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Saturday, August 9, 2008


The demonization of noncustodial parents is used to justify all manner of inhumane treatment for those who owe child support. Sylvia Folk, a noncustodial mother, testified before Congress that she was incarcerated for seventy-two days for nonpayment. The judge candidly acknowledged his awareness that she lacked the money to pay but vowed to, and did, hold her until the ransom was paid by her church. As cruel as it sounds, the one remedy that almost always works is incarceration. Family court judges call it "the magic fountain."... For a destitute person, civil contempt is an inappropriate remedy to secure payment of a child support obligation: the party cannot be coerced into paying child support that instant, because she has no funds to pay it. Under such circumstances, incarcerating the appellant, and other destitute child support debtors similarly situated, serves no purpose at all. Tennessee's Court of Appeals lags behind the courts of our neighboring states in recognizing this fact.

The civil contempt in so many words should not have been a valid reason to hold that person incarcerated for 1 day or 1 year... When does the non-custodial parent have rights if they can not pay child support? Over and over Child support courts violate parents rights claiming that they are doing it for the protection of the child, what happens if the womans family or church could not have raised the money? After 1 year do they release her? Five years or 10. Those courts should be liable for violating that person civil rights!

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