NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.
'The assistant district attorney started reading me the riot act as if I were a piece of pond scum'
"The assistant district attorney started reading me the riot act as if I were a piece of pond scum...When I informed her that I had already paid the arrears, she told me I was lying and that I was going to jail. I stood my ground and demanded that they recheck their records...After yelling at me for another 10 minutes, the payments clerk came in and informed the assistant DA that indeed I had sent in the payment...I demanded an apology..." The letter below is mostly about child support system's abuses, but there's an interesting side element, too. I've mentioned before the problem in family court of mothers extorting money from fathers in order to allow the fathers to see their kids. Because courts begin with the presumption that the mother is the real parent and the father is extraneous and caused the divorce anyway, mothers can force financial concessions from fathers in exchange for allowing them more parenting time. In reality, as long as both parents are fit, each should have a right to 50% time with their children as a matter of course. The letter also touches on the problem of the child support enforcement system threatening jail as a way to shake down a child support debtor's elderly parents. From Robert, a reader: "I had a very bad experience with the local DAs office in Tarrant County, Texas several years ago regarding child support. I had been out of work for about nine months and was just getting by while taking care of my two children, who lived with me 50% of the time. My ex had extorted child support out of me during our divorce settlement as a precondition of going along with joint managing conservatorship. Thus even though the kids spent equal time with me and I was out of work, the family court kept demanding that I continue to pay her child support, even though she was working full time as a teacher. I never quite figured out the rationale for this except that there is a built-in bias in the courts on behalf of women. "After getting no relief from the court on my petition to reduce the child support until I was again working, I eventually fell behind about two months on the payments and got a nastygram from the DA's office threatening me with jail if I did not pay up. I managed to borrow some funds from my elderly parents and did send the payment to the DA's office. A week later, I got a summons for failing to pay the arrears. "When I showed up, the assistant district attorney started reading me the riot act as if I were a piece of pond scum. Honestly, I have never seen a person so angry at life and at me. When I informed her that I had already paid the arrears, she told me I was lying and that I was going to jail. "I stood my ground and demanded that they recheck their records. I had a money order stub and knew that I had sent it to the proper address. An initial search by the clerk turned up nothing so again I was confronted by the angry assistant DA who again threatened me with jail. After yelling at me for another 10 minutes, the payments clerk came in and informed the assistant DA that indeed I had sent in the payment. "At that point I demanded an apology from the pretentious assistant DA who merely scoffed at me and still drug me into the court alleging that I was guilty of contempt. When I pointed out to the judge that I was unemployed, had joint custody, and had complied with the payment demand, the judge was a little confused and asked the assistant DA for clarification. "When she grudgingly admitted that everything I had told the judge was accurate, the case was dismissed. Even after all of this, the assistant DA was the glaring angry woman who just would not let it go."