Divorcing couples have more issues than just how is the property is divided and who pays for what. The legal system, over the years, has stacked the deck more and more against men and fathers. Child support alone causes a man to have to work longer hours, and sometimes, multiple jobs just to be able to provide for his children during his custodial time, not to mention, pay child support to provide for his children when with they’re not with him.
The notion of child support looks good on paper and when it’s all academic it works. Consider this, a woman files for a child support order, they give them an income/expense form and ask her to fill it out. No request for pay stubs, no form of verification is performed to ensure the integrity of the claims made, and the woman lies on the form. Not to mention a court need not be consulted when the support request is made through the Division of Social Services (the parent agency for Department of Child Support Enforcement). Actions are taken against people, in particularly fathers, in a FISA Court equivalent (ie Administrative Orders and Administrative Hearings) Under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The Missouri Department of Social Services, in particular, the Department of Child Support Enforcement, does not practice this principal. Equal protection under the law requires the same action on both sides. It seems to this author that the same speed that the Department of Child Support Enforcement moves to take action against a father is not the same speed that is taken to reverse that action once the father has completed his obligations.
*John thought his marital problems would end once the divorce was finalized. He understood that Child Support was going to be a part of his life and that he would have to pay it. The amount was a bit steep, but a second part-time job afforded him and his son, Sam, some comfort and a bit of financial security.
Hard times befell John. The loss of his job and the loss of his rented room were too much for him. John ended up like so many single fathers, having to move back in with his parents. Finally, John took the only job left for him. The job demanded long hours, and undefined shifts. His tax refunds were intercepted and garnished for back child support. Not to mention his credit score plummeted because of constant negative reports to the credit bureaus from the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE).
A certified letter appears one day in the mail. DCSE, through an “Administrative Order” from the Director of the Department of Social Services, is suspending his driver’s license effective in 5 days. At which time, John now must take time away from work to go to the local office of DCSE to straighten the matter out. The worker assigned to his case treats him contemptibly and without compassion, even after John explains that he will lose his job if his license is suspended. She offers a half-hearted band aid solution, which John must accept to keep his driver’s license from being suspended.
Through other bouts of unemployment, John’s child support debt increased. When John finally paid the total arrearages off, the same speed that DCSE used to seize John’s assets is not the same speed that is used to return assets to him.
*John’s story is a fictional account of a true story. Names were altered to ensure John and Sam’s privacy.