Testimony to the Massachusetts Trial Court Child Support Guidelines Task Force
Fathers-4-Justice, USA, CPF/The Fatherhood Coalition
February 15, 2007
Dan Grubbs submitted written statement
Dan Grubbs spoken testimony at Boston session
The Massachusetts Child Support Guideline is driven by a
flawed premise; everyone is harmed in divorce and family breakup. The relevant
question addressed by the state should be:
* To what degree can the state minimize the harm to the family in the first instance, and in the duration of, parents equally raising the parents' (not the state's) children?
The guiding principle should be to encourage both households to increase their income, and the sooner the better. The Guideline does exactly the opposite: It encourages both parties to minimize their income.
It encourages the custodial parent (CP) to keep her income under $20,000—so that she will gain the maximum award from the non-custodial parent (NCP).
It discourages NCP's from working in several ways. By establishing levels of support (as percentages of income) so high that, for other than the upper middle-class and wealthy, a NCP cannot provide a minimum standard of living for himself—let alone a minimum standard of living for the children when they are in his care. Furthermore, it actually discourages the NCP from working more—perhaps in overtime if available or by taking a second job—by not specifically excluding such extra income from further raising his child support.
Also, since judges have so much discretion, they can and do, especially for self-employed, impute income and there are no simple mechanisms to adjust support 'awards'.
I The Guideline says in its introduction:
"In establishing these guidelines, due consideration has been given to the following principles:....3. To provide the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the family been intact;. . ."
This statement, which serves to establish the fundamental purpose of the Guideline, creates an absurdity: two households from the same income as one, and one of the households have no change in the standard of living.
The Guideline addresses the need for the NCP to increase his income with the following:
“B. In individual cases, the court may choose to disregard overtime income or income derived from a second job. However, consideration of such income may be appropriate in certain instances such as those where such income constituted a regular source of income when the family was intact.”
The Guideline should specifically encourage both parties to increase their income, for the benefit of all. The Guideline should explicitly contain an income “disregard” statement for child support considerations of extra income when the NCP chooses to increase their income by working more.
II. Child support awards are to ensure that both parents provide for the children:
“2. To encourage joint parental responsibility for child support in proportion to, or as a percentage of income;”
Yet $20,000 of CP income is “disregarded,” when computing her portion, in recognition that "in many instances, to maintain a domicile and a reasonable standard of living for the minor children, the custodial parent will choose to work."
The NCP also requires a minimum standard of living—especially since he has to also provide housing for the children regardless of how much “parenting time” he has.
The child support award is intended to provide for the children's needs. To further establish a need for a “reasonable standard of living” is double-dipping. If the CP requires a minimum standard of living, so does the NCP. The CP income disregard is a blatant example of the real purpose of child support: to transfer wealth from men to women – i.e., “politically correct alimony.”
III. CHILD SUPPORT DOES NOT FOLLOW THE CHILDREN—further proof that it is not “about the children,” but about empowering women at the expense of men and encouraging the breakup of families.
i. There is no mechanism for accounting how child support is spent.
ii. There is no adjusting for child support based on the amount of time the children spend with the noncustodial parent
iii. EVEN WHEN FATHERS GAIN PHYSICAL CUSTODY OF THEIR CHILDREN, THEY RARELY RECEIVE CHILD SUPPORT FROM MOM. When mom has custody, judges automatically assign child support and pay no mind to any mitigating circumstances dad may be facing.
iv. The state has a minimum "child support" figure it uses, say, in the Foster Care Program, which is presumed to be the minimum amount to care for a child. Yet the guidelines, scaled by income, do not presume a minimum amount but instead use an involuntary tax methodology "income shares" based on the Bolshevik-inspired "Wisconsin Model".
THEREFORE, since child support is NOT about the children, what is it REALLY about?
Whose interest is served by the state establishing a regime whereby women are encouraged to throw away the fathers of their children?
How much federal title IV-D incentive grants does the state receive to manufacture a second class of citizens called non-custodials?
What are the hidden costs to society of fatherlessness caused by government forcing, not by parents volunteering, out of their children's lives?
These are the questions that really need to be asked, discussed, and debated. This is where any discussion on “child support” should begin.
George Mason, Cassie's and Luke's Father, 508.735.6615, Fathers-4-Justice-US-MA Info http://www.f4j.com/index.php?id=ma&type=1 https://shop.fathers-4-justice.us/membership.html 501(c)(3), 100% volunteer