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Fathers and Families

Sign the Petition to Make the Affordable
Care Act Gender Neutral
In Ohio — Some Sanity on the Establishment and Enforcement of Child Support Obligations
August 23, 2012
Top Story
Sign the Petition to Make the Affordable Care Act Gender Neutral
By Robert Franklin, Esq., Director, Fathers and Families

Last week, my wife excitedly told me that as of August 1st, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, allowed her to get well woman exams free of charge – no deductibles, no co-pays. Great, I thought, finally some preventive care that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Then it occurred to me that I’d seen nothing of the sort on behalf of men. Indeed, I’d just been to the doctor for my annual blood draw and I’d paid for the office visit and the lab fee. What gives?


What gives, as it turns out, is that I’m a man and she’s a woman. The Affordable Care Act has a list of preventive care for adults (i.e. men and women), a list of preventive care for women, and a list for children. Who’s missing? That’s right, I am. I’m an adult, so I get whatever is on the ‘adult’ list, as does my wife. But are my uniquely-male medical needs addressed? Nope. There’s nary a peep about prostate cancer screening, testicular cancer or well man exams. Nothing. In a law that runs to thousands of pages and covers every possible situation, they managed to neglect half the adult population. Amazing, but true.

So here’s a petition I signed and I hope you will too. It’s about bringing gender equality into the Affordable Care Act. What a concept! It doesn’t matter if you like or dislike the Affordable Care Act. The fact is that it’s the law of the land and will continue to be for the foreseeable future and probably longer.

Given that it’s a fait accompli, let’s do that strange, even freakish thing – make it fair. Force those in Washington who daily kick men to the curb to do the right thing, the just thing, the moral thing. I know it’s not in their nature, but maybe they can change.

You may wish to post this petition to your facebook page and tweet your friends too.


In Ohio — Some Sanity on the Establishment and Enforcement of Child Support Obligations
By Don Hubin, Ph.D., Chair, Fathers and Families of
Ohio Executive Committee


Don Hubin
Does the typical convict who has served his time and been released have the same earning ability he had before his conviction? Surely not! But Ohio law has allowed courts to assume that he does and to calculate his child support obligation on an imputed income that is based on that fiction. Furthermore, Ohio courts have considered incarcerated prisoners to be "voluntarily unemployed" and refused to reduce their child support obligation during their term of incarceration. The result is that, when they are released, they have arrearages in their child support that they will never be able to pay.

Is it a good idea to suspend the driver’s licenses of parents who are behind in their child support obligations--thus, often, preventing them from finding or keeping employment? Of course not! But Ohio law has allowed, and sometimes, required courts and the Office of Child Support to do this.

Does it make sense to raise a person's child support because he takes on additional work to support a new family--often leaving children of a second family worse off? No, that doesn't make sense either. But Ohio courts and Child Support Enforcement Agencies have been required to do this.

And, is it fair to require an obligor to pay more in child support simply because the child support obligations come from separate child support orders instead of a single one? Nope (again). But many Ohio fathers have been in exactly that position.

This past year, some measure of sanity was injected into Ohio laws concerning these issues. Senate Bill 337, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor John R. Kasich this past June, will correct some serious problems with the way Ohio sets and enforces child support orders. The bill is a broad one, addressing many issues. It is effective as of September 28, 2012.

Here are some highlights concerning changes in child support law:
  • Prohibits a court or child support enforcement agency from determining that a parent who is incarcerated or institutionalized for 12 or more months with no other available assets is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed for the purposes of imputing income when calculating child support unless the offense that led to the incarceration involved abuse or neglect of the child or the subject of the support order is a victim of that offense.
  • Permits a court or child support enforcement agency to disregard a parent's additional income from overtime or additional employment in appropriate circumstances such as when the income was generated primarily to support a new or additional family member.
  • Requires a court or child support enforcement agency to collect information about preexisting child support orders for other children of the same parents when calculating a child support order to ensure that the total of all orders for the children of both parents does not exceed the amount that would have been ordered in a single order.
  • For many offenses, changes a mandatory license suspension to a discretionary suspension, and for all offenses provides that the court, in lieu of suspending the license, instead may require the offender to perform community service for a number of hours determined by the court.
There is much to do to improve Ohio's child support laws and Fathers and Families of Ohio volunteers are working with legislators and representatives of the Office of Child Support to address these other issues. But the above changes are welcome, even if long overdue.
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Mission
Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.




Vision
Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
  • Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:

  • Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:

  • Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:

  • Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:

  • The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and

  • Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.


Vision
Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
  • Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:

  • Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:

  • Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:

  • Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:

  • The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and

  • Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.


Fathers and Families
Fathers and Families
PO Box 270760
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(617) 542-9300
www.fathersandfamilies.org
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