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Letter to the editor:

The Daily Standard, Celina, OH
Saturday, June 23, 2007

Child support system unfair to Dads
(I would have choosen the title: Child Support system unfair, period.)

Have you ever hit on hard times and experienced the domino effect of a thin wallet.   No where else is this more evident than with overdraft fees at the bank, where only a few cents worth of miscalculation can snowball into a huge deficit of fees and fines.  Add in auto bill pay and you have a real nasty mess on your hands.

PDF of scanned letter
I experienced one of these storms this week, ironically only days after presenting my custody case before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Friends & family donated items they no longer needed and we held a very successful garage sale on Lilac St. last Saturday.  The intention was that the proceeds would assist paying my legal bills leading up to the Supreme Court.

But I have learned, the best laid plans often meet the best laid obstacles.  When I went to make a deposit at Chase bank, I learned that my account was severely overdrawn.  I was dumbfounded.  It ended up that the Child Support Enforcement Agency had frozen my funds and the bank had assessed a fine for the action, leaving me in an immediate overdraft situation.

As other items came in, mostly very small purchases, the fees joined the growing abyss in my account.  Depositing the sales from the fundraiser barley covered the deficit.  So we'll just try another Garage sale next week, this time in Coldwater.  I'm learning, I'll be paying the lawyers in cash this time.

People like to throw around the hateful label of "deadbeat" Dad.  But have any of you ever stopped to think that some of us might just be "dead broke" or "beat dead"  by a combination of coercive public agencies and judicial bigotry. 
Cartoon of child support worker beating a "Dead Broke" horse.
Many atrocities have been committed in our local juvenile & family courts.  The financial burden of child support, the fear of reprisal from judges, and sometimes just plain poor legal advice keep many wronged persons silent even under exasperating circumstances.

When I first sought custody legal advice, 4 years ago, I was appalled at the accepted practices of the courts.

"I have a constitutional right to be a parent to my child."  I pleaded to my first attorney.  

"That may be true," was the advice, "but these judges don't really care about the constitution."

How can a person ever forget a conversation like that?

When you factor in that I am challenging the ruling of a child support director turned Juvenile Judge this whole thing might be comical, that is, if a child's well being weren't hanging in the balance.

For the past 6 months I have been under a permanent license suspension for being $600 behind in child support.  A most illogical enforcement action, considering in this area your car is your gateway to employment or in my case, getting to college.  Yes, I am a full-time college student too.  

The Agencies unwillingness to provide even minimal driving privileges to attend school in Lima, forced me to drop several classes late last quarter without refund.  Seems to me, this is a great waste of your federal tax dollars that are sending me back to school.

These draconian "encouragement" tactics, as the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) so smugly calls them, are supposed to provide "incentive" for me to pay my arrears.  The punishments dolled out by CSEA don't even require a trial, they are their own judge, jury, and executioner.  As free citizens, I would hope someone has a problem with this.

Child support obligors are treated like criminals, for no other reason than for being a parent separated from their children.  It doesn't matter if it wasn't by choice, or if they have always been intimately involved in child rearing.   They are forced to pay a fine, or settlement, based on a one-size-fits-all calculation, under threat of felony imprisonment, for a crime they haven't been proven to have committed.

This might not be such a big deal for me if Judge Zitter hadn't required me to forfeit my parenting time if I choose to work, without placing a similar restriction on the mother.  Since I am a shared parent with 50% visitation every other day, that leaves narrow options.  Not using your parenting time is grounds for loosing it, I choose to give my child what matters most, a genuine DAD, not just a paycheck.  
I'll continue to do so. Until CSEA decides to "help" my daughter by depriving her of a meaningful relationship with her father, and using our limited county jail space to imprison me for "allegedly" failing to support my child.

Paul D. Fisher


Related Links:
Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights - Whats wrong with the Child Support System? - Child Support System is unconstitutional (good must read)

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