November 5, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
I’ve written a lot lately about child support. The undeniable fact is that, while all and sundry claim the system exists to support children, child support often looks a lot more like custodial parents support than anything. I won’t go back through the various pieces I’ve done to that effect, but here, here and here are three.
Just to make the point even clearer, should that be necessary, there’s this (Bangor Daily News, 11/3/14).
Trista Reynolds wants Justin Dipietro to continue paying child support for their daughter Ayla. He’s been doing so ever since a DNA test confirmed he was Ayla’s dad. That was over three years ago, so why shouldn’t he continue? Well, for one thing, Ayla hasn’t lived with Trista for over three years and Trista has done no childcare for Ayla in that time. The reason she hasn’t is that for almost three years, Ayla has been missing and presumed dead.
Police don’t know what happened and no one’s been charged with either abducting her, harming her or killing her. But they’ve turned over every stone and there’s no sign of the little girl, so they assume she’s dead without knowing for certain.
Sadly, tragically, we don’t know where Ayla is or whether she’s dead or alive. But what we do know is that she isn’t living with Trista Reynolds and hasn’t since well before she disappeared on December 16, 2011. Despite providing no care for a child who’s missing, Trista wants Dipietro to continue paying child support to her. There’ll be a hearing this week to decide whether he’ll be required to.
Now, let’s be clear. Dipietro looks like he may have had a hand in Ayla’s disappearance. Apparently he was given temporary custody of Ayla while Trista checked into a drug rehabilitation treatment facility. She first turned the girl over to her mother, but local child protective authorities gave her to Dipietro. On the day in question, he and two of his female relatives were at his home, from which Ayla disappeared. About a cup of her blood was found next to Dipietro’s bed and he seems to have taken a two-hour driving trip before reporting her missing.
Children don’t just vanish and the number of times one is abducted by a stranger from a house in which three adults are present is vanishingly small. Ergo, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Justin Dipietro had something to do with his daughter’s disappearance and death, if she’s in fact dead.
So this post is not a plea for sympathy for Justin Dipietro. It’s a plea for sanity in the child support system. Specifically, given the facts of the case, why is continuing child support even an issue? Whatever Ayla’s fate, Trista Reynolds hasn’t cared for her in over three years. In no sense does Dipietro’s money go to support Ayla. It goes to support Trista Reynolds. Unless she’s set up a fund for Ayla in the event she ever turns up, there’s no other way it can be.
Only in a system in which child support is in reality custodial parent support would the outcome of the hearing be in any doubt.
National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.
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