Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Indiana Child Support Nazi's are Gearing Up to Get You

Oh oh, the Child Support Nazi's are gearing up. I have seen many problems of courts in Indiana NOT getting the support calculations right, and no matter what effort there is to make corrections, the courts are too lazy to get things right. So here you go, the CS Nazi's will be coming to getcha...

From The Star Press:

Our View: State is getting tough on deadbeat parents

Some deadbeat parents in Indiana could find themselves walking instead of riding under a program announced by Gov. Mitch Daniels -- for good reason.

Noncustodial parents who owe at least $25,000 and have not made payments in at least a year could have their state-issued licenses suspended. These include driver's licenses, as well as hunting and fishing licenses.

Daniels announced the program at the end of October, saying it would be first implemented in eight counties: Marion, Lake, Allen and St. Joseph -- the state's most populous -- and in Vanderburgh, Monroe, Tippecanoe and Kosciusko. About 4,000 delinquent parents meeting the criteria for suspension live in those counties. The rest of the state's 92 counties will follow soon.

"We don't want to take anybody's license," Daniels said, "but if you won't do your duty, then certain privileges the state confers ought not be yours until you start doing your duty."

There are built-in protections. The suspensions would not be automatic. The prosecutor's office in each county administers the process. There will be a series of notifications with a 60-day response period. Delinquent parents would not have to pay in full to avoid losing licenses and will be able to set up payment schedules.

The governor said the threshold for suspension will eventually be lowered from $25,000 to $3,000 and the length of time in arrears from a year to three months.

According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, more than 76,000 parents who owe $1.3 billion to their children meet the lower standard.

Indiana courts could previously suspend the licenses of non-paying parents, but the governor's proposal makes it an administrative action.

Indiana officials say they don't want to take anyone's license, but they believe drastic measures are necessary to get some people to meet their obligations. Those who still refuse to pay could go to jail.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, who attended the news conference, said he viewed the failure to pay child support by parents with the means as child abuse.

Because the state is responsible for health care and other welfare payments for many of these children and their families, it has the responsibility to collect back child support for the benefit and well-being of these children and as a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers of Indiana who are footing the bill.

It's sad when it gets to the point it is necessary to threaten someone with something as important as the loss of a driver's license to get them to support their children. The fact that 76,000 Indiana parents owe $2,000 or more is proof the program is needed.

There are many good parents who find themselves in financial difficulty and are temporarily unable to pay their child support. This program is not directed at them. It is to get the attention of those who have the means but refuse to support their children. They deserve to lose their driver's license. They probably also deserve to go to jail for child abuse.

2 comments:

Charlotte said...

Please - letting parents get behind $25,000 and then taking action? That is not getting tough - that is a dereliction of duty of the state's obligation to enforce support.

I have worked in child support enforcement, in both a small county and a large county. Small counties tend to use the felony non-support on a much more regular basis than large counties.

I managed a caseload of about 700 in the small county, and we were much more likely to file the non-support action than when I worked in a large county that had 30,000+ cases.

Many individuals opine that putting the non-custodial, non-paying parent in jail doesn't serve any purpose because "how can they pay if they are jailed?"

I have news for the public - when they are finally jailed (no work release, no pre-trial diversion), it is a last resort.

At that point, I have always felt that putting them in jail is the only way to demonstrate that non-payment of child support is being taken seriously.

Taking away a driver's license also generates the same sympathetic refrain - how can they pay support if they can't drive? Many will still drive - just without the license.

Paying child support is a serious issue and should be taken seriously. Many of the harshest punishments only attach as a last resort. That means that the non-paying parent has had chance after chance after chance to pay and has failed to comply.

By the way, do you not include fathers in your group too?

gypsy said...

My son's father, who lives in Illinois and has another child support case against him there has had NOTHING done.

In fact, when I've emailed, or taken information as to his whereabouts or Illinois court dates that he has, they have still done nothing.

The ladies at the Gary office laughed at me and told me I'd never see a dime.

It's ridiculous. There's nothing harsh at all. They go after the easy shots.

My daughter's father, who pays on time, every time gets hit with nasty letters if he pays me cash because I'm in hard times! Even after I call and send letters letting them know.

They are lazy and obviously not thinking from the standpoint of someone who's been through it.

Mitch Daniels needs to wake the hell up and realize that generally the real problems don't bite you in the ass. You have to actually do some work!

Do you really believe that someone 25k behind on child support gives a crap if they have a license or not?