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Jailing poor/unemployed parents for failure to pay child support


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  #1  
September 12th, 2011, 07:11 AM
Jennhowru's Avatar Doin Good. And You?
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Unable to pay child support, poor parents jailed - US news - Crime & courts - msnbc.com

What are your thoughts on the practice of jailing parents who are unable to pay child support due to poverty and/or unemployment? Should they be awarded the right to be represented by a lawyer?
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  #2  
September 12th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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I think it's completely stupid. I don't know what is wrong with society these days. If there are no jobs and you aren't making money then you're not going to be able to pay certain things, people should get their heads out of their ***** and realize that. Being in jail is NOT going to help anything, won't get them off unemployment and won't be paying their CS anyways. Jail is just like CPS these days, it's being way over used.
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  #3  
September 12th, 2011, 08:07 AM
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I think this should be case-by-case.

Some people just choose to be unemployed and do nothing to try to gain employment.

Others actually QUIT good paying jobs simply to get out of paying child support. This happened to a neighbor-friend. Her ex quit his job as a way of getting back at "her" . He never realized he hurt the child by doing that. He did go to jail because what he did was deliberate.

I think that if you are really not gonna pay child support ANYWAY, then yes, go to jail and don't pay from there.

Now, the average Joe who is trying hard to find a job (and Lord knows it's not easy these days), got laid off through no fault of his/her own, or is working but doesn't make enough, that is different. Maybe instead of jailing these folks, rehabilitation would be in order. Community service in exchange for benefits...that kind of thing.
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  #4  
September 12th, 2011, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSLynn View Post
I think this should be case-by-case.

Some people just choose to be unemployed and do nothing to try to gain employment.

Others actually QUIT good paying jobs simply to get out of paying child support. This happened to a neighbor-friend. Her ex quit his job as a way of getting back at "her" . He never realized he hurt the child by doing that. He did go to jail because what he did was deliberate.

I think that if you are really not gonna pay child support ANYWAY, then yes, go to jail and don't pay from there.

Now, the average Joe who is trying hard to find a job (and Lord knows it's not easy these days), got laid off through no fault of his/her own, or is working but doesn't make enough, that is different. Maybe instead of jailing these folks, rehabilitation would be in order. Community service in exchange for benefits...that kind of thing.
I'm curious about the bolded. How did the judge know it was a deliberate attempt to get back at her? People may quit for a number of reasons. For instance, he might have had his eye on another job that didn't pan out, or he might have been planning to go back to school to ultimately get a better paying job. I'm not saying these were this particular guy's motives; but I imagine the intent of 'getting back' at someone would be hard to prove unless he actually admitted it to someone. Should these deadbeat parents be forced to stay in jobs that they are not happy in?
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  #5  
September 12th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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I am perfectly Ok with it. My ex husband dragged his feet for MONTHS about finding a new job when he lost his. They were living just fine off of his new wife's income, which, for very obvious and fair reasons, was not eligible to have CS deducted from.
They had to suspend his driver's license before he bothered getting another job. And I know that if he had gone to jail, his wife and inlaws would have coughed up the money to get him out and then made him pay them back. Sometimes that's just the motivation it takes to get parents to take care of their kids.
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  #6  
September 12th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
I'm curious about the bolded. How did the judge know it was a deliberate attempt to get back at her? People may quit for a number of reasons. For instance, he might have had his eye on another job that didn't pan out, or he might have been planning to go back to school to ultimately get a better paying job. I'm not saying these were this particular guy's motives; but I imagine the intent of 'getting back' at someone would be hard to prove unless he actually admitted it to someone. Should these deadbeat parents be forced to stay in jobs that they are not happy in?
He was dumb enough to talk too much and trapped himself. lol

YES. If that's the only job you can get, YOU TAKE IT. I'm sorry, no "I hate my job" excuse is going to work on me. My husband works a job he hates, hates, hates so that he can support our family. He's been looking for something else, and I've been looking for ANYTHING. I'd take a job at MCD's if they'd hire me, even though I would hate to work there. Sometimes, you gotta do things you DO NOT LIKE, especially if you decided to make children. You can always keep job searching while working, but you NEVER give up a job you already have for a "maybe". That's all just common sense.
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  #7  
September 12th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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Yeah, a friend of ours got a divorce and his ex wife left her $60,000+ a year job and now works for minimum wage simply because she wanted to. He now gives almost 50% of his yearly income to child support because he has to keep up his son's standard of living. I doubt its a frequent thing that happens, but she was just that kind of vengeful woman. Kinda sucks that he has to live with almost no money because shes a spiteful woman but he knows that taking care of his son is what matters. I do think it should be on a case by case basis but I doubt that would be effective from a manpower standpoint.
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  #8  
September 12th, 2011, 09:27 AM
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What are your thoughts on the practice of jailing parents who are unable to pay child support due to poverty and/or unemployment? Things like this should be a case by case basis. If the parent is truly unemployed, not because they choose to be, then they shouldn't be jailed. Instead they need to file a child support modification to lower their payments in order to avoid issues like this one.

Should they be awarded the right to be represented by a lawyer? Again if they're truly unemployed and are facing jail time, then yes they should be awarded the right to a lawyer.

It's sad that some really good parents end up paying for the mistakes of the real deadbeats. However, if we didn't at least try to jail these deadbeat parents, then there would most likely never be a good motive to keep a parent paying support.
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  #9  
September 12th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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case by case.

WI is a percentage state. DF is required to pay 17% of his income up to 166 something a week while he's working. If he lost his job tomorrow, and bumped down to $400 a week in income, she'd get about $55 in child support.

Legally the court in this state CAN require you to pay while on unemployment. It's done on a case per case basis. According to the lawyer, this only happens if the incomes are too similar during unemployment. She actually makes about $500 more a month then he does while he's off work, so she has no court mandated support during that time. But, since my DF's a good dad, she gets what she needs when she needs it. We're about to go spring her cat from animal control, at the price of several hundred bucks.. cause Reme is in love with his kitty and it ran away.
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  #10  
September 12th, 2011, 09:51 AM
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You need to pay support regardless of unemployment status or not. That's one big thing people forget. But the best way to handle it is to seek a downward child support modification. That way you may end up having to pay less and if you do go into arrears they will not be at the normal child support rate. And since you can represent yourself fairly easily, there is no need to pay attorney fees. I would only seek legal assistance if I was facing jail time.
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  #11  
September 12th, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K.A.T View Post
You need to pay support regardless of unemployment status or not. That's one big thing people forget. But the best way to handle it is to seek a downward child support modification. That way you may end up having to pay less and if you do go into arrears they will not be at the normal child support rate. And since you can represent yourself fairly easily, there is no need to pay attorney fees. I would only seek legal assistance if I was facing jail time.
mmhmm. in DF's case the judge said because she makes more than he does, and he would not be able to support himself (even with out me around) on what he'd make on unemployment he has an auto waver. He only has to notify them that he's on unemployment and show proof of filing and her payments stop until he goes back to work. He has a double exception as well since he doesn't have to show proof of searching for employment to the courts because of what he does.

DF might be smart as a whip, but legal stuff was not his forte. I know/knew more about his divorce than he ever will. It's to the point now, the ex calls to talk to me not him. lol
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  #12  
September 12th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Your state might be different but I'm sure that the waiver he got doesn't stop arrears from building up. The only difference would be that the arrears would be at a smaller amount instead of the his normal 17%.
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  #13  
September 12th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K.A.T View Post
Your state might be different but I'm sure that the waiver he got doesn't stop arrears from building up. The only difference would be that the arrears would be at a smaller amount instead of the his normal 17%.
I left a detail out. I had to run and get the papers to double check

The reason is the difference in wage and the expectation that we will have Reme 50% or more of the time while DF is not working to make up for the time that he misses with his father during the work season. Rather than require her to pay support while we have him, it's waived in full.

DF will give her money regardless. If she asks for it. That's how it's worked since the divorice, if she's short, she calls and asks and we make sure she either gets what she needs, or get the cash.
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Last edited by plan4fate; September 12th, 2011 at 12:02 PM.
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  #14  
September 12th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Ahhhh I see said the blind man. That makes sense.
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  #15  
September 12th, 2011, 01:08 PM
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Well I can see alot of men saying "I can't find a job" just so they don't cough up the money. I bet a LOT of them find that money when threatened with going to jail. I look at it as incentive.
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  #16  
September 12th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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The article does state that jailing or threat of jailing has been enough in quite a few instances for the parent to miraculously come up with the money. But what about those instances when the parent is truly indigent?

The story of the man that had faithfully paid CS for 10 years, then lost his job 2 years ago, was unable to find a job, lost his unemployment benefits when they lapsed, then gets slapped with jailtime for failure to pay.

His argument is that his rights were violated by having his freedom taken away without the right of due process (namely the right to have an attorney represent him). Do you agree or disagree with this argument?

There is a class action lawsuit in Georgia that is trying to force the state to provide lawyers to poor/indigent parents who are at risk of losing their freedom for failure to pay. Do you think they have a right to be represented by a state-appointed attorney since their very freedom is at stake?
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  #17  
September 12th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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IMO, I agree with his argument. I feel that once a person is faced with jail time, regardless of the offense, they have a right to representation and should be afforded one if they cannot pay for their own attorney.
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  #18  
September 12th, 2011, 02:24 PM
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^^ I agree with that as well about anyone facing jail time being allowed an attorney. But I wonder in the case of court ordered child support what good an attorney would do? He could explain to the judge WHY the support hasn't been paid in two years but the payor could/should have been able to explain his own situation to the judge. I'm not aware of what (if any) rights child support paying parents have when they fall on hard times and completely stop making payments. I mean, go get a job at a gas station while you look for something else just so that you're child doesn't have to go without.
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  #19  
September 12th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Yes, cause it is that easy to just go get a job where ever, when ever.
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  #20  
September 12th, 2011, 06:21 PM
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I see no reason why it can't be done on a case by case basis. The deadbeat parent would need to show proof that they are actively searching for a job but are unable to find one perhaps with a stipulation that they are unable to turn down any employment offered.
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