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Monday, September 28, 2009

A Good Father - He's Just Unemployed

I just learned one of my young male neighbors, presently unemployed, was recently jailed and is now serving 11/29 for non-payment of child-support. I guess I'm one of the few ones who scratch my head and could never understand the benefits to the child or children and society as a whole for locking someone up for failure to pay child-support, especially if they're not in a position to pay due to job loss. With today's high unemployment rates, for sure there's going to be even more non-custodial parents falling behind in payments.

How does it benefit the child, society, the taxpayer, and even the individual arrested and jailed if he or she can't afford to pay?

Don't think I'm someone who hasn't been there, experienced that. I've been a divorced mom too, struggling to provide for two young children on my own. However, I knew at the time their father was not in a position to pay. Yes, we went without a lot. I missed important medical appointments so my daughter could study classical music from the time she was seven or eight years of age. I learned to make meals on ten dollars or less. Shop at Goodwill. My children wore their cousins' hand-me-downs.

But because of our struggles they learned to appreciate the little things and grew up to be well-rounded individuals. They're not flashy and still prefer to shop at resale shops and are great bargain hunters.

Getting back to my young neighbor - he's a good father who spent lots of time with his daughter, often keeping her for days or even weeks at a time. Now, she won't be seeing her father for another six months or so. Even out of work, he still did small things for her. He just wasn't able to keep up with regular child-support payments.

Who does it help to jail someone for non-payment of child-support or revoke their license? Whoever thought up those two as punishment must have really been asleep at the wheel.

I look at it this way, if the mother applied for or was receiving some kind of public assistance for the child, now you have two or more burdens on the taxpayer. One sitting and wasting away in jail, the child or children still going without. If the individual had some small job, even minimum wage, but still fell behind in payments, that job isn't going to be waiting on him or her six months later when they're released.

Not only that, with a lapse in employment or a prison or jail record, it becomes even more difficult for that person to find a job. And, with a jail or prison record, that individual's offspring can be affected later in life when applying for certain jobs that might require a security clearance, depending upon the level of security.

Then there's the revoked license issue, which just sets the person up for another chance of being arrested if they take a chance and drive without a license, which many will do at some point, creating a revolving door in the criminal justice system. Let's be honest, if the individual can't drive to a job because they've lost their driving privileges, how are they to get to work? Not everyone is lucky enough to have a 9-5 job, and buses don't run on a 24/7 schedule.

The "experts" really need to take time to think about these laws before they sign them into law. In the long term, they serve no one, and only create more problems than solutions. So, now we have another kid who at least had a father who came around and spent time with her, sitting and wasting away in prison for something that should never have been a crime in the first place. There's a difference between the inability VS the ability to pay.

Hopefully, the "experts" will rethink these laws that are really crippling American society and serve no true purpose, except for prison stockholders.

1 comment:

Paul said...

This is such a true story..I'm going through the same thing ...I've served time and still backed up..The system is set up so that fathers can fail..Putting someone in jail for non payment of child support especially when they are trying is so wrong and something needs to change. This is a perfect example of what i mean the system sets father up for failure.
I'm making payment of $992.00 a month for 2 children and because i'm backed up the state of Florida wants to add a additional 20% because of arrears... that's $198 dollars more on top of the $992 dollars i'm paying. I'm struggling to pay the $992 dollars what makes them think that i can pay an additional $198 dollars. Plus i'm only working 2 part time jobs which does not even add up to 24,000 dollars a year.. I'm paying child support based on the 50,000 dollars i was making back in 2001. I have tried to get a modification 3 times and all 3 times i have been denied because they say i'm capable of making the money i use to make. I'm in Tampa don't they know that the unemployment % here is at 11.7 % of unemployed people...For the first time in history the state wide of Florida has over a million people out of work...SOME THING NEEDS TO BE DONE AND QUICKLY..
I have a group that i have started on Facebook you can join and please leave you comments it's called D.U.D.E.S (Dad"s Understanding Dad's Economical Struggles) Please join us...thank you.
Frustrated Dad

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