Saturday, May 25, 2013

Child support is boon for gold diggers

The Root reports:
Child-Support Laws: A Boon for Gold Diggers?
Experts say that flaws in the system punish poor parents and motivate others to have kids for money.

Just when it seemed Charlie Sheen's story couldn't get any more depressing for him, his fans and his family, things have managed to take a turn for the worse. His estranged wife, Brooke Mueller, has been admitted to rehab for drug addiction, something she's struggled with for years.

Despite the fact that her twin toddlers with Sheen have previously been cared for by his first wife, actress Denise Richards, during some of Mueller's previous stints in rehab, Mueller has attempted to have the twins removed from Richards' custody. The reason, Sheen's lawyers allege, is that the $55,000 a month in child support that Sheen is paying Mueller is her sole source of income.

Sheen's is not the first headline-grabbing child-support case. After a prolonged court battle, mogul Kirk Kerkorian paid $100,000 a month to support a child who was proven to have been fathered by someone else, while Halle Berry reportedly pays ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $240,000 a year in child support. But the Sheen battle is noteworthy because Mueller's latest stay in rehab seems to confirm that while she has received more money per month in child support than many Americans earn in a year, not all of that money has been spent to benefit her children. Some money has likely been spent on substances that may be to her, and their, detriment.
I hate to call it "child support". The law does not require or even expect the money to be spent on the children. It is impossible to spend that much money for the betterment of the kids. Yes, the mom can spend child support money on recreational drugs, altho there may be laws against particular drugs.
The Mueller case highlights challenges the legal system has struggled to address -- namely, how do we guarantee that child-support laws ensure children are adequately cared for, but that adults seeking to avoid their financial responsibilities and those attempting to use children for financial gain don't take advantage of the system? According to experts interviewed by The Root, America's child-support system is inherently flawed. It punishes poor parents while incentivizing women, and men, to have children with wealthy partners for long-term financial security, not just for their children but for themselves.
Yes, the system has horrible incentives.

The article actually has an explanation of the formula:
Felder was referencing an established formula used to determine child support in New York. According to South Brooklyn Legal Services, the formula is calculated as follows: "After determining each parent's income, the court adds their incomes together and then multiplies that number by a percentage, depending on the number of children. Those percentages are: 17 percent for one child; 25 percent for two children; 29 percent for three children; 31 percent for four children; no less than 35 percent for five or more children.

"That amount is then divided between the two parents based on the proportion of each parent's income to the combined parental income. For example, if the noncustodial parent makes $60,000 a year and the custodial parent makes $20,000, the combined income would be $80,000 (the noncustodial parent's share is 75 percent, and the custodial parent's is 25 percent of the total)."
Bad as that is, California is worse. We pay 25 percent for one child and 40 percent for two children. I pay 55% because of non-formula add-ons.

The article goes on to explain that parasites have no morals:
But also exacerbating the system are adults who try to abuse it. When asked if she believes there are people who have children for financial reasons, Middleton-Lewis replied, "The reality is yes -- unequivocally, yes." Middleton-Lewis, the author of a book ironically titled Girl Get That Child Support: Seeking Child Support Doesn't Make You a Gold Digger, added that this type of behavior is not limited to the 1 percent. "In certain distressed communities, someone working for the NYPD or New York Transit is a moneyed person." She explained that she has heard of individuals in these professions being sought out as fathers because their financial situation is viewed as stable.

Child Support Versus Parental Support

Felder agreed with Middleton-Lewis that there are people who have children with wealthier individuals for financial reasons. "I represent a woman who had kids by two separate actors. It's how she supports herself," he said. But unlike Middleton-Lewis, Felder doesn't consider it an ethical issue but a philosophical one. "It's absolutely true that if you have a baby by an athlete or a celebrity, you can pretty much hit a homerun as far as support is concerned."
In California, a mom can use child-support money to live on her, to bet at the racetrack, or to invest for her retirement. That is not the case everywhere:
Middleton-Lewis noted that there are states that require an accounting of child-support funds. In Georgia, famed African-American attorney Willie Gary had his $336,000-a-year child-support payments to the mother of his twins lowered to $60,000 after an auditing of her financial records discovered that she used the payments to renovate her home, pay for the education of a child that was not his and, according to the judge, refused to seek employment despite holding a college degree and being in good health.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It isn't immediately obvious to me that there's anything wrong with spending child support money to renovate one's home and pay for education of another child or refusing to seek employment when one is custodian of more than one child, although $60,000 per year is probably enough to support two children. All of those things might yield betterment for the children being supported. The main thing I think should be changed in these child support formulas is to have them max out at 80% time, so obligees don't feel compelled to sue for zero visitation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. You don't find anything wrong with using child support to improve a home or educate another child? Wow!

I am guessing you are a female recipient of child support, or a man who has never had to pay on threat of jail.

In fact, with affirmative action programs giving women priority in employment, and in some age brackets women make more than men, child support is purely Neanderthalic. It portrays the same women described as equal or superior to men, as helpless ninnies who cannot make it on their own.

However, please carry on. Marriage is going away due to programs like this, which in the end liberates men from things like child support.

Anonymous age 71

Anonymous said...

You're wrong on a number of counts. I am a male and I paid child support reliably for many years. Child support isn't about "women" or "age brackets". It's about actual parents whose individual situations might not match any particular averages. And child support has little to do with marriage -- the amount of support would generally be the same whether the parents had ever married or not.

lisa said...

im curious, did your wife ever work?

55% seems high, i have not seen higher except in cases where the courts have determined the parent (often the father) is deliberately underemployed.

child support in most states (possibly all) is higher for married people who divorce. maybe it shouldnt be that way but its administered that way.

let me add that in NY Jail is often a big game of chicken in terms of child support. the guy pays right before he goes to jail or the first night of jail, etc. Its almost always the guy, though that is changing here.

Anonymous said...

That calculation where the dad made $60,000 and the mom made $20,000 wasn't complete. I think the remainder of the story would be that her 25% (custodial parent) share of the income would be $20,000, of which she was making $5,000, so child support would be $15,000. In California, income is considered after taxes, so dad might be making $80,000 to have $60,000 net income (and presumably someone making $20,000 with a dependent child pays zero income tax, except FICA).

As far as I know in California, a formerly married parent would pay exactly the same as an unmarried one. The formerly married one might also have to pay spousal support, though. The length of time to pay spousal support could be less than for child support (short marriage) or for life (long marriage).

Also, "ever work" generally isn't the issue -- "currently earning" usually is. And the amount of child support can be adjusted if there's a change in circumstances.

I really haven't heard of anyone in California going to jail for not paying child support, although they'll garnishee your pay and your bank account. I met one guy who owed $170,000 for child and spousal support and was still paying a lawyer. And I met someone whose children were all grown up and started collecting 25% due to unpaid child support when her ex-husband began getting Social Security.

mitzy said...

Amazing that a man can marry and remarry, procreate any number of childten that he isnt raising,keep working 24/7 never have any money or time for wives or his children. He can divorce and rinse, repeat throughout his lifetime for 3-5 times minimum.

In the end a man could have numerous children by numerous wives...trading them all like chains and shackles holding him back from advancement onto the next one or two or three wives who are all abused and tied down and made into enforced domestic slaves for his enjoyment and carrerr advancement.

He then can find money to hire a high dollar lawyer to claim he cannot afford child support. He is often aided in his wiggling out of his pants. and responsibility by his next set of future victims to his selfish desires. Yet, he refers to all of these nothings as golddiggers. Sickening, really.

Child support, is in MOST cases. is the only thing keeping the state from supporting his selfish folly.

This same tyrant of a baby man is usually too cheap to fix himself by castration vasectomy or put forth the bucks for his wife of the month to have protection from reproduction. Why. Baby man knows a good freebie for self when he gets it. Free sex, free domestic servants and sitters.

Most of his victims were working, would work and are prevented from doing so by baby mans needs to keep them depandant till he changes flavors.

THIS HAPPENS MUCH MORE OUTSIDE THE CELEBRITY WORLD IN REAL LIFE. It just makes the news when the baby man is newsworthy. 65,ooo.oo will not raise two children through to adulthood if you truly count ALL the costs associated with providing for them.

If men are going to be guided by their me, me sex drives and immaturity then dont you think they, not the state, ought to be the one to pay for such?

mitzy said...

Yes, there are men who would gladly give money to a lawyer, who presummably doesn't need it, to children who do. There are far more men that cry unfair, at supporting their own offspring and the financial damage inflicted on their "must be dependant on him" by his say wives and children, than there are moms really making a killing when the rat moves on to family two, three and four.

mitzy said...

Many selfish men are funding a mistress rather than their current wives, children and home and have neglected all three very badly. So wow, you think the income and status you earned by the use of wife one ought to go for a new home for you and wife two and more children while you claim you cannot support first comers. You must be a baby man who wants his widdle toys, since he broke his old ones.

Anonymous said...

I am angry! Still! My daughter is in her 20's now and when she turn 18 was finally able to be in a relationship with me. Her father kept her for me from the time she was 7. We weren't ever a serious relationship, her father and I. But although I had full custody from birth,I never kept him from her. Never went after him through the courts. Took whatever he was willing to give to help raise her, and when she was 7 I went through a terrible moment in my life and felt it was best for her not to be exposed to it. Little did I know at the time that he would ruin the rest of my life by suing me for child support and keeping her from me. Its fifteen years later, and I have other children, but can't have a job without it being under the table, can't have a bank account without California randomly taking my rent and utilities. Can't drive legally. Can't survive and take care of my family no matter how much I pay them monthly, and owe more in interest than I do in support. How is this right, how is this creating anything more than the stereotype of a dead beat parent? How does anyone get out of this hole without winning the lottery?

Anonymous said...

I am a mother who loves her daughter, not a man crying unfair! It isn't about he or she, it's about the system never allowing you to get on your feet. I can never again be a productive member of society, unless I win the lottery and pay off the interest that is over my head. I am college educated, but can't even have my own bank account because the state will take any money's randomly that may be in it, whether I have paid my rent and utilities or not. And I pay the state every month, but they still take. I had just finished college and went through a terrible divorce. Had no income to pay, and now....I owe entirely in interest, that alone is more than I can afford.

Anonymous said...

Just two of Charlie sheens support payments would pay off my debt and allow this mom a chance for a real life.