the assets of the business. But her alimony is calculated on 100% of the business’ profits so therefore she is double dipping.
“We also want to limit court-required payout of assets in marriages of less than 10 years, and we are going to set caps on how much gross alimony courts can order obligor’s to pay and the number of years for which it should be paid,” Franklin said.
In many states, alimony is left open-ended and the decision is left up to the judge; there are no specific guidelines. With men paying alimony in 99% of the cases, this leaves family court judges with a tremendous amount of power and leeway to force payments of their choice on the husband.
If you need help with a child support modification, contact the divorce attorneys for men at Cordell & Cordell.
Use the Child Support Calculator on DadsDivorce.com for an estimated amount of how much child support you should be paying.