In the last few months I have gotten a great deal of press because I decided to share something very personal about myself, in the hope that it would help someone else. I was not wrong about that, I do not regret it in the least. Many people have told me that they were helped by the stories in the paper and on television. So I consider it a great success. Contrary to what you might think, I am a very private person. However I feel it is necessary to let you in to my private life again, because I believe there is a system that needs to be fixed. The system I am talking about is Child Support.
I have been called a ‘Dead Beat Dad’ in the past. That statement was probably true at one time. I’ve said before I am a flawed person. Due to Mental Illness and homelessness there were times I wasn’t able to pay my child support. I also missed out on having a relationship with my boys. That is the biggest tragedy of all. I have been in contact over the years and talk to them from time to time, but the relationship is not what it should be. I’m not trying to make excuses I’m trying to show you that sometimes there is a reason. This system, however, lumps everyone into one category.
I want to make it clear that I believe if you make a baby you should be responsible for them; whether you have a relationship or not. Paying is not my complaint at all. My complaint is that according to the law the payee is always right and the payer is always wrong. These cases should be taken on an individual basis; not every situation is the same. There are people out there that are truly ‘Dead Beat Dads’ or Moms, and they need to be pursued by the law.
If you are court ordered to pay child support you are required to have a job. That part makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is the payee is not required to have a job. It’s OK for them to set home and collect state assistance and child support and never have a job. The formula they use to set the amount that has to be paid is designed to even out the income in both households. If the payee has a low income then the person who is paying the child support balances out the household with his/her payment. What usually happens is the person paying the child support is left with no less than 40% of their income. Using round numbers let’s say a person brings home $600 a week. After child support the person will take home $240 a week. Do you know anyone who can survive on that amount?
People have asked me, how did I end up homeless? In my case it was a combination of many things, but child support was a very big part of the reason. I don’t know if there has ever been a study done on the subject, but I assure you, a very large percentage of homeless people can attribute their homelessness to child support.
The thing that makes the least amount of sense is the punishment for not paying. If you cannot pay your support, for whatever reason, you can be put into jail. Not only can they put you in jail they can take your driver’s license away. If you have a professional license, (i.e. Doctor, Lawyer, Paramedic, etc) How do they expect you to make your payment if they impose any of those punishments. I have said it before and I say it again, I don’t have all the answers. What I do know is the system is not working and it needs a major overhaul.
Maybe some of you have the answer. I would love to hear what you think. You can respond below.