For many years now, I have gathered information regarding Family Laws in New York State, going from discovery of horrors to discovery of greater horrors. By chance, I got it all in may during a visit at Support Collection Unit in 151 West Broadway, New York. The bible of New York family laws is the Child Support Handbook For NonCustodial Parents: an exercise in marketing the infamous.
First challenge for the authors of this Handbook: selling the fact that segregation is no problem for non-custodial parents. In many countries and in a growing number of American states, each divorced parent is a custodial parent; the default position of the lawmaker is that after divorce, any parent is presumed by law to be as involved in raising her children – if the couple had children- as the other parent is. New State is a segregationist state: they are divorced parents with custody rights, the custodial parents, and divorced parents without custody rights, the noncustodial parents. As endlessly documented, many non-custodial parents ends up after a while not being a parent altogether. The Handbook’s first order of business is to deny that fact: at almost every pages, you have nauseating pictures of happy noncustodial parents -dads- with their kids: daddy showing son to handle a baseball bat, daddy giving a bottle to baby, daddy with son on his shoulders etc… Non-custodial dads are having problems to see their kids, really? For non-custodial dads in this very unlikely situation, mystifying Handbook pretends to touch on the topic in a super short section titled Seeing Your Children on page 16 (with another picture, taking two-third of the page, of daddy with girl on his shoulder, in case the reader has not understood that not seeing his children is EXTREMELY unlikely): too bad man, we are not going to do a dam about you seeing your children, but don’t ever forget to pay child support, ever. Contact a call center – Parent Help- or ask family court about the Custody/Mediation Program. Have a nice day!
Second challenge for the authors: selling the other side of segregation, that in New York State, the noncustodial parent is the only Payer, the custodial parent is the only Payee of child support, unlike many other states, where child support lies with both parents depending on their respective income. Don’t expect to find the name of the illustrious moron who came up with the percentage of dad’s ‘income devoted to child support in the Handbook. Instead, on page 9, at the section How Much Child Support You Can Expect to Pay, you find in a same frame a picture of an old black man – noncustodial grand dad ?- with baby girl and the percentages of the noncustodial dad’s income devoted to child support with one to five and more children. Let’s decrypt the message: grand dad approves of the law and expects you to approve of it. Perhaps grand dad approves of the law because the law was there when he was young. The Handbook is shamelessly sliding to revisionism: The New York State child support/family laws have not always been there, there are a product of the eighties.
I save other pearls of the Handbook (Living below the poverty level for instance) for later. An advice of this blogger: get the Handbook and ask your representative about her/his thoughts about it. And most of all, don’t get married or don’t divorce in New York State!