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WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CHILD SUPPORT SYSTEM?

1.    BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD is currently defined solely in terms of money.

The idea that money will solve the problems of raising a child is simple greed masquerading as social policy. Consider the following:

A Michigan study has found that "boat or refugee children" living at or below the poverty level outperform American children in the classroom. [EWING95]

A similar study in Pennsylvania found that "poor, intact families performed better academically than financially well-to-do children from single-parent households." [EWING95]

This would mean that rich people have raised their child(ren) well and poor people have no hope of successfully raising their child(ren). Yet we all know of great people who were born and raised in poverty (get a list of names).

A law should be passed seizing the assets from the Forbes 400 richest people in the U.S. and this money would be distributed to the poor single-parent households. It is a small sacrifice - less than 2 10,000th’s of a percent (400/275M = 0.000145%) of our population.

If money determines the BIC, laws should also be passed allowing government to seize the child(ren) from any family that makes less money than a household that wishes to adopt their child(ren).
 

2. Child support obligation can be based on imputed wages.

This means that a judge can determine child support payments based - not on what you are earning - but what s/he thinks you are capable of earning.

Even the IRS, which many consider out-of-control, bases taxes on real data. How many people would pay taxes if the IRS could tax you on what they thought you could have made? Should I be able to pay the grocery store what I think their produce is worth?

 
 

3.  A parent can be jailed for not being able to pay a judgment imposed by the court.

The 13th amendment to the Constitution specially prohibits jailing a person for not being able to pay off a debt.

If a parent gets jailed, now we have guaranteed that they can never pay off their debt. Furthermore, in the real world, the parent would lose their job, may not be able to gain employment again due to job availability and the fact that they now have a criminal record and - with today’s realities - will most likely be working at a lower wage rate.

This reinforces the single-parent myth, since now the other parent is in jail (or on the run). What kind of example is this for the child(ren). Remember that this is child support, not NCP punishment.

This is a prime example of government policies encouraging irresponsibility. In reality, it‘s frustration showing from unfair and arbitrary policies.

4.  The court can force you to borrow in order to pay a judgment.

So you didn’t have enough money to pay support based on what you could have earned and now you’re coerced to get a loan so you can continue your life and see your child(ren). Interest rates will most likely be high and now you’re paying high support obligations that aren’t based on child raising costs.

 

5.  Arrears are not modifiable.

Child support payments accrue, even if you become disabled, get a newer, lower-paying job or lose your job.

Also, if your ex moves and files a claim in another state, a new, dual amount will be collected. The original state will keep the money it’s been receiving and the new state will consider the NCP to be another "deadbeat."

When you consider obligations are based on imputed wages and artificially high child-raising costs, this is another policy that encourages irresponsibility.

6.  Support payments can be assessed retroactively.

You may petition the court to lower your support amount and actually have it raised by the judge, if s/he feels it was too low to begin with.

This is not only unfair, since you’ve complied with court orders, but is in direct conflict with "arrears are not modifiable." Why can a judge retroactively raise support awards, but not retroactively lower them?

7.  It is assumed that the custodial parent will support the child with no accountability.

While the NCP’s finances are closely scrutinized and monitored, the CP is free to spend this money on anything s/he wants to - and does not need to provide receipts for either the NCP’s portion of support or the CP’s portion of support.

8. Child Support Guidelines are based on unreasonably high estimates of the cost of raising a child.

Child support encourages greed and adversarial relationships due to this "take ‘em to the cleaners" approach, enforced by government policies.

The 1996 HHS poverty level is $2,112 for a child. That’s $176/mo for poverty level. [THRESHOLDS96] Foster parents receive an average of $358/mo per child.

The adult (head-of-household, under 65) 1996 poverty level is $8,163, which is $680.25/mo. This covers room and board - so how could a child’s obligation possibly be greater than this? As a matter of fact, an additional adult under 65 is $2,344/yr ($195.34/mo) for poverty level.

Support payments often exceed $500/month. That’s $6,000/yr - close to the poverty level of an adult.

Foster parents are given an average of $358/mo per child as reported in People Magazine (12/15/97).

Welfare payments to a San Diego mother amounted to $900/mo for herself and her 4 children ($180/person based on a total of 5 people, $225/child based on 4 children)

Support obligations need to be based on the actual, variable costs associated with raising a child. The IRS has a precedent in calculating these figures on a proportional basis.

9.  Custody has nothing to do with child support obligation.

Courts make the argument that custody has nothing to do with paying support. In other words, you can be paying support and never get custody of your child(ren).

When was the last time you paid a large sum of money for something that you wanted, but then didn’t get? How long would you send payments for a car you don’t have? It’s hard to imagine this, even with sterile, mechanical items that can be reproduced. A child has only one life, only one childhood - it’s too short as it is - and now you’re denying the child and the NCP from sharing this experience.

10.  Visitation violations are not enforced.

When the NCP gets to spend time with his/her child(ren), many times the CP interferes, yet courts almost never press charges on the CP. remove footnote 2

11.  Child Support Collections have now become a big business.

Children are no longer the focus in CS and Custody issues, because it has now become an industry unto itself. All groups speak of their concern for "the children," but everything boils down to money.

Trial lawyers love the prospect of long, ugly fights and the way the law both 1) makes it impossible to represent yourself or use mediators (see Family Court 2000) and 2) encourages the CP to continually go back to court and ask for more.

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, reports its computerized child support collections division as "the fastest growing line of business"

Politicians see this as a "motherhood and apple pie" issue - nobody could object to "helping" the children.

12.  Child support orders are constant, income is not.

Support orders to not take into account special situations such as disability, overtime pay or commission-based income. If your work involves overtime or commissions, maybe you had a higher-than-average income year, but the judge will base your ability to pay on this, instead of your base salary or an average of your past 5 years. If you become disabled on the jobs, you are forced to go to court to try to get your payments lowered. This does not automatically happen.

We’ve seen they don’t even have to be based on income (see imputed wages), but they really are even based on income. Consider the following: You lose your job and can’t work, but you are living off your savings. This means you have negative income. If support payments were truly based on income, the CP would now have to pay you money.

13.  Custody is disproportionately awarded to mothers.

Custody, meaning physical custody (or "primary caretaker") is awarded to mothers 87% of the time. Miller reports that "more than 90% of litigated divorces result in an award of sole custody to the mother." Cathy Young debunks the myth propagated by many feminists that fathers actually get custody more often than mothers.

14.  Laws do not reflect the current reality of dual income households.

The facts reflect that most women do not stay at home and raise children. In a recent article,55% of mothers return to work within 12 months of giving birth (based on 1995 data). This figure rises to 77% for college-educated women between 30-44.

15.  Custody awards complete ownership and control to one parent.

Cynthia Lewis refers to this as "the winner takes all" system. Lowell Jaksstates "Just because you dissolve a marriage, doesn't mean you should dissolve the family." If children start out with two parents, the law should not take away one of them. This is really at the heart of family destruction.

16.  Support payments have no maximum cap.

There is only so much you can spend on a child without spoiling him/her. In order to discourage greed and game playing, support orders must have a maximum amount that cannot be exceeded regardless of how much the NCP earns. Another alternative involves setting one amount to cover actual living costs for a child (with a cap) to be decided in family court and any amount over that would have to be pursued through additional civil litigation.

17.  Support payments are not tax deductible to the non-custodial parent.

Is this taxation without representation (or visitation)? Does this policy make sense?

This income is only taxed once, since the CP doesn’t have to pay tax on it.

You could argue that if it were tax deductible, this would encourage divorce. But then again, the CP may think of this as an added benefit after divorce and it could encourage the "primary caretaker" to go through with a divorce.

Q: If the NCP pays for 80%, then does he get 80% of the dependent and child care deduction on taxes?
 

18.  Support received is not considered taxable income to the custodial parent.

See 17.

19.  Spouse’s income can be considered in computing child support obligation.

The spouse’s or "non-marital partner’s" income can be used to increase support obligations, but it also appears that this only applies to the NCP. However, if the CP’s standard of living increases due to a new spouse, there is no corresponding decreased based on a lesser need.

How can a non-marital partner be obligated to pay for something that s/he may not even known about? If they have to pay support, would they also be legally responsible for their car payment, mortgage, etc?

What about the negative effect this would have if the non-marital partner also has children? This promotes the destruction of 2 households, as it would remove money from a stable, 2-parent household in order to satisfy a single-parent household. If the non-marital parent has more children than the NCP’s ex-spouse, it wouldn’t make sense to have a large number of children suffering.

Look at ANCPR legal notes of decision (with worksheet).

20.  The child support system turns parents into criminals.

Statistics prove that mothers overwhelmingly get sole custody of the children and fathers are forced to pay exorbitantly high child support obligations based on whatever the judge and lawyers feel they can squeeze out of him, while the father most likely gets visitation rights (minimal time with his child(ren)) and about 50% of the time the mother interferes with this, without ever getting prosecuted, fined or losing support payments or physical custody.

Now if the NCP cannot make these payments, they are automatically labeled and treated as criminals.

Cynthia Ewing illustrates this in exquisite detail

21.  The child support system encourages adversarial relationships.

By allowing support obligations to be determined on unrealistic data, requiring lawyers for even the simplest of changes and the ease by which the CP can haul the NCP into court and ask for an increase in support - these all contribute to game playing and adversarial relationships between the child’s parents.

If simply, strict rules were in place, then game playing would cease, since they is nothing more to gain. Focus could then be placed on the child.

22.  Divorce is no fault, but fault is implied for NCP’s.

The NCP is treated as a second-class citizen at best, but usually more like a criminal. Female NCP’s are considered the bottom-of-the-barrel.

23.  Single parent household is assumed to be in the best interest of the child.

Feminists and H CON RES 182 support the idea that it is better to have a single-parent household, which is more stable than allowing both parents to raise the child(ren). This is really an excuse to collect more money (punishing the NCP) and denying the NCP access to his/her children (further punishing the NCP).

Violent crime rates, teen suicide, teen pregnancies and low academic performance are all high in single-parent households.

Poor, intact families have higher academic achievement rates than do rich, single-parent families.

If single-parent households are more stable, should we outlaw marriage? And what does "stable" mean - no arguments, difference of opinion?
 

24.  No Nation-wide system exists for tracking payments (multiple claims, back due amts build up)

Although this has privacy issues related to it, there are benefits for maintaining a national child support payment database. First, it would reduce double and triple counting of support obligations when the NCP moves to different states. If each state "counts" the NCP they’re looking for, then a highly inflated support amount would result.

Secondly, consider the case of the CP moving out of state with no forwarding address. The NCP continues making payments, but they don’t get to the CP and are returned. In the mean time, the CP files a complaint in the new state, saying s/he is not receiving support anymore. Now the state turns the NCP into a criminal, starts assessing fines and backlogging payments.
 

25.  Each State implements CS/Custody differently (is this true?)

ANCPR’s worksheet refers to "statewide uniform guidelines" does this mean statewide (thru out CA) or thru out all 50 states?

26.  Custody needs to be redefined as meaning physical custody.

Most states define joint custody simply as "frequent and continuing contact."