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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.  

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Roxane Remy 2

May 27, 2020 by Roxanne Remy

Co-parenting a child with a disability is difficult enough. Constant communication, double- sometimes triple-ordering supplies, and a lot of extra effort on both sides is needed. These interventions do more than make for a smooth transition between households. Advanced planning reduces the risk of illness exacerbation and improves safety outcomes for the child. Co-parents need to be in lockstep with each other so the most important ingredient in the successful parenting recipe doesn’t get left out. Just when you think you’ve got a system in place, a crisis snags a loop unraveling your quilted matrix of a plan. Whether it’s an acute resurgence of their chronic illness, new school requirements, or another unplanned event, moms and dads have to assess and adjust to meet the new need. Now, in 2020, we can add national pandemic to that list of aggregavating factors which could interfere with a child’s shared parenting schedule. During these times, the door of communication should be flung wide open, but some parents see it as an opportunity to seal it shut.

Fear makes insecure people do irrational things. Pandemics, unfortunately, lend themselves to the overwhelming distress category of life.  Reactionary parenting can cause even those with the best of intentions to lose sight of their children’s holistic needs. Unfortunately, the alienating parent often capitalizes on the situational unpredictability and uses it as coercive control over the child. Rather than empowering their son or daughter with trust and compassion, the controlling parent undermines the child’s security by convincing them the other parent is in incapable of mitigating the threat. These individuals go out of their way to skew routines in an effort to present themselves as the lantern holding leader during the storm.

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May 26, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

The marriage rate in the U.S. is at an all-time low (Wall Street Journal, 4/29/20).  In 2018, there were just 6.5 new marriages per every 1,000 people.  That’s the lowest ratio since we began compiling marriage statistics in 1867.  The highest came in 1946 at 16.4 per 1,000.  As marriage rates decline, cohabitation rates have increased.

Just over half of American adults were living with a spouse in 2019, down from about seven in 10 in 1970, census figures show. About 7% lived with a partner last year, up from less than 1% in 1970.

Falling marriage rates aren’t good for society generally and children in particular.  Non-marital unions are historically far less stable than married ones and the stress of break-up can hit adults hard.  Marriage is positively correlated with better health, greater happiness, lower involvement in crime, higher involvement on the part of men in paid work, greater longevity and economic security.  And of course children who live with married parents are more likely to have lasting relationships with both than are their peers in non-marital households.  In short, marriage is a societal good.

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May 20, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

As I’ve said many times, taking children from their parents, whether by judges or child protective agencies, is traumatic for them.  Therefore, particularly child protective agencies must exercise the greatest restraint in their decision-making about whether to remove kids from their homes.  In some cases, foster care may be the best we can do for them, but it should be a last resort.

Now come a couple of studies that back up what I’ve said.

The first was conducted on data from Finland.

We did a population-wide cohort study using the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort, which collects longitudinal data linking nationwide child welfare, medical, and criminal registers for all 59 476 livebirths in Finland in 1987.

Researchers then looked at children who’d been placed in foster care at some time between the ages of two and six.  There were 388 of them.  They then selected 386 children with similarly stressful childhoods, but who hadn’t gone into foster care.  Researchers compared the outcomes on three measures of social dysfunction of the two groups between the ages of 18 and 25.

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May 19, 2020 by Indiana Lee

One of the most important lessons you can pass on to your kids is the value of healthy, supportive relationships — and how to nurture them. Just because you’re divorced or separated doesn’t mean you’re a failure at relationships. You can still teach your kids how to relate in a loving and healthy way, so they can grow up to establish their own supportive and healthy relationships.

The simple act of treating others as you’d like to be treated or the way you and your kids treat each other can provide a powerful, lifelong example of what friendships and partnerships should look like. Here are some of the most important factors of a healthy relationship and how you can help your kids develop them.

Learning to Relate — Even in Difficult Circumstances

If you’re in the process of a separation or a divorce, you can teach your kids that even during a difficult time of change when two people don’t see eye to eye in a situation, they can still respectfully disagree and work together towards a greater goal (like co-parenting). Your situation may be far from that reality, but it’s important that your kids see that the adults they love and trust can act objectively and respectfully during difficult times.

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Among the many shockingly dishonest articles on parental alienation I’ve commented on in the past, two, one in the Washington Post and another by NBC, took aim at a program designed to reduce the awful consequences of severe alienation.  That program is called Family Bridges and the articles were scurrilous in the extreme.

Among many other shortcomings, they interviewed kids who’d been through the FB workshop but who’d relapsed into their previous alienated behavior.  Their comments on the workshop weren’t favorable.  Needless to say, the article failed to interview a single kid who’d had a good experience at FB.

So it’s worthwhile that Dr. Richard Warshak has included a section of his latest paper on a study that was conducted on Family Bridges and the kids and parents who’ve taken part in the program.  That study tells a lot about the efficacy of the workshop, but it also tells us more about the amazing dishonesty of the articles about it.  Suffice it to say that, at the time the articles were published, the study had been completed, but, predictably, the writers managed to avoid reading the study or interviewing anyone who had.

So how did Family Bridges measure up?  First the study asked the children to rate their experience there.

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Professor Richard Warshak has penned an article on parental alienation in the journal Family Court Review.  It’s entitled “Risks and Realities of Working with Alienated Children.”  It’s a highly informative article, but it’s also a warning and one that’s long overdue.

As readers of this blog know, I’ve written many, many times about parental alienation.  Often those posts are about the scandalous misrepresentation of parental alienation by journalists, lawyers and other advocates.  The standard refrain is that the idea of parental alienation is a shady scheme hatched by abusive fathers to wrest custody of children from protective mothers.  Given that, it’s clear that the opposition to the recognition of alienation and treatment of alienated children traffics in intellectual dishonesty for the purpose of further marginalizing fathers in children’s lives.  In short, the people I refer to, because they seek to cast doubt on parental alienation, abet the abuse of children.

In his latest article, Warshak takes aim at some of those same “journalists.”

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May 7, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

And here’s yet another case in which COVID-19 is being used as an excuse to interfere in a child’s relationship with a parent (New Zealand Herald, 4/29/20).  Although most courts seem to understand that parenting time orders need to remain in effect and unchanged due to the virus, a few, alas, do not.

In the current case, a father’s ex-wife abducted their son to New Zealand.  (The article gives no names and excludes the father’s country of residence.)  It took the New Zealand courts an astonishing three years to come to a decision about the matter, during which time of course the child remained in New Zealand with the mother’s abduction tacitly endorsed by the legal system.  The father’s country of residence is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, so he was unable to pursue the remedies it offers. 

But the courts of his country ordered that he have sole custody of his son and, eventually, the New Zealand court agreed.

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Martin Kulldorff

May 5, 2020 by Martin Kulldorff, Ph.D.

Children have an extremely low risk of dying from COVID-19. Hence, there is no reason to change parenting schedules or prevent a child from seeing a parent because of COVID-19.

Among children under age 15, only nine COVID-19 death had been reported in the United States by May 1. When looking at data since February 1, this can be compared to 101 children dying from pneumonia, 81 from influenza and 5,520 total deaths in this age group.

Are these low numbers due to the lockdown and school closings? To answer that, let’s look at Sweden, one of the few western countries that never closed its elementary schools. You may think this would put children at risk, but no. While the country has had thousands of deaths among adults, not a single child have died from COVID-19.

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May 5, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

I’ve mentioned the fact that, with a few exceptions, courts are requiring parents to abide by the terms of their custody and parenting time orders during the COVID-19 restrictions on travel, business, etc.  But what about child protective agencies?  Would they seize on the specter of the virus to step up their interventions into families?  If so, how might that play out?

Consider this example (Reason, 4/28/20).  A couple who, in the article, are called Bill and Kristy had just moved to Kentucky from New York with their seven kids.  They went to a bank to open an account, leaving the two oldest kids in the car and taking the five little ones into the bank with them.  Bank employees were not amused.

The teller immediately interrogated Bill and Kristy about why they had brought five kids into the bank at one time. She [the teller] told them they could not get within six feet of her and that they needed to take the children out. Kristy explained that the children were too young to be left unsupervised by an adult, and neither she nor Bill could take them elsewhere because the couple were opening a joint account, and both had to be present.

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May 1, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

The Minnesota Supreme Court has established that a custodial parent’s denial of parenting time to a non-custodial parent is a matter of the custodial parent’s objective behavior, not her subjective intent.  That may sound like a trivial matter, but it’s not.

In Minnesota, deprivation of parenting time established by a court order is a felony.  Plus, unlike other states like Texas, it seems Minnesota law enforcement personnel actually enforce the law.  In Texas, deprivation of parenting time is also a felony, but the law is seldom enforced.  Indeed, some county sheriffs have a policy of refusing to enforce those orders.  The claim is that they’re civil in nature, when in fact the law is crystal clear that refusing to allow parenting time is a criminal matter.

So at least Minnesota enforces its laws on parenting time.

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April 30, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

There’s quite a conflict that’s arisen due to Congress’ decision to disallow stimulus checks being paid to anyone owing back child support.  As I pointed out here, child support obligors stand alone among debtors in being denied those funds.  Have you fallen behind in repaying your student loans?  No matter, you get a check.  Didn’t pay your taxes in past years?  IRS hot on your trail?  You still get a check.  Do you in fact owe the government or anyone else for any reason at all?  You still get a stimulus check as long as you otherwise qualify for one.

Only those who owe child support are omitted.

That’s of course true despite the fact that child support orders have been acknowledged for years to often be beyond the ability of the non-custodial parent to pay.  The Office of Child Support Enforcement has been saying so for years.  Plus, overwhelmingly, child support obligors are the poorest of the poor, so the refusal to give them stimulus checks hits directly at those who need them most.

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April 28, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

I couldn’t resist a quick blog on this (Japan Times, 4/10/20).  The headline “Justice Ministry Survey Finds Many Countries Allow Joint Child Custody After Divorce,” says it all.  Yes, they do.  And water is wet and the Earth is a sphere (roughly).

Seriously now, it took a “survey” by the Ministry of Justice for the Japanese government to figure out that some countries “allow” shared parenting post-divorce?  You’d think they could have just read a blog  I happen to know about and learned the same thing.  If they had, they’d also know that other countries have shared parenting because it’s by far the best arrangement for kids, sole parenting, i.e. that’s favored by Japanese policy, being the worst.

I suppose it’s the article’s tone of surprised discovery that got my attention.  It’s as if someone believes they’ve unearthed some hitherto unknown fact about life in those rare and strange parts of the world that are not Japan.

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April 27, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Those of us who pay attention to family law and public policy on families and kids know all too well the multi-front attack on families that’s so much a part of our society and culture.  That is, after all, why we fight back.  Healthy families are necessary to a healthy polity, so the erosion of families can only pose a threat to societal health and well-being.  Unsurprisingly, as the family has declined, many of the problems that strong families help ameliorate or avoid have worsened.

Of course most of the ways in which families are attacked are well-known – divorce laws and practices, adoption law, child support laws, child protective practices, pop culture, etc.  But occasionally, we run into a new one, in this case, opposition to homeschooling (Harvard Magazine, 5/20).

Writing in Harvard Magazine, Erin O’Donnell channels Harvard professor Elizabeth Bartholet who’s on record as favoring an outright legal presumption that no child may be educated by his/her parents.  Apparently, Bartholet would graciously allow some parents to be able to rebut the presumption, but the article never suggests how.  Given that the presumption would be a legal one, I can only conclude that it would require a proceeding in court that would then require a lawyer and would therefore place homeschooling out of reach of parents of modest means. 

In short, like every other family-unfriendly policy already in effect, Bartholet’s would hit hardest at the poor.  This of course is in the service of her “progressive” ideology.

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April 24, 2020

Regular readers of this blog know that the CARES Act that provided stimulus checks to most Americans also carved out one, and only one, exception. These checks would be “offset” (reduced by) any past-due child support. (Read Robert Franklin’s recent article about this here.)

This was a mean-spirited provision, driven by decades of vilification of child support obligors, and reflecting ignorance of what happens when past-due child support is collected in this way. The stereotype of child support obligor in arrears as people who are callously allowing their children to suffer hardship while they live high on the hog is total rubbish. Most obligors who are in default are poor, having been ordered to pay more than they can or having lost income and had their child support obligation adjusted. These parents are hurting.

The ignorance of the effects of this action are multiple. In passing this legislation, our legislators forgot that child support obligors often have their children in their care 25% of the time, or more. So, creating hardship for these parents is creating hardship for their children, too. And much of the money collected by confiscating these stimulus checks will not go to the other parent for the benefit of the children. By law, a significant portion of the funds will be kept by the federal and state governments to recoup the cost of public assistance given to that parent. This not only undermines the intended effect of the CARES Act to help family get through these harsh time but it undermines the goal of stimulating the economy.

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April 23, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Sometimes it seems family courts are biased against fathers.  That’s true anecdotally, but it’s also revealed by half a dozen studies of judges and the lawyers who practice before them.

Well, here’s another of those anecdotal cases (TapHaps, 3/15/20).

Mark Athans and Charity (foreboding name) Parchem married in 2018 in South Dakota.  Athans already had a son who was 16 and had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  Athans is the boy’s sole caregiver. 

Autism or not, to Athans’ son, something about Parchem didn’t feel right.  So he started doing some online research on her and found that she was not only already married, but to two men.  Athans made three.  So, five months into the marriage, Athans filed for an annulment of the marriage.

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April 22, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Ten years ago this month, Australian Laura Garrett abducted her four daughters from their father, Tommaso Vincenti, and their home in Italy.  With the illegal help of the Australian embassy in Rome, she took the girls, then aged 9 – 14 to Australia and, with the help of her mother, went into hiding.  Eventually, she was located and her husband, still in Italy, filed a lawsuit under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction seeking their return.  It would take three years for the Australian courts to do what should have been done in a few weeks, but eventually the children were ordered back to Italy to be with their father.

Australian television news showed the girls screaming and resisting when the police forced them to board a flight to Rome.  For all the world, it looked like child abuse, kids terrified of an abusive father.  After all, that had been Garrett’s claim from the first and the news media reported it without question.  The Australian government paid Garret $900 per month in compensation as a “victim of domestic violence.”  Eventually, though, it was revealed to be a sham. 

Now, a decade later, the girls have come clean (Kidspot, 4/14/20).

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April 21, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Every day for at least two weeks now, there’s been a large number of articles in a vast array of publications about how to handle the COVID-19 quarantine in child custody situations.  The overwhelming majority of those articles say that, unless there are other extenuating circumstances, the parents are to abide by whatever court order is in effect. The virus alone is not a change of circumstances sufficient to alter the status quo regarding parenting time and custody.  Countless lawyers and judges are repeating the same advice.

But there’s always the odd outlier (The Atlantic, 4/8/20).

Writer Deborah Copaken tells the story of her, her ex and their 13-year-old son. They’re divorced and seem to have shared time fairly equally until COVID-19 raised its ugly head.  They live about an hour apart in New York City. Sensibly, the two grappled with what to do with their parenting arrangements during the restrictions on activity designed to reduce transmission of the illness.

But then,

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April 17, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

There’s bad news on the child protection front (KSAT, 4/13/20).  In Texas and across the country, calls to child protective agencies during the COVID-19 crisis have sharply decreased.  By 20% in Texas, by 50% in Wisconsin and elsewhere, reports of child abuse and neglect have dropped precipitously.

And CPS officials aren’t happy about it.  Not one bit.

A perfect storm — that’s what some child abuse prevention advocates are calling the coronavirus pandemic.

For a month now, children at risk of abuse and neglect have been locked in homes with parents ill-equipped to deal with the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of the virus. Some worry the longer this crisis continues, it will lead to another epidemic of child abuse and neglect cases.

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April 16, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Director

I recently posted a piece lauding courts for generally continuing to enforce whatever custody and parenting time orders are in place during the time restrictions on human interaction are in place due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.  This case is a rare exception (CNN, 4/13/20).  It’s also an opportunity to explore some of the reasons why the virus must not be used as an excuse to limit children’s time with one parent or another.

Dr. Theresa Greene is an emergency room physician in Florida.  She’s been divorced from her ex-husband, Eric, for two years and the couple have a young daughter.  The two have, until recently, shared parenting time equally. 

But Eric went to court to request that Theresa’s time with their daughter be stopped for some period of time, presumably until the risk of contracting the virus abates.  Judge Bernard Shapiro’s order includes make-up time for Theresa when the emergency is over and daily Skype time with her daughter.  So, whatever its other shortcomings, the order isn’t as bad as it might be.

Understandably, Theresa is appealing the order on the ground that it discriminates against her as a divorced parent.  She makes a good point.  As she says in the video interview that accompanies the article, if she were married, no one would tell her not to go home to her family every night, even though she’d worked at the hospital all day and been exposed to COVID-19.  That’s true and there’s no coherent argument to be made for treating divorced and married parents differently, certainly not in Greene’s situation.

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April 14, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

With the massive changes brought about by COVID-19, the question that’s in the back of a lot of people’s minds is “How does this affect existing court orders for custody and parenting time?”  After all, we’re supposed to limit contact between individuals and children traveling between homes means more exposure for all involved.  So perhaps the answer is for whoever has the kids to keep them until restrictions on contact are loosened.

But, from my vantage point, I see courts uniformly instructing parents and lawyers that, whatever order is in effect remains in effect until modified.  In other words, as far as parenting time orders go, there’s been no change, virus or no virus.

I maintain multiple Google Alerts for a wide variety of topics, including terms like “shared parenting,” “non-custodial parent,” “child’s best interests,” and the like.  I receive scores of articles every day and, since the advent of the virus, a huge number of them have been about what happens to parenting time and parent-child contact orders during lockdown or otherwise restricted contact.

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April 10, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Dr. Linda Nielsen has written an important and necessary book.  Entitled Improving Father/Daughter Relationships: A Guide for Women and Their Dads, it’s based on Nielsen’s many years of research into father-daughter dynamics as well as the work of other established social scientists.  It’s scientifically based, but written for lay people.  It’s a book for any father or daughter who’s concerned about their relationship with the other.  It’s for any father who’s expecting a daughter or already has one of any age.  It’s for any daughter in her mid-late teens or older.  And, although the title doesn’t mention it, it’s for mothers with daughters.

Improving Father/Daughter Bonds is scheduled for release in June.  The book can be purchased here.  And here it is on Dr. Nielsen’s website.  

As a professor and researcher in adolescent psychology, Nielsen asks fathers and daughters who believe they can improve their relationship with each other to familiarize themselves with the applicable research first.  That’s because there’s a welter of mis/disinformation about fathers which it’s essentially impossible to avoid.

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April 9, 2020 by Linda Reutzel, National Parents Organization of Missouri and Ken Goins, Esq., Director, Protecting American Families

According to CNBC the Federal Government estimates that job losses could total 47 million and the unemployment rate could hit 32% because of the Covid 19 pandemic.  Currently, the historical impact on the economy has had a drastic effect on the daily lives of most families.

Our society has a deep heart-felt empathetic understanding that many single-parent families are hit even harder by layoffs, hiring freezes, furloughs, reduction in hours etc. In response the government has said it’s going to send money to every adult earning less than $100,000.  However, this monetary help will not be sent to the families of obligor-parents who are late on support payments. So in the middle of record unemployment which is a direct indication of needing help, our government will not provide the same help to the families of obligor-parents late in payments.  This is stereotyped-bias, illogical and destructive to the children. This focus on punishing all obligor-parents hurts their children because that money will not get to the child[ren] thru either parent. See Eternal Verities in a time of Change by NPO’s Robert Franklin, JD.

When it comes to single-parent families where the parent is an obligor for support payments, our society has difficulty recognizing the hardship the loss of income has on that family.   This is because of an offensive gender-based stereotype peddled by many that is based on an incorrect assumption that obligors are all potential absent deadbeats and not really part of the family.

Our message to obligor-parents is this:

  1. Once the obligor-parent has a loss in income the obligor should consider immediately filing a request for a downward modification with the administrative agency and a request in court. The Missouri Supreme Court has a website with fill-in-the-blank documents that those without attorneys can use to file for downward modifications in court. https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=38397 and for help with understanding the basic steps this webpage has information -https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=38396
  2. Also, every parent should complete a Missouri Form 14 that can be found on the internet to calculate your monthly obligation after the reduction in income.http://www.freeform14.com/ and/or http://form14.teamlex.com/

Our current laws incorrectly assume the obligor-parent has an ability to pay and does not require the agency/courts to order a downward modification when there is a loss/reduction in income. In fact, in Missouri our agency/regulations require:

  1. A notarized application that alleges at least a 50% reduction in income that exists for at least 3 MONTHS and will continue for at least another 6 MONTHS. So 49% is NOT enough.
  2. Even then, the agency is not required to seek a downward modification, but simply has the obligation to review and can refuse a downward modification request for any or no reason.
  3. The agency’s standard notice to obligor’s incorrectly states that it can refuse a request for a modification made for an order less than three years old and routinely denies modification requests simply because the order is less than 3 years old regardless of the obligor’s loss of income or (in)ability to pay.
  4. Our courts/agency place those on probation or enter into payment arrangements that require 1.5 times the original amount the obligor could not pay originally, without helping them obtain downward modifications.

The attorney for the agency, defended this practice saying that obligor-parents should have saved and anticipated the loss of income and their failure to anticipate the loss is an intentional failure to provide for their children.  In the real world, most families live paycheck to paycheck so it’s quite difficult to save for a rainy day.  Most obligor parents share custody so child support is more than just financial.  But loss of job might force the obligor-parent to sell the family-car, family-refrigerator, family-stove and other family-necessities to meet the financial obligation to the children.  This actually forces families of the obligor-parent who cannot afford the monthly payment to take out a loan to make the payment.  So our courts are actually encouraging the use of payday loans!  Finally, the courts/agency even assume that every obligor-parent is a finance expert who can predict the economy and layoffs and furloughs (and pandemics!).   In fact, until last year all obligor-parents in Missouri were legally defined as absent.

In a federal court constitutional challenge to its suspension of licenses without assessing (in)ability to pay, the agency very clearly used the incorrect assumption(stereotype) in the first line of its defense:

Plaintiffs are noncustodial parents who have failed to financially support their children, as legally required.

Our courts/agency fail to acknowledge that every obligor-parent is not an absent selfish deadbeat. Our courts/agency fail to establish the ability to pay as the legal criteria for how much if any amount should be paid to the other parent when most parents are sharing custody.  We all know a mother or father who are not meeting their responsibility, but when we begin to prejudge all parents and change our legal structure to reflect this bias, we are harming the families, especially the children. 

Visiting the support-agency website, you clearly see how to file for services, but there is no easily locatable tab labeled “modifications”.  Cases are established at the field offices throughout the state, but modifications are given less priority and only handled in the central office. 

With a loss of income, you MUST get the monthly obligation lowered so you can pay it or else the balance will accrue and you will be treated as if you had the money and were simply too selfish to pay it. There are groups that provide basic free information on child support.  You should reach out and visit them and if they charge a modest fee it is money well spent.

The bias against the families of obligor parents who fall on hard times is real and not warranted.   Most parents love and want to raise their children.  It is shameful that in this epic crisis our government officials would choose to ignore the suffering endured by the families of obligor-parents, especially their children.

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April 8, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

As I said here, the federal stimulus plan to combat the economic ravages of the COVID-19 virus contains an insidious exception.  Everyone who earns under $75,000 per year will receive a check from Washington in the amount of $1,200 - everyone, that is, except non-custodial parents who’ve fallen behind on the child support payments. 

Yes, if you’ve stiffed the government on your student loans, you still get a check.  The same is true if you’ve refused to pay income taxes.  No matter, you still get a check.  But if you’re too poor to pay your child support, you get nothing.

As I pointed out, that is nothing but punitive.  It accomplishes nothing except to punish parents (about 90% of them fathers).  It sends not a sou to kids.  And of course it diminishes the impact of the stimulus.  If handing money to individuals helps the economy, and it does (although to what extent I can’t say), then withholding it from poor parents serves only to make the stimulus less effective.

And of course the parents this affects are overwhelmingly poor.  The Office of Child Support Enforcement has for many years (at least since 2006) reported that those who don’t pay child support are the poorest of the poor.  So keeping them from receiving the checks looks to be doubly mean-spirited.

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April 7, 2020 by Indiana Lee

No one enters into a marriage expecting it to end. Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that it is one of the most traumatic events you will ever face.

But as difficult as it may be for you and your soon-to-be former spouse to accept the dissolution of your marriage, consider how much more painful it can be to your children. The fact is that your children may be frightened, confused, depressed, or even angry about their parents’ divorce, but they may not have the ability to express or even to adequately understand their feelings.

This is why the protection of your child’s mental health is of paramount importance as the divorce process proceeds. But it is not only your child’s psychological well-being that must be preserved.

Moms and dads, too, need mental healthcare as the family makes this difficult transition, not only for their own sake but for the sake of the children. An important strategy for supporting the entire family’s mental health during the divorce process is to incorporate a family-wide mental healthcare plan into custody negotiations.

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