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Posts Tagged ‘biased family courts’

Photo hyundai

Photo Hyundai

That’s amazing how innovative  a severe economic crisis make firms and governments. By the end of 2008, Hyundai started the Hyundai insurance program, to show “the faith the company has in its customers.” You become unemployed, Hyundai insurance picks up the tab up to $7,500 in negative equity. The car payment insurance has been such a marketing coup that it had to be copied. General Motors is now offering its protection plan: if unemployed, don’t worry about your car payments for nine months. The  Obama administration lends money to GM, which commits to rescue the unfortunate unemployed GM customers. This subsidized “corporate” welfare ultimately aims at strengthening GM while protecting its customers, hence killing two birds with one stone. Compassion is swelling in places you expect it the least. Even the International Monetary Fund , which not so long ago was the champion of fiscal responsibility and had its representatives regularly stoned in many capitals of the world – is advocating coordinating fiscal policies and increased lending. Live and learn.

Problem: this wind of care is flying over most economically-hit  non-custodial fathers without affecting them. Why? acting like

Prévert à Paris en 1955.

Prévert à Paris en 1955.

Janjaweed militias, family courts are making sure that non-custodial fathers do not pull their head above water. One thing matters: child support payments, often unreasonable in good times and even more so in bad times. You are unemployed and cannot pay? too bad.  Seize the opportunities that the labor market has to offer, while we take all the time in the world to review your petition to decrease child support. If you are still unemployed and cannot make your payments, you end up in jail. While there, Hyundai or Pontiac will make the payments for your new car which is not of much use to you and will not help you find a job.

For non-custodial fathers, there are really two solutions: Family courts have to be reformed so that it renders a bias- free justice. Or pray for Hyundai or GM to add child support payments in their protection plan. I’ll buy a car of the first company that does it.

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Father fashion statement

Non custodial father fashion statement

In many states, child support payments are a fix percentage of the non-custodial parent income  with no bearing whatsoever with the cost of raising a child. If you are a well-off father, you make it, if you are not, too bad. Some states, such as Massachusetts, take into account the income of both parents, custodial and non-custodial but this does not necessarily improve the financial situation of the latter, quite the contrary: Massachusetts  has recently revamped his child support guidelines in a sense that is not favorable to non-custodial fathers, who saw their mandatory child support payments triple in some cases.

To make the picture bleaker for fathers, family courts have latitude to do whatever they please with the guidelines. They are machines to produce new “miserables.” Massachusetts family courts follow the mold: non-custodial fathers are dragged into financial despair. What is new in Massachusetts, is that non-custodial fathers do not even have the option – which befalls on them- of being miserable. You are a Massachusetts resident, get the misfortune of being laid off and cannot meet your child support payments, you end up in jail. In a April 13 article from the Boston Globe, Joseph Kahn mentions a fellow non custodial father, working in real estate, whose income  recently plummeted. His child support arrears amounted to $23,000. Family court being family court, the $23,000 included the ex-wife lawyer fees, that sensitive support magistrate had added to the bill; to make things worse, the court did not rush to examine his petition to decrease child support. During his next court date, our poor fellow was send to jail for a month. He was in good company: 25% of his inmates were probate cases,  incarcerated  non-custodial fathers like him.

What the next step in Massachusetts? A jail for fathers in one unprivileged part of the state?

Some folks said that Massachusetts is the “Sweden of the United States.”  They ‘ ve got to be kidding. For once, in Sweden, government is supportive, not oppressive. And in social democrat regimes, work tend to be considered as a right, not  an obligation punishable by jail if you do not have one.

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Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.