The pleas we receive for help are incessant. The voice mails fill up all available memory, the emails requesting assistance are endless. Some cries for help entail pages of very disturbing and intimate details about the person’s situation; Others are very matter-of-fact and very simple, such as this request for help we received today:
“My husband is a victim of the child support system. He was homeless when I met him. He has been jailed and is being treated as a criminal for not being able to pay support.”
Of all the emails I’ve read, and of all the crying I’ve listened to in voice mails and telephone conversations, what you just read is the most powerful of anything I’ve ever seen or heard.
It’s simple, it’s short, but it’s an absolutely perfect descriptor of what the state of Ohio does to a child’s father who can no longer pay an outrageously high child support order, and through no fault of his own. An order whereby it was never shown he even had the ability to pay it to begin with.
Ohio abuses, mistreats and criminalizes all fathers who have fallen behind in their child support payments, regardless of their reasons for not being able to pay.
I know Ohio fathers who have had heart attacks, suffered from cancer, broke their necks, were in nursing homes because of strokes and had suffered from other misfortune; Yet, the State of Ohio seized their assets, their bank accounts, put liens on their property and jailed some of them. Even worse is that some of these fathers we re-indicted under more serious felony non-support charges for refusing to pay their child support during their incarceration. Under existing Ohio statutes, incarceration is considered “voluntary underemployment,” therefore you must continue paying your child support after Ohio jailed you for not being able to pay it to begin with!
The most sickening instance of abuse that I’ve seen is the Dayton Ohio father who was convicted of felony criminal non-support of a minor child. He was incarcerated for more than eighteen months for failing to pay support on his deceased daughter, not once, but twice! Twice, Ohio’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) indicted this father for failing to support his deceased daughter!
You don’t believe that either? Outrageous and impossible you say? Not at all, when you understand how Ohio’s CSEA’a operate. Keep in mind that the CSEA’s are tasked with maximizing Ohio’s share of the “Federal Incentive-Match Pie” that’s funded through our social security tax dollars (if only the leaders of the AARP read our blog.) More information about the “Federal Incentive Match” can be found by visiting this link, as well as this one at our sister-site http://www.ohiofathersrights.com.
For those who don’t can’t afford to retain an attorney so as to file a motion requesting a downward deviation in child support after a loss of job, loss of income, heart-attack, hospitalization, cancer, death of child; and for those who do not understand law well enough to file said motion Pro Se, may God help you. Either you continue paying your outdated child support order amount until the child turns eighteen (or twenty-one), or you go to jail. For some, this may mean paying $100,000 or more in unwarranted child support. Support they wouldn’t otherwise have to pay if they could only afford to retain an attorney so as to request a reduction in their “current” support order.
When you fall behind in your child support order because it’s outdated and no longer applicable, there exist no “net” for you. There is no one to help you free of charge. The CSEA will represent the Obligee of your order and appoint them an attorney, if you can’t afford private counsel, there will be no one to defend you. There will only be those to persecute you for being a “deadbeat.”
What a disgusting state we live in, when Ohio’s relentless quest for its hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profits (a profit that’s reaped from Title-IV Social Security-funded matching federal incentive dollars for merely collecting child-support payments) actually drives Ohio fathers into homelessness, bankruptcy and even suicide.
Most sickening of it all, is the fact that Ohio continuously lies to the public in claiming that their aggressive child support collection efforts are only done out of “the best interests of Ohio’s children.” It’s in the best interests of children when their fathers live under overpasses or in the homeless camps that line the banks of the Ohio river?
How do I know that what this person (at the top of this post) claims is true? It’s simple. I too was forced into bankruptcy and lost my home for the same reason. I have less than two weeks to remove what’s left of my belongings from “my home” before the sheriff’s department throws what’s left of my belongings to the curb. I must also find a place to live.
My house was foreclosed on and finally sold at the sheriff’s sale (at auction) two weeks ago after I lost my job, and coincidentally, because of the system itself. We have been holding yard sales to keep the utilities on and to put food on the table. Sales where we’ve sold valuable possessions for pennies on the dollar.
I lost my job and had my career destroyed by the system itself. I was unemployed through no fault of my own. I was approved to receive $422/wk in unemployment compensation. At the time of my job loss, my child support order was set at $900 per month despite me being fortunate enough to have my wonderful daughter exactly 50% of the time.
Despite going without heat during the winter and being left with $211 per week to support a family of five (this after the Hamilton County CSEA seizes exactly half of my $422 weekly unemployment check) and not being able to afford medications, doctor visits and more, my family is refused any type of assistance. Why? Because I am allegedly in arrears with my child support payments.
Immediately following the approval of my unemployment compensation of $422/wk, the Hamilton County CSEA raised my support order to $1080/month, so as to collect on my “arrears.” An arrears that does not exist. After seizing over $4200 of my current wife’s tax refunds to satisfy my “arrears”, they refuse to credit me for the monies. Why? They have an internal policy that dictates that I cannot be credited for the tax refunds and rebates that were seized until after six months have passed.
That said, they continue to penalize me and have since attached a lien to all of my “assets” in the state of Ohio for an arrears that doesn’t exist. They can and may indict me for felony criminal non-support. Despite my having letters from the United States Department of the Treasury stating that our tax refund and rebate monies were seized and turned over to the Hamilton County CSEA, the Hamilton County CSEA maintains they only seized $2200, despite $4200 being taken.
It’s bad enough that the Hamilton County CSEA seized my current wife’s tax rebate/return, it’s worse that they lie about doing so. This is precisely why there are so many innocent Ohio fathers such as Dave Rose who have been convicted of criminal felony non-support and sent to prison. Ohio’s CSEA’s routinely seize funds and then deny doing so. Moreover, they regularly make “bookkeeping-errors” that cause innocent fathers to be incarcerated.
The lies must stop. The State of Ohio is prostituting Ohio’s children through statewide child support orders, and is driving fathers into bankruptcy, to suicide and incarcerating them for a sum of money known as a profit.
To date, the State of Ohio has quite possibly profited more than $2 billion by destroying the lives of Ohio’s fathers through outrageously high child support orders. In doing so, they are destroying the lives of Ohio’s children as well.
There’s an old saying that explains everything.
To Cynthia Brown, the Director of the Butler County Child Support Agency, you were quoted by a Cincinnati Reporter as saying, “Fathers are purposely absent from their children.” I have a question for you Ms. Brown, was the homeless father whose wife petitioned me for help at the beginning of this article purposefully absent after your agency caused him to be homeless? It appears to me that your agency purposely made him absent after it drove him into homelessness.
Ms. Brown, are those innocent fathers that your office and my own brother (under your direction) prosecute in Butler County Ohio, and therefore cause to be incarcerated, purposely absent from their children during their incarceration? After all Ms. Brown, as you are well aware, the child of any fathers who are incarcerated in the State of Ohio for non-payment of child support are prohibited by law from visiting their own fathers in prison. Yet your agency maintains that’s in the best interest of the child?