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The Sound of Ideas

Collecting & Enforcing Child Support

Posted Friday, May 14, 2010

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A local government agency is raking in the bucks in child support collections. Why is it having success where other agencies struggle? The Summit County Prosecutor's Office has collected about $20 million in criminal nonsupport funds since 2001. That's quite a lot considering Cuyahoga County, a much larger neighboring area, is touting figures in the $10 million range. Friday, Regina Brett and guests discuss enforcement of child support laws, what works and what problems still remain.

Tags

Government/Politics, Health, Children's Health, Other, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Parenting/Child Care

Guests

Jennifer Bheam, Director, Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency
John Galonski, Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Child Support, Summit County
Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder, Fathers & Families

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Roger Bardsley 8:43 AM 5/14/10

Please explain why I have to pay 20% of my take home pay to my ex who makes 3 times my income.  Her house has high speed internet and cable.  The kids have 3 different portable games each and they know the UPS driver by first name.  My house no cable or high speed internet, and my Atari for the 1980’s.  ( Thank God I kept it)

Why when she complained to child support that I was behind in my payments (which I was not) I recieved threating letters from CSEA that they were going to take my DL and drain my bank accounts etc; yet 4 summers in a row she has refused to allow my visitation with our children, found in Contempt of Court 3 times, recieved 3 days in jail or a $250 fine, and I ahd to get a lawyer to fit this behavior(which I can no longer afford).
Why a CSEA director in Butler county was allowed to place photo’s of Dead Beat Dads on pizza boxes with fund that we non custodial parent pay for, for a few dads who will never pay, so my kids can call me a dead beat even though I pay my child support.

Why when I was laid off froom Alkermes, I was unable to collect unemployment for my kids because they did not live with me more than 50% of the time, yet I still had to pay child support at my old rate becasue she would not sign a change order for 7 months.

IF Obama could tackle the heath care reform, why can’t he tackle the divorce laws to make them fair for all.

Why is child support calculated on USDA cost estimates which because she make 3 times my income force me to pay higher child support, yet doesn’t allow me enough to live on and provide a 3 bedroom place (1 boy and 1 girl) for us to live.  My child support order list the child support at $34,000 for the kids without day care.  I know alot of families that would love to have $34,00 per year for their kids.

Montgomery County 2002DR1943 PRO system.

One step closer to bankruptcy, yet can’t file becasue can not include child support in bankruptcy.

Paul Lee 9:31 AM 5/14/10

Do you realize you are totally ragging on dads when you talk about men who have multiple kids by multiple women. The women involved have the main reproduction decision. They usually know when they get involved with the guy what is in his past as far as work history other children etc. Why are you never critical of these women and their deicisions?

Brian in Brunswick 9:36 AM 5/14/10

Quick comment - why do I have to pay so much child support according to the state-provided formula, when I have the same expenses she does - housing, utilities, transportation, etc.  Plus, I am supposed to pay 1/2 of the child care expenses that is outside of the monthly support amount.

She does the kids more days during the month, but I have them very oftten and am able to be with them during school holidays/breaks, sick days, etc.

Paul Lee 9:40 AM 5/14/10

ODJFS is recommending significant increases in the support guidelines. Please ask your guests to say why they think they are or are not justified.

Paul Lee 9:49 AM 5/14/10

CSEA does not help in the way that Jennifer says. There are many examples where a dad goes to them with the sad news he has lost his job and can only find a menial low paying job and they reduce it a little but yet still “impute” income based on past work history and they are left with little to live on themselves.

Judy B. 10:03 AM 5/14/10

If you father the children no matter how much you make it is your responsibilty ti share your income. Otherwise we asa society would be enabling an irresponisble Tomcat

Dan Misener 10:26 AM 5/14/10

OMG - Dr Holsteien’s viewes on Gender Bias in the system are so true.

I won custudy of my two children.  As soon as the divorce was final Cuyahoga County persued me for child support.  They did not even read the divorce decree.  They assumed the mother had custudy and set about to have my wages garnished.

Needless to say, I never received one penny of support from my ex.  My children are grown now, but they still refer to that post divorce pereiod as the Bloney Years.

Don Hubin 1:30 PM 5/14/10

Current child support laws in Ohio, and many other states, create an impediment to real shared parenting.  Under our present law, the presumptive child support award results in 100% of the parents’ *combined* child support obligation being placed in just one parent’s household, despite the fact that, even in cases of sole custody, standard parenting time rules place the children in the non-custodial parent’s house between 20% and 35% of the time.  When courts grant deviations for extended time with the non-custodial parent, they routinely make only minor adjustments that do not adequately reflect the expenses of the non-custodial parent.

We need to consider first, the value that children receive from having both parents actively involved in their lives.  Then, we need to distribute the combined expenses on the children in proportion to the anticipated expenses by each parent.  Ohio is still far from having a child support system that is truly beneficial for children, despite the claims to be concerned for the children that are coming from those advocating more and more money be taken from one parent and put in the home of the other parent.

Incentives should be created for parents to cooperate and share the responsibilities of child rearing.  Unfortunately, as the system is currently structured, the incentives are for a winner-take-all fight over the children. 

In broad outline, the solution is easy enough to envision:  during the temporary orders (while the couple is separating), order equal shared parenting unless *both* parents oppose this or there is credible evidence that it would be harmful to the children; divide the resources of the parents equitably during this period; if equal shared parenting doesn’t work during this “trial period”, grant custody to the parent who tried hardest to make it work.  It will be surprising how quickly parents will find a way to make equal shared parenting work if its in *both* parent’s interest to make it work.

bryon 11:01 PM 5/15/10

Some parents end up disabled and can’t work, yet the csea still goes after these parents and if the we still maried the loss of income would still be there!The money is not the only thing a child needs ,they need there parents as well involved with them !Being a parent to your child is more important than the money sent out! And ther are families who are stil married and can’t afford everything the kids need do you lock them up? Hmm

L. 10:34 AM 5/17/10

I find it disturbing that the state of Ohio requires the non-custodial parent (which 99% of the time is the father) to provide health insurance for their child or children for whom they pay child support, yet the state does NOT bother to investigate which parent (custodial or non-custodial) has more affordable and/or better health insurance.

My husband pays child support for his son from a previous relationship who does not live with us. I have medical insurance through my employer for myself, my husband, and our two children. My husband however, is also required to obtain insurance through his employer, to cover his son, at a cost of over $300 a month. Since the insurance is only in my husband’s name, my husband will solely be responsible for any out of pocket health care expenses incurred by his son. His son’s mother won’t have to pay a penny.

Our county CSEA never even bothered to look at what kind of insurance his son’s mother has available through her employer, and how much it costs. She works for a major hospital system in the state, and I’m betting her insurance is cheaper and better than what my husband’s company offers. Yet, the state of Ohio only sees men who are non-custodial parents as deadbeats, who they can milk for every penny they’re worth.

Pierce Harlan 12:25 PM 5/17/10

Thank you, Judy B., for creating a straw man so you could knock him down. No one disputes that fathers should pay a part of their income to support their children, and your suggestion that this is the issue seems intended to suggest that the men seeking simple, basic fairness are promoting irresponsibility. 

Legion are the cases where women are living off child support payments of their former partners, because there is no accountability for their stewardship of Dad’s hard-earned money, while Dad is reduced to poverty level. Mother maintains or improves her lifestyle, Dad is living out of his car.

When families are intact and Dad loses his job, the family unit tightens its belt and kids do without hockey or ballet until Dad finds a new job. When Mother kicks Dad out of the house (70% of divorces are initiated by mother) and Dad loses his job, the kids do not need to tighten their belts. Dad either comes up with the money he was paying when he was gainfully employed, or he goes to jail.  Tell me, Judy, how is that in any sense fair?

John 1:15 PM 5/17/10

GREAT show - You need to spend ALLOT more time on the subject… I for one would love to listen for hours and hours ..  your guested didn’t have time to really answer the questions fully.

Tom 2:55 PM 5/17/10

This piece was very interesting but I would like to add:
- there was an emotional testimony from a child who grew up without child support, but how about children who saw their fathers slide into homelessness because of impossible child support payments, or were incarcerated, or committed suicide because they lost everything they had and loved
- why wasn’t it mentioned that even though moms rarely have to pay child support, when they do, they are more likely to not pay than men?
- a lot of focus was spent on the low-end of child support payers ($50 / mth) but notice how the CS officials didn’t like talking about normal or high-end cases: the CS guidelines are so incredibly skewed against fathers, that any normal or high-earning father can easily be ruined by guideline-mandated cs payments (look up the guidelines yourself if you don’t believe me). Could that be the reason why so many non-custodial parents disappear and slide into lawlessness?
- they said that the poor fathers who are on the most wanted list are only paying $50 / mth, but then somehow they end up owing insane amounts of $$. How did that happen?

Whygobacktomassachusetts 5:22 PM 5/17/10

Fathers are stolen from children and the government is guilty of enabling and encouraging the harm to children that results. 

Why do mothers receive more child support (on a percentage basis) if they have children with more than one father?

Absent just cause, why does the government even consider the request by one parent to have more parenting time than the other parent and has generous and arbitrary child support awards granted by the government created an incentive for these requests?

How did divorce by mutual consent become unilateral divorce granted to either party requesting the end of the marriage without any consideration for the best interest of the children to keep the two-parent family intact?

Why are the protections of due process not observed by family court judges?

Marian Adams Paugh 1:43 PM 5/18/10

It was a good discussion biased by individuals who had little experienced with the majority of fathers who get little access to their children. I liked Ned’s imput and wished he could have had more time to speak.

Dan Creed 4:54 PM 5/18/10

Heh.. in North Carolina they actually let my ex wife terminate her parental rights to avoid paying child support to her other ex-husband but I have to pay her $500/month even though we have COMPLETELY AND TOTAL 50/50 placement and custody… So she is allowed to legally kill off (terminate her rights) to the kids she doesn’t want (cause she doesn’t get any money) but keep being irresonsible with my kids and the child support they get…

Ruth 5:01 PM 5/18/10

Hello! So sorry I missed your show. Just heard your program on Collecting & Enforcing Child Support.  I have a comment for Ned of Fathers & Families.  He said “if a father does not make enough money he should not pay”.  This is WRONG! If a father cannot support his child.  Or if a man does not want children they should have a VESECTOMY.  Ned was not thinking about the childrens needs & should not be speaking to a public audiance.  It’s a shame a man like that is in an organization which deals with family issues.  Thanks

Dorothy 5:05 PM 5/18/10

The Child Support industry was invented in 1998 by federal law that pays prosecutors for not working with non-custodial parents but forcing them to pay or go to jail. The support orders do not have to be reasonable because the Child Support Industry will use Social Security Tax money to pay an legion to beat up on a non-custodial parent.

Roy 5:22 PM 5/18/10

I have always been an advocate for fair guidelines for child support reform and propose these solutions.

1) Eliminate the idea of allowing the child support payment to be determined on the lifestyle being maintained IF the parents were still together. In a large amount of the cases the MEN are responsible for the lifestyle. Which is biased.

Simple Solution-Make both parties at the time of the divorce decree show the financial ability to meet the monthly support requirement and if one parent cannot, then the custody goes to the one that is more financially sound.

2) Take the state out of the process. States are given a financial reward for each case settled that is why they are so zealous in their approach. In Washington state where my case is they are given 3 dollars from the Federal Government for every 1 in support they collect.

Solution-Eliminate this because they use this money to make campaign contributions to judges that support their position...conflict of interest, legal bribery and conspiracy sounds right here to me.

3) Give the income tax deduction to the non-custodial parent-This would really help parents that are behind in support.

Solution-since they are going to be losing their income tax return anyhow this would help them get their back support eliminated MUCH quicker and really be for the benefit of the child

Those are just a few...let’s hear yours!

Tim in Kansas 6:19 PM 5/18/10

Dr. Ned Holstein expresses a concealed extreme ill bias long overdue to be exposed concerning child support issues. Child support has turned into a political and financial juggernaut for state coughers, not the children. Never to show both sides of the coin per say.

Non-custodial mothers obligated child support are grossly unreported, unmentioned, nor pursued when in errors. Only non-custodial fathers are in the main stream media light, and mentioned to boost politicians. Child support enforcement essentially turned into a politically correct booster for politicians, not the children.

It is fact majority of child support errors are by non-custodial mothers, not fathers. Fact is fathers are pursued legally while giving extreme leniency towards mothers. Take any, yes any court case that fits this bill, and you will review this bias clearly.

Vast majority of fathers are in child support errors due to the lack of the family court legitimate balance between income and support, and especially now that the economy is in a great recession for several years.

Politicians as well as women forums display men as a irresponsible philandering womanizer to which only a hand full of men fit this bill. Vast majority are fathers that work hard to creating a family. To which the family law makes custody, kidnapping, and child abuse to be acceptable as long as it is the actions of the mother. Again, do NOT take my word for it, but please look at the many, and ANY court case to which are public record which fits this bill.

Randy Walton 8:48 PM 5/18/10

Regina:

I am appalled at your bias throughout this “discussion”. You not only brought Ned Holstein late to the show after your other guests had a chance to make their points, but you interupted him constantly when he tried to speak.  I think that you are totally unprofessional.

Tina M 11:21 PM 5/18/10

My husband was stuck with paying past due child support after he lost his job and the courts refused to modify the order.  As a result, he has been in arrears ever since, even though he paid what he could.  The system is not fair.  It needs to be more flexible for the ups and downs that are part of everybody’s economic lives.

Steve Carter 11:40 PM 5/18/10

I was saddened by this program.  Many good points were raised from different angles, but bringing Ned Holstein into the show so late & cutting him off so much kept him from presenting his ideas.  His deep understanding as doctor, researcher, activist, & deep listener to men women & children, goes way beyond anything the comfortable prosecutor is willing to think seriously about!  Please run a 2nd show & let him complete his points.  When women are compared to men by % of child support collected vs. what is ordered, women are the worse deadbeats, yet we don’t call them anything.  Bring Warren Farrell on your show sometime, too.
Thank you, Devoted Dad & victim of anti-male bias in MA (where a woman has to be Very alcoholic, drug-addicted or crazy in order to lose her custody, and where men are expected to pay for their kids, but get only 1/4 of the time to see them.

David Houpt 12:13 AM 5/19/10

One of the reasons Summit County collect more than others is they collect more than the court ordered.  Look at the monthly statement they issue.  If you are under paying they show an amount but if you are over paying the overpayment is not shown your statement says you are current in payments.  At a meeting with John Golonski at UAW local 122 there was a man in there with an overpayment of $3500 trying to get regular visitation, John never addressed the overpayment of $3500 but told him he could do nothing to enforce the visitation side of the same court order.  This office has made felons out of men who are victoms of a bad economy who will never get a job as they are felons.  This whole office needs to be thrown out and rebuilt again.  This time treating ALL people equal and enforcing the law on both sides, not just the females.
BTW I have never been in a divorce situation.  I just see a one sided man hating part of government here.

Akil Todd Harvey 7:26 AM 5/19/10

I have been writing to NPR for years to tell them that if they continue to ignore the war on men (and bpoys anbd fathers), that we should have their funding ended.

NPR is among the largest spreaders of misandry (NPR: end the hate on males).

“1,2,3 men are not the enemy”

“7,8,9,10, will men ever get rights equal to those of women?”

Akil Todd Harvey 7:36 AM 5/19/10

Family Courts enforce child support solely for men (women may be encouraged to pay child support, but they wont be losing their driver’s license or their professional license for failure to pay).

Women default on child support payments far more than men and they dont get thrown in jail for it and they dont get stigmatized for it either - no mention of deadbeat moms will ever be made on the evening news even though deadbeat moms are more prevalent.

But do not fret, the family courts make up for their anti-male attitude (that the media and the the university researchers generally ignore) by having an equally anti-male attitude with regard to visitation.

Family courts enforce payment of child support, not visitation decrees.  Men can be forced by courts to pay for children they are being denied access to by the mother.

No taxation without representation is what the revolution was about.

How can a father be forced to pay for a child he is being denied a chance to see?

Taxation without representation.  Men being forced to pay for children they are being denied a chance to see.

Not all mn are violent and not all women are innocent victims (sorry to burst the bubble of mythology that the academy has helped create).

Quentin Durrstein 9:28 AM 5/19/10

Just too much to even explain here but a quick summery and link to the PROOF and OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS which everyone says is all legal when I have filed official complaints.

So my ex makes false accusations, CPS investigates me repeatedly on them but tells me suspicious bruises with witnesses like her own family and friends is not enough and a “civil matter” so won’t investigate her. The court blames ME, other courts, her lawyers and even our CHILDREN for her actions of destroying property, refusing my rights to see our children, the numerous false accusations and her lies to other courts to get false protective orders.

It took me 7 years, over a dozen investigations against me, the courts own experts always siding with me, the death of a child she had after the divorce and our daughter reporting being raped by various boyfriends of her mother before I gained custody. So her abuses were ignored, the rapist she later married doesn’t spend a day in jail since the mother’s accusations against me discredit our daughter and she refuses to pay child support and other things like ordered.

Now our daughter is afraid to be near her mother, has testified to the judge that she is afraid and why and I was jailed with his stating there is NO acceptable reason for her to not go and I have another 60 coming no matter what.

The mother is not harassed to pay support like I was, does not get hammered with backdated support, did not get impuned income like they did to me and I am forced to pay her legal fees to defend her actions.

How about the state of Ohio actually follow the laws and obey the CONSTITUTION for equal treatment and have a REAL way to investigate these corrupt officials instead of other BAR members who will protect them? Or is gender bias more important than protecting a child from being raped and abused to them?

Well I have court with them today and they scheduled sentancing already so we know the outcome before walking in the door. Anyone wanting to see the documents can take a look at http://www.HurleyMustGo.com and read up on the Greene County Ohio judge and system!

Steven Washington 5:52 PM 5/19/10

my x had custody of my daughters for 6 years and I payed over 40,000 during that time. I currently have had (LEGAL)custody of my daughyters for the last 10 years and counting, yet the state of florida keeps suspending MY drivers license for support!! I’m tired of hearing about how much a state has collected it doesnt mean a thing for the caretakers/parents or children BECAUSED the money is not being distributed to the families. The State of Florida is currently holding over 40 million dollars of child support but, claims they cant find the CUSTODIAL parent to distribute the money...This raises the most important question: “WERE ARE THESE CHILDREN” after doing some research I have found that alot of our officials are involved with the exploitation of children including the trafficking of children also individuals are trying to make claim to these child support dollars, I have information just dont know who to send it to or who to trust.

JOSE MUNOZ 2:32 AM 6/5/10

I AM CONSTANTLY FIGHTING EXCESSIVE CHILD SUPPORT BUT I’M TAKING IT AS A PERSONAL WAR AGAINST THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.  I’M WRITTING A BILL AND DOING ACTIVISM TAKING MY DAUGHTER WITH ME TO THE CHILD SUPPORT COURT HOUSE GETTING THE ATTENTION OF EVSLAVED FATHERS IN MY SITUATION TO REAR UP, HANDING OUT DOCUMENTS ABOUT EXCESSIVE CHILD SUPPORT IS A VIOLATION OF THE 8TH. AMMENDMENT.  USING BETTERCOURTSNOW.COM TO GET NEW JUDGES IN TO LET ME SEND MY CASE TO THE SUPREME COURT AND GIVE IT TO CALIFORNIA AND MAKE IT PAY FOR THIS GROSS CAPITALISM.
NOW I’M GAINING MOMENTUM WHEN ONE OF THESE DISENCHANTED FATHERS, A WEB DESIGNER WANTS TO BUILD ME A WEB SIGHT TO CONTINUE THIS PERSONAL WAR THAT MAKES IT A WAR FOR MIDDLE CLASS DADS THE END IS COMMING FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA GIVE ME A RESPONSE TO FUEL THE DRIVE THAT BURNS INSIDE.

Rick Simpson 8:20 PM 6/14/10

Isn’t real journalism supposed to be balanced? Isn’t that supposed to be the goal? Why didn’t you let that Ned fellow speak? Hello?

Mike 12:52 AM 6/22/10

If the State and the Federal Government were so adamant about the childrens best interest why are there no Child Placement Enforcement entities. Because the State and Federal Governments only care about turning dads into wallets!!!

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