A fugitive people within a nation is tyranny.

Posts tagged ‘homeless’

Fathers Challenge Jail Sentences for Child Support

by Greg Bluestein
Associated Press

captiveAfter Lance Hendrix returned from military service in 2009, he landed part-time construction work and odd jobs to help pay the child support he owed for his daughter. He managed to pay about $3,800, but when he couldn’t afford to the rest, a judge threw Hendrix in jail for four months.

The 24-year-old is one of five fathers behind a legal challenge targeting a law that allows judges to put parents in jail if they can’t make child support payments. The dads say it perpetuates a disastrous cycle, as the parents wind up losing their jobs, making it harder for them to pay up. The lawsuit aims to force Georgia to provide the parents attorneys at hearings so they can better defend themselves.

“They’re putting people in jail that have no means of even supporting themselves,” Hendrix said. “Who’s going to want to hire me from jail? ‘Hello, my name is Lance Hendrix and I’m currently an inmate in Cook County Jail. Would you mind hiring me?’ Yeah right.”

Imprisoning parents over child support payments has become routine in Georgia. At least 3,500 parents have been jailed in child support cases without being provided attorneys since January 2010, according to court records. In October 2011, 845 parents were jailed in Georgia for child support proceedings.

“We absolutely have a modern day debtor’s prison,” said Sarah Geraghty of the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Atlanta-based organization representing the fathers. “They are forgotten about. And in many instances, the parent is sent to jail and they’re called back into court only when someone remembers that they’re there.”

The Georgia attorney general’s office and the state’s Department of Human Services declined comment on the litigation. In court filings, state attorneys said the lawsuit was unnecessary because parents could avoid incarceration by appealing the contempt orders that send them to jail. State attorneys also said locking parents up is a last resort to hold parents accountable.

If the lawsuit prevails, it could bring big changes to Georgia’s legal system, forcing the state to set aside potentially millions of dollars to pay for lawyers for the parents. Geraghty said she also hopes it could bring a shift in tactics, prodding the state to garnish the wages of delinquent parents or put liens on their property rather than incarcerate them.

“The problem that we see in Georgia is the state often uses incarceration as a first resort rather than a last resort,” she said.

The five fathers cleared a major hurdle recently when a judge granted class-action status, allowing thousands of other indigent parents who were imprisoned to join the lawsuit. The December order, by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter, only applies to those who can’t afford to pay for an attorney, not those who can hire one but choose not to do so.

The sentences given to the parents — some have spent more than a year in jail — are a result in a quirk in Georgia law. Anyone charged with criminal contempt has the right to an attorney and can only be imprisoned for 20 days. But child support hearings are civil matters, and parents charged with contempt in those cases are often jailed for far longer, without counsel.

Georgia is one of four states that don’t require indigent plaintiffs facing jail in child support cases to be appointed attorneys. The state, meanwhile, often has experienced lawyers.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in June holding that indigent parents don’t have the right to counsel in a child support hearing where the state wasn’t involved . But this lawsuit says there are thousands of cases in Georgia untouched by the ruling because the state represents the other side.

The plaintiffs and the other parents who could join the class-action lawsuit are a diverse group that includes military veterans, immigrants, the homeless and even a pregnant woman.

One is 40-year-old Randy Miller, a veteran of the Iraq war who has paid about $75,000 in child support for his two daughters over the years. He lost his job at AT&T and then lost his home in 2010, and at one point had as little as 39 cents in his bank account.

He was jailed for three months when he was unable to pay his $800 obligation. He was released in February 2011, but still owes money and fears he could be jailed again.

Hendrix is now working odd jobs, helping renovate restaurants and build furniture. He’s taken to buying canned foods from discount stores rather than fast food. He relies on help from family to pay some bills.

But it’s still not enough to pay the $480 he owes his ex-wife each month for their 5-year-old daughter, so he risks being incarcerated again.

“It’s an impossible situation,” he said. “And I can’t find a job when I’m in jail.”

this article is as it appeared in the Washington Examiner

Lifetime TV Prepares to Run Down Parents in the Name of Bradley Law

About a year ago, Fox was entertaining running a program about “deadbeat dads”. Objections of the public swayed executives at Fox from airing the program. Now Jim Durham has found a taker to air his program with Lifetime TV.

What is the program about? “Good ‘ol boy” Jim Durham tracks down “deadbeat dads” and oppresses them like a childhood bully.  Reuters declares that “Deadbeat Dads” is ambush reality TV. Durham targets fathers that are behind on child support by making their lives miserable via home foreclosures, repossessions and the like. The show is about Jim Durham “squeezing” non-custodial parents that are behind on child support without apology. Allegedly, Durham has the authority to operate in this way. Hm-m. Surely, this will ultimately cause the social pendulum to swing the other direction at a time when the United States economy has placed millions of honest men out of work and at a disadvantage through Bradley Amendment oppression, perhaps forever financially ruined, even homeless.

“Deadbeat Dads” unfairly profiles divorced fathers as uncaring and selfish. Evidence and research clearly shows that most divorced dads pay child support and remain a part of their children’s lives, often under difficult and ingratiating circumstances. This show is demeaning and defamatory to fathers while building on many child support myths. To file a protest with Lifetime TV, click for details here.

Arguing About Unemployment and Child Support

unemployedUnemployment is rampant in America, yet little is done for the victims of the Bradley Amendment. Tens of millions of innocent Americans stand to be victimized by government inaction, retaliatory conduct and self-righteous anger.

Article: Arguing about Unemployment and Child Support

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Unemployment: Child Support Time Bomb

America is facing a crisis as a record number of unemployed non-custodial parents face the reality of the system enforced by the Bradley Amendment.

Unemployment: Child Support Time Bomb on Associated Content

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We have supplied basic tools and links on this website to help you contact lawmakers and more information regarding child support and the law, whatever that may be.

Losing Dad; Losing Children the "Legal Way"

Generally, when children of divorce are losing a parent, they are losing their dad. Studies still show that social acceptability of divorce does not stop the ravages of family breakdown and damage to children, let alone the damage to society as a whole.

The fact that divorce happens at all when children are young has proved that the life damage results in unemployment, unskilled citizens, large welfare rolls as adults and depression.

The federal Bradley Amendment helps to cement this issue in place. Mothers can easily cut dads out of the lives of their children, receive welfare, public services and child support simultaneously while living a life of wanton abandon if they choose. Fathers are often forced to work multiple jobs without relief to support a system that is broken and fails to address anything beyond the superficial needs of children. These superficial needs are considered as “rights” while many women relish in the feeling of power and control.

Recently, a man in Texas was awarded 50 years of jail time for the failure to pay child support. The article says nothing about the case or cause, simply a headline for vindictive characters to rally around.

Mothers often parade around “children’s rights”. Men say something different.

“Family court corruption is real. There are good fathers and they are bad ones. I find it funny that there is no talk about bad mothers. The cost of living isn’t because of bad fathers. This is not about the kids; this is about money, tax money. I love my son and I always been there for him until the day the courts came into our lives. My son would never go without… The courts pushed me out of my sons’ life and made me a pay check. I hate the Judges and the people who back them up. They know they are hurting the kids. You make me pay money and allow me to see my son every other weekend. After 12 years of all I have done. The late night feedings, diaper changing, trips to the park. I have invested my life into him. The government took it all away.”

“Because of the horror of what DHS has done to me and my family I must do what others in similar situations have done throuhout the ages. We must either flee the tyranny or fight for our God-given rights. Because I have no right to have any money, because I have no right to operate a motor vehicle I can not flee. Because I have no right to competent legal counsel, because I have no right to plead in court for my rights or the rights of my children I must fight the only way I have left for I am in the corner.”

Dads and Judicial Prejudice

According to a recent California Department of Child Support Services report, one of the leading factors creating “deadbeat dads” in California is that fathers who owe child support are rarely able to get downward modifications on their child support when they suffer drops in income.

According to an Urban Institute study, less than one in 20 non-custodial parents who suffers a substantial drop in income is able to get courts to reduce the support obligation. In the words of one California judge: “I don’t care if you live under a highway underpass in the meantime, just pay your support as ordered.”

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge just lowered actress Anne Heche’s child support obligation by 75% because Heche says she has fallen on financial hard times. In addition, she was recently relieved of paying child support for July.

The judge may well have acted correctly in this case, but the question must be asked, “If Heche can get a huge reduction so easily, why is it so hard for fathers in similar circumstances to get reductions?” Does the judge cutting some slack have something to do with Heche being a high profile person?

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