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Posts tagged ‘dollar’

Make Fatherhood a Man’s Choice!

The burden of pregnancy will never be fair. Child support can be — but men need to have a chance to opt out

by Anna March

pregnancy testMY MOTHER WAS unable to obtain an illegal abortion, though she tried, in 1967 when she learned she was pregnant with me.  Instead, she attempted paternity fraud—passing me off to her boyfriend as his child though I was actually fathered by another man.  Her boyfriend, who became my putative father, married her and then clued in when I was born, totally healthy, three months “prematurely.”  He went along with it, though. They divorced when I was six years old, but he paid child support until I was eighteen, $270 a month.  I’m a product of child support, and it was a necessary part of the financial picture for me and my Mom, who did not have a college education and often worked two jobs during my childhood.  My mother would race home from work, check the mail, and, when the check was there, we would go to the drive-in window, open until 7 pm, at the local branch of the Union Trust bank to deposit the check. Then she would get $20 cash back (this was the days before ATMs) and we would splurge on a pizza at the neighborhood Italian place next door.  On the way home we’d swing by the post office and she’d mail the envelopes with checks she’d been holding in her purse for days to C & P Telephone and to PEPCO for the electric and to Washington Gas. The next day came the grocery store. The connection was very clear: the bills didn’t get paid without the child support. The food didn’t get put on the table without the check from “dad.”

Despite all of this and in complete keeping with my deep-seated feminism, I believe that making fatherhood optional—as motherhood is—and revamping the child support system to stop requiring financial support from noncustodial parents (usually men) who want to opt out early is good for women, men, and the kids in question. In addition, we should further our support of women who choose to opt out of motherhood via abortion or adoption as well.  It’s time to make parenthood a true choice, on every level.

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Over the past fifteen years, some feminists have argued that ending the current child support system is an important social issue. In the October 19, 2000 issue of Salon,Cathy Young argued that women’s freedom to choose parenthood is a reproductive right men do not have but should. Her article, “A Man’s Right to Choose,” identifies abortion rights and adoption as options that allow women greater sexual freedom than men when a sexual encounter results in conception.  While there are alternatives to parental responsibility for women, for men, “in the eyes of the law, it seems that virtually no circumstances, however bizarre or outrageous, can mitigate the biological father’s liability for child support.” Kerrie Thornhill’s article “A Feminist Argument Against Child Support” in the July 18, 2011 issue of Partisans picks up this point, arguing that where birth control and safe abortion are legally available, choosing a sexual encounter should be a different choice than choosing to be a parent. She offers a three-step replacement for the current child support system. First, Thornhill writes that “when informed of a partner’s pregnancy, a man should get a single, time-sensitive opportunity to choose fatherhood.” Second, by accepting, a man would assume all the responsibilities of fatherhood, but by declining he would legally be no different than a sperm donor. Finally, she suggests that for low-income families, state-funded child support should exist. In her article “Is Forced Fatherhood Fair?” for the June 12, 2013 edition of the New York Times, Laurie Shrage echoes Kerrie Thornhill’s sentiment when she opines, “In consenting to sex, neither a man nor a woman gives consent to become a parent.” She argues that if one believes that women shouldn’t be penalized for sexual activity by limiting options such as birth control, abortion, adoption, and safe haven laws (laws that provide a safe space for parents to give up babies), then men’s options shouldn’t be limited either. These writers all point out that motherhood should be a voluntary condition. Shrage and Thornhill agree that the construct that fatherhood after birth is mandatory needs to change.

Feminist response in opposition to the idea of giving men an opt-out of child support has been swift and passionate, including from many writers and publications I deeply respect. Pieces like Mary Elizabeth Williams’ “There Is No ‘Forced Fatherhood’ Crisis,” June 13, 2013, in Salon; Jill Filipovic’s June 17, 2013 blog post at Feministe titled “Is It Unfair to Force Men to Support Their Children?” ; and Meher Ahmad’s“’Forced Fatherhood’?  Yeah, Okay, Whatever” in Jezebel from June 13, 2013  all followed quickly on the heels of Laurie Shrage’s New York Times appearance. I have a deep admiration for all three of these writers and publications, yet take strong issues with each piece. Mary Elizabeth Williams tells a personal and compelling anecdote about how her father abandoned her family before she was born. She points out that this occurred before Roe v. Wade. Her story is a poignant example of why abortion and adoption need to be legal and available options, but it is a straw man as an argument against Laurie Shrage’s position. Shrage, along with Thornhill and Young, explicitly states that legal and available abortion is a necessary component of a woman’s reproductive autonomy and only suggests changing child support laws as a means to bring to men a similar reproductive autonomy to what women enjoy.  Filipovic wonders at what point a man should no longer be able to sever his parental rights. She doesn’t have to wonder, however, since Shrage both indicates that she is talking about obtaining informed consent at the time of assigning paternity but also states that child support makes sense in the case of divorce because a man already accepted the responsibility of fatherhood.  Ahmad goes so far as to acknowledge that the system is unfair to men, but argues that women face so much more unfairness that we shouldn’t care. Her claim that forced motherhood is more difficult than forced fatherhood is certainly true, given the burdens of pregnancy and childbirth. However, that inequity is not a reason to enact policy that forces fatherhood.

No one needs to make me understand how important child support is. I understand firsthand from my own childhood that child support is often a critical part of a child’s economic well-being or lack of same. The thing that keeps kids out of poverty keeps the food on the table. And beyond my own experience, the statistics on the importance of child support are unimpeachable—the money matters. However, I agree with the bulk of the points made in the pieces cited above that suggest we need to allow men an option out of fatherhood.  (To be clear, like these authors, I am not talking about cases in which people have decided to have a child together and then one person wants to opt out. I’m talking about a short window during pregnancy—so that women have enough time to make their own decision about which reproductive choice they are going to make in light of the man’s decision, in case that is a factor for them.) As Thornhill argues, men should have a window of time to decide whether or not they are going to sign up for fatherhood, and after that they will either be treated like a sperm donor or be held financially liable.  It’s close to parity with the choice women have—and fairness is a basic feminist value. Further, this system allows for women’s total reproductive autonomy and by doing so, we inherently advance women’s sexual and economic autonomy as well as strengthen feminism itself.   Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we improve the economic safety and well-being of any resultant children by ensuring adequate state support when necessary.

This system would forward the arguments for women’s reproductive autonomy by making women entirely responsible for the outcome of their choices. Of course, for this to work, we must encourage and enable women to make thoughtful choices about motherhood and reinforce abortion and adoption as available, valid choices. Currently, we tend to treat abortion with a literal whisper and adoption as an outlier. We shouldn’t automatically make the jump that a woman who is unable or unwilling to have an abortion for whatever reason will then have a baby who needs to be supported by her and a father—of course adoption remains a valid choice, even if we tend to dismiss it or ignore it in our rhetoric. We should reinforce our support for and demand for abortion rights—safe, affordable, accessible abortion on demand for all.

However, in the meantime, we should not use problems of access to and affordability of abortion as a reason that men must pay child support (i.e., that women can’t access abortion so they have to have and raise children and men therefore shouldn’t get off the “hook “either). Those women can utilize adoption.  It has always confused me that those who are in favor of holding men financially responsible for a child that results from a pregnancy do not attempt to hold men legally responsible for sharing the cost of abortion with a woman who decides to terminate her pregnancy.  I think men have a right to opt out of both, but if one argues that men are responsible for the outcome of a pregnancy they created, and abortion is the outcome, why don’t we pursue men for abortion costs?  Especially when, according to the National Network of Abortion Funds, more than 200,000 women a year in the U.S seek assistance with paying for their abortions.  The Network also points out that 4,000 women a year in the U.S. are denied abortions because they pass the legal gestational limit while trying to raise the funds. Why do we put men on the “hook” for children but not on the “hook” for abortions?

Additionally, lack of access to abortion doesn’t mean we should be unfair to men.  We need to stand by women’s reproductive freedom, no matter what choice a woman makes. And a woman who wants a child needs to be prepared to support that child even if the biological father is not willing.  I don’t believe that we will ever have true reproductive autonomy until men are offered the option, as women are, to opt out. We will never have full reproductive autonomy if we continue to put an asterisk next to “my body, my choice” and add the footnote “but if I decide to have a baby, pal, you have to pay.”

In the above mentioned Salon piece by Williams, she says, “I would love to live in a world in which no one is ever dragged kicking and screaming into parenthood. But that’s never going to happen.” Why not?  Women can opt out now—men should be able to as well.  Then we would live in a world where no one is dragged into parenthood.  Let us come to focus on that goal and not, as political philosopher Elizabeth Brake says on this issue, “fixate punitively” on getting men to pay.

And, as part of expanding our support of adoption as an option, we should expand our support of women utilizing safe haven laws.  Sometimes people say “outside of infant safe haven laws,” like Feministe did in the piece cited above, but let’s stop that. Let’s consider them a reasonable method of relinquishing parental rights, not merely a measure for the desperate.  As it stands, in most states, if a woman gives a child up for adoption via other methods, she and the father are still responsible for financial support until the child is adopted. (Safe haven laws vary state by state, but can typically be invoked for three to ninety days, with the average being about forty-five days. North Dakota allows up to one year.)

Perhaps consideration of the fact that it is a choice a woman makes to have a child rather than opting for abortion or adoption, not something beyond her control, will help us move our support of adoption past the wink-wink-nudge-nudge stage.  If a woman finds herself in need of economic assistance to raise her child, let us return that obligation fully to the state where it belongs, and was, until the conservative state decided to shift the burden to women’s sexual partners to reduce the welfare burden on government. Children’s economic welfare should not be tied to maternity or paternity.  The state needs to stop shirking its responsibility for its most vulnerable citizens—including kids.  Further, the one group of “fathers” the state is willing to exempt from child support are sperm donors, sending the message that it’s okay to have a kid and not support it if there was no sex, but if you get some pussy, you are going to pay. Let’s not support that model.

Bias Against Fathers in U.S. Custody & Child Support

One Way To Handle A Court

When you go into court what do you find? Here are some general things to consider.

deceptionThe judge sits above everyone else. The judge, prosecutors and accused reside in a fenced area. Today, this is NOT a court room, this is the judge’s or magistrate’s chambers. Judges chambers are wherever they set them up to be, not just the office in the back. Court rooms would be for common law which almost never exists today. This is part of the deception. A “magistrate” is not a judge, who sees you in their chambers, where they can do what ever they want, without the constitution, your natural rights, etc. Why is this corporate representative siting in a raised position? Simply put, from childhood you are taught to look up to “authority”. It’s a pretty intimidating environment designed to engender your respect and obedience. They use words in double meanings just as their environment is also part of an act, a stage. Their words are deceptions as are their practices. In reality, the trial or hearing should be held in a sunken area like a surgeons theater where people look down on the judge and oversee the process.

Always insist first and foremost to be “on the record in a judicial hearing”. This removes the magistrate from doing anything they want with you. If you feel forced into accepting the judges chambers, then you can inform them you are in judges chambers, all parties are equals, they have no political jurisdiction, you are a sovereign spirit present by special appearance and there is no contract. More importantly, when you enter the court room and they call your name, loudly proclaim that everyone present is fired and you are a sovereign spirit there by special appearance. Repeat that at any time. If the magistrate threatens (tries to extort your submission), remind them they are fired and you are in judges chambers instead of a professed court room! A judge can not practice law from the bench. They can’t assign you council or otherwise. Remind them they are fired and you have not and will not give them authority to make and legal/lawful determinations for you. You do not consent. Once presented with their offer of contract, you can state your willingness to accept their offer and negotiate a settlement with them. Asserting your authority ends the controversy and the professed judge is now only working out the settlement. The prosecutor will deal with terms and you can agree on terms. They must provide proof of the contract that obligates you to any of the statutes, including any ‘crimes’ that are listed. There is no contract, nor is there a bond for the transaction.

The main purpose of a professed judge or magistrate is to moderate the conflict between you and the prosecution of the government. They will present you with their shopping cart of ‘charges’ or items on sale. You will notice the dollar sign, dollar amounts attached. You are in a martial law tribunal. This is martial law and you are presumed guilty. This is the summary judgement which holds the charges and the plea in one. It is pure, unadulterated fraud. They have no law, no authority, no contract, only deceptions designed to cultivate your submissive acceptance that what is going on is authority over you. This is a common corporate scam of all modern government designed to make them money.

If you are in a trial situation and given an unfavorable verdict, you are being given an offer of a contract. Promptly, loudly, clearly and politely refuse to accept it. Keep refusing to accept until you are asked what you will accept, then state “dismissal of all charges with extreme prejudice”. You are in a martial law court where the verdict and sentence are an offer. Don’t accept it and don’t settle for less.

Do not ever hire an attorney and if you are assigned one, fire that professed attorney. If you are in court, fire them immediately. The attorney works for the court and are officers of the court. They are the tools of your bondage to a fraudulent system.

Government Exploitation: Dads Are Dead Broke

by Aaron Mueller

violation of due process and civil rightsTom Watson doesn’t like the term “deadbeat” to describe parents who are behind on child support. He prefers “dead-broke.”

Watson, director of the Berrien County Friend of the Court, said Berrien County has been struggling with collections of child support cases with arrearages. In fiscal year 2011, the county could only collect at least one payment on 56 percent of those cases, Watson told county commissioners Thursday.

Economic toll

Watson blames much of the problem on unemployment and the lagging economy, although he admits there are some who intentionally dodge making payments. Improving that statistic would mean more money for Friend of the Court (FOC). County FOCs receive funding from the state via the federal government based on performance in five areas.

One of those factors is arrearage collection. In order to qualify for 100 percent of available funding, counties must collect payments on 80 percent of cases with arrearages. Berrien County is lagging behind.

“This is an area we really need to target and do a better job,” Watson said. The FOC has tried a variety of programs to encourage payment, including booting vehicles and seizing property of offenders. So far there have been six vehicles booted — a number Watson wants to see increase — and 15 seized items auctioned.

“We are thinking about what button can we push for individuals who have not obeyed a court order? We need to remind them they have a child,” he said. On the positive side, the Berrien County FOC has a high “efficiency ratio,” which measures the number of dollars collected in child support for each dollar of program expense. Berrien’s efficiency ratio is $8.85, in comparison to the state average of $6.18.

“We collect a lot of money with less staff,” Watson said of his 37-employee team.

Increasing case load

Statewide the number of child support cases is on the rise. The number of cases has increased from 934,000 in 2008 to 1.2 million in 2011, a 9.2 percent increase. Watson again says he believes the economy is partially to blame with financial problems leading to marital stress and divorce. In 2011 the office also rated higher than the state average in collecting child support by court order and establishing paternity in cases.

 

 

Government & Child Support: A World Full of Deadbeats

by Samuel Gaddie

Mike O'Connell serves KentuckyHurray for the world! The new 2011 JCAO Child Support Obligor list is online for all of the public to view. In Mike O’Connell’s comments on WLKY NEWS that was aired advertising the DEADBEAT DADS LIST, he actually stated that he did not care who it embarrassed. So much for serving the public. Now there is a question that I would like to address to the FINANCE and Administration Cabinet, COT, CHFS, DCBS, FAMILY of Income Support, OIG, OGC, OAG, Office of the Ombudsman, Office of Records Management, DSE, and the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office Child Support Enforcement and I don’t care who it embarrasses.

Am I the only one on this list that has been denied access to my PHI and accounting disclosures in KASES regarding the KRS 61 Kentucky Open Records Act with contract compliance in regards to the Kentucky Child Support Handbook pursuant to HIPAA Guidelines? This is unlikely. You would think that the support obligation would be posted to reflect true numbers that should match dollar for dollar according to KARS (Kentucky child support system). I have over one hundred ORR in regards to my CS-71.1 Kentucky Obligation Worksheet and I am informed that this document does not exist. This is in violation of KRS 205.712 (i)(j).

I have been found GUILTY of FLAGRANT NON-SUPPORT three times , the third time while my four children were at home waiting for their father to go on vacation for two weeks. I was incarcerated and my 4 CHILDREN were taken away from me. I Spent 4 Months in a work release program that took 25% of my wages, also $20.00 for arrears per week extra even though there is no support obligation even established according to the Kentucky Child Support Handbook? I have lost many good paying jobs because of a CS-73 INCOME WITHHOLDING ORDER threatening my employer. I’ve heard over one thousand times I need to get a lawyer. According to the Kentucky Child Support Handbook if I am denied this document, this constitutes (DISCRIMINATION) denial of due process and a right to a fair hearing.(Kentucky Child Support Handbook sec.6.000 Confidentiality and Safeguarding Records and 200 KAR 1:020 STATUTORY AUTHORITY KRS 61.876(3) NECESSITY, FUNCTION, and CONFORMITY.)

I requested an Administrative Hearing from the County Ombudsman Joe D. Leavell to be able to question the arrears by mistake or fact according to Administrative Regulations, but it never happened, 6 months later I submitted a CS-180 to a Sheila Blevins the Regional Manager for CHFS and was allowed a Hearing that was according to anything but KRS, KAR, and Court Orders. Lola Ewing was the Hearing Officer and evidence shows that she is an abomination to her profession. Both Sheila Blevins and Lola Ewing done nothing but deny Kentucky Open Records and a right to a fair hearing. Both of them repeatedly tell me that I am wrong,  stating that my PHI was confidential and she can deny me access. I’m very tired but the Commission needs to know that I am prepared for the long haul pertaining to this issue.

kangaroo courtIs all the information online according to LAW just make believe? Am I the only one who can decipher proper interpretation of the Law? Compliance Officers are ignorant when it comes to interpretation of the law. Chip Ward of the Ombudsman’s Office (CHFS) tells me he reads every complaint that is entered into KASES (the computerized child support system) and it is recorded with my PHI, but it is all about interpretation of the Law. He ignored my pleas for help. There is a Child Support Specialist named Janice Taylor. Both Ward and Taylor  are ignorant and have no compassion providing services for CHFS and the Commonwealth. They are an abomination to the people they serve.

My case file can back up every word I am writing (Federal Case Registry IV-D #0001295436, OCSE Region VI, OCR Region VI #11-129842 (Miss Ivey Belton) KCHR complaint number that before it was closed #7063/#00818 by Miss Sherita Davis) are they are make believe to? Plain and simple, they like their comfort zone and are afraid to do their jobs. This is selfishness, even exploitation at the expense of others.

NCP/Right to Discover is a classic case of the “King Has No Clothes,” with big tears in my eyes I give a tribute to the author of the book. Everyone is entitled to a full and complete accounting statement since it is a free and public document. This isn’t happening. I have over four hundred E-Mails regarding this issue, the names reach from the Dept. of Revenue, Sarah E. Pence to JCAO, Joe D. Leavell the County Ombudsman, US Postal Mail Fraud, conspiracy to commit Fraud Malfeasance of contracting Agencies and Government employees, Kentucky Child Support Handbook sec. 5.000 ALLEGED FRAUD.

I have a signed Affidavit from the mother of my children, stating she had to borrow money from her mom and dad to feed my children and put a roof over their heads in 1994, went to work for Ford Motor Co. in 1993 she being recording testified to the Judge Honorable Patty Walker. Her Lawyer was her brother and he is now a Lawyer for the State. Why were they lying to the Court? This is considered Medicaid Fraud. I wonder where my CS-71.1 Obligation Worksheet went? Nobody is talking. They don’t want to rock the boat.

Kentucky bully list by Mike O'ConnellThis issue has been going on three years now. Why in GODS name do I need a lawyer that will do nothing but take what little money I already have? Mr. O’Connell, I am not a deadbeat dad and you are not allowed to slander my good name, nor are you fit to. This O’Connell is a bully and a common criminal.  You owe everyone on this manufactured list a public apology and so does WLKY News. The fact is that when any user opens the KASES INTRODUCTION Screen it has a warning to the caseworkers from the IRS stating that this computer is a PHI computer used to monitor PHI and is owned by the Federal Government. If the computer system is used for anything else it constitutes a violation of the Title 18 U.S.C. sec. 1030, which is protected by the Federal Government. Nobody is paying attention because they have dollar signs in their eyes!

The right to your public health statement is clearly made in  the Kentucky Child Support Handbook Introduction section under Public Health. Kentucky citizens and likely many others are being denied access to their personal PHI. You should have never put my NAME on that list. I have nothing to hide. Can somebody prove me wrong? No, they continue to gloss over matters and pretend that they are within the LAW. Tell Miss Angela Anton I send my regards. I will not be sending anymore written correspondences to the office I have already sent to many regarding this issue. The fraud is outright, the deception continues… and you don’t know it unless you are reading this article.

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Government & Child Support: A World Full of Deadbeats by Samuel Gaddie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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