Should Fathers Have their US Passports revoked because of child support arrears?
I ran across the following article regarding fathers with child support arrearage getting their passports revoked. The article was written by Jeffery Leving and Glen Sack. I enjoyed reading it and I thought I’d share it with you. There is always a voice for the mothers, but very little for the so-called “Deadbeat dads.” So this is their time to speak.
Are most of these dads really deadbeats or are they just victims of a system that many fathers call an unfair, illegal scam that destroys families? You be the judge. After reading the first part of the article on this page, at the bottom you will find a link to the original article where you will find lots of responses to the child support arrearage article. It is a really interesting topic that usually results in lots of heated arguments.
Passport Rules Unfair to Child Support Arrearage Debtors
By Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sack
The San Antonio Express-News’ recent editorial “Federal law catching up with deadbeat parents” presents a one-sided view of child support debtors. The editorial commends new passport policies which deny passports to parents who have fallen $2,500 behind on child support. The Express-News apparently believes that most child support debtors are willfully refusing to meet their support obligations, and asserts that many debtors seek to “hurt their ex-spouses by not paying child support.”
Video: Are Child Support Rules Unfair to Fathers?
There are child support debtors who match the Express-News’ description, but they are very much the minority. Much has been said about a few of the large payments the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement says the program has collected, particularly the $311,491 paid by a father who was marooned in Hong Kong without a passport. Yet, according to the federal OCSE’s own data, such parents are in no way representative of the average “deadbeat.”
OCSE data shows that two-thirds of those behind on child support nationwide earned poverty-level wages; less than four percent of the national child support debt is owed by those earning $40,000 or more a year.
A look at Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s current “Texas Top 10 Most Wanted Child Support Evaders” poster on the AG’s website confirms this. There’s not one educated parent on the list, which instead contains six general/construction laborers, a landscaper, a salesman, and two tradesmen.
Child support obligors often fall behind because the child support system is mulishly impervious to the economic realities working people face, such as layoffs, wage cuts, unemployment, and work-related injuries. According to the Urban Institute, less than one in 20 non-custodial parents who suffers a substantial drop in income is able to get courts to reduce his or her child support payments.
Abbott’s office backhandedly acknowledges the difficulties men in these situations face, advising obligors, “It is best to get a lawyer, if you can afford one, to handle your attempt to change the amount of child support you owe.” How many unemployed blue-collar workers can afford to hire an attorney?
Another reason the passport rules are a bad idea is that the information being employed by the OCSE is often faulty. Child support enforcement agencies—including Abbott’s office—are notorious for their incessant “computer” errors which lead to the harassment and persecution of innocent citizens. Abbott’s office’s role in the Joe Martin case, as documented by the Des Moines Register, provides a good example.