Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The New Deadbeat Dad

Let me tell you a story about a man named Gary. He is a loving father, a U.S. Navy Seal, and an all around good citizen. Gary got deployed to Afghanistan. While there he wrote lullabies for his son. A son that he is no longer allowed to see.

Apparently, his wife visited family in Israel, and decided to stay, and requested a divorce from abroad. Gary has been fighting in the California courts (which may explain SOME of the problem) to gain some form of access to his son. He's not asking for full custody, but we're talking visitation. Oh yeah, let us not forget that Gary must pay $2,100 a month in support.

Gary is the new deadbeat dad. He lost his wife and child while on deployment, and was given the deadbeat moniker while nowhere near where he could defend himself. No longer are deadbeats the wife beaters, the uncaring scum that have been portrayed through the years. While they still do exist, today's deadbeat dads tend to be stable upright citizens, which the "family" court system has punished just because they are the father.

What is saddest is that Gary is not alone. There are thousands of Reservists out there who are facing government sanctions, huge back payment debts, and even possible jail times because their active duty military pay is nowhere near the amount they made in their civilian jobs. Of course the Family Support Act of 1988 allows non-custodial parents to request a child support modification for decreases in income; but most state agencies do not honor the requests. One of the main reasons they do not is that the agencies are reimbursed by the federal government for every dollar they collect. That is a lot of incentive for them to keep the child support payments high.

This is all due to the idiocy of zero-tolerance laws. Rather than having intelligent guidelines, the government places hard and fast rules which must be applied regardless of circumstance. A good example of that would be Mr. Bobby Sherrill. Mr. Sherrill worked for Lockeed in Kuwait prior to the first Gulf War, and was captured and held hostage in Iraq for about five months during that conflict. When he was released, and finally made it back to the states, Mr. Sherrill was arrested by our government. What did he do wrong? Well, while he was being held hostage, he did not pay his child support.

While I think Child Support laws are a good thing, especially with the advent of the no-fault divorce, they need to be fair to non-custodial parents, especially fathers. Without this fairness, all you have is prosecution of fathers, which is of course what the feminists want.

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