A Repost of a My Response to Another Commenter’s Post

Below is my re-posted response to another commenter who posted here:

Given my situation has changed considerably since I made that original blog entry in August of 2008, I wanted to point out as I have below, that the State of Ohio as well as its 88 County Child Support Enforcement Agencies will stop at nothing in their quests to “earn” and maximize Ohio’s annual child support collections profit at the ‘expense’ of the best interest of Ohio’s precious children.

Now that I’ve gone from allegedly “having a child support arrears” to being nearly $8,000 overpaid in my “child support” obligation, you’ll see how Ohio stops at nothing to continue confiscating my money in her claims that it’s “in the best interest” of my precious ten year old daughter Maria:
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Jeremy,

As one who has lost everything as a direct result of a “child support” order, I can empathize with what you’ve expressed here.

All three of the homes I once owned went into foreclosure, and what I had left was eventually taken from me as described herein. I was on the verge of homelessness and had explained to my wife at one point that “we’ll probably have to live in a tent in the woods somewhere” after I lost my job through no fault of my own.

I lost the three homes I once owned and immediately went bankrupt after the Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) under the guise of “acting in the best interests of my daughter” began confiscating about $,1200 per month from my net pay for “child support.”

After a lifetime of perfect credit and after having built up an investment portfolio that included three homes and nearly $100,000 in securities, I filed for bankruptcy about four months after I was ordered to pay about $1,2000 per month (cash) in “child support” payments.

After that paycheck “deduction,” I could no longer afford to pay the mortgage on my principal residence. It was therefore foreclosed on, and we were evicted by a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy while we were still trying to pack what was left of our belongings. We had sold much of what we had at yards sales (for pennies on the dollar) just to put food on the table after the Hamilton County Ohio CSEA seized $211 of my $422 per week unemployment check. I was left with about $844/mo to support my family when gasoline was over $4 per gallon.

Many of my daughter’s belongings (including her most sentimental and prized items) were left behind in that house because we HAD to leave shortly after the deputy arrived, or we’d face arrest.

Keep in mind, that this was all in the best interest of my daughter. How do I make that correlation? Easily; the State of Ohio argues that they seized $1,200 per month of my net pay for “child support” because it was “in the best interest” of my daughter Maria that said monies be seized from me, and turned over to her mother to “support her.”

Now given that that very seizure caused me to lose my home and most of my daughter’s possessions, it was obviously in her best interest using the State of Ohio’s “best interest” reasoning, or they never would have set my “child support” order so high that it bankrupted me right?

My freedom was lost; that, right after I was wrongfully incarcerated, strapped into a chair, and then violently beaten by Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputies at the Hamilton County Justice Center after being taken into custody at gunpoint one day on a civil contempt warrant . A warrant that was issued (by the same court that bankrupted me through my child support order) because I couldn’t make a $65/month court ordered (but non-child support related) payment. I couldn’t pay that or much else because they were seizing much of my net monthly income for “child support.”

I couldn’t pay the $65 per month as ordered for the same reason I couldn’t pay my mortgage or pay my utility bills or buy food to put on the table; they were seizing about half of my net monthly income to pay my “child support” obligation. The court’s response to my foreclosure notice that included a demand for the roughly $4,500 that I was behind in my mortgage and being demanded by the bank, as well as the checking account statement that showed I was more than $600 overdrawn? I was sentenced to 60 days incarceration. I presented the aforementioned documents in my own defense at my contempt hearing as evidence of my financial distress while foolishly believing that the court would have leniency. I couldn’t have been more wrong or any more naive.

One afternoon I noticed a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy (standing on my first floor roof) pointing a gun at me. I saw him when I turned to look over my left shoulder after a red dot from his laser scope hit the wall to my right as I was walking down a hall towards my kitchen. He stood on my roof pointing his gun at me through an open window. Not coincidentally, the night before, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s helicopter was hovering directly above my home for a considerable amount of time. Now I know why.

Isn’t that just a little extreme, as well as an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars to go through all of that to arrest a father on a civil contempt warrant because a judge ordered him to 60 days incarceration because he “couldn’t” afford to pay a court ordered $65/month payment related to his divorce? But I digress, as it only gets better, read on.

I lost my job, and through no fault of my own. A former employer terminated me after two plain clothes Deputies from the Hamilton County “Fugitive Warrant Unit” (the same ones who were later on my roof) went to my place of employment to arrest me on that same civil warrant related to this madness. I was later apprehended as previously explained and jailed for being indigent and nothing more.

The absolute madness in all this is that the very same judge that caused me to be indigent when he ordered me to $1,200/mo in “child support” payments, literally caused me to get fired from my job when he signed that “writ of bodily attachment” for my arrest on the aforementioned contempt.

So now I’ve lost my job and my homes and was incarcerated (because I didn’t have the money to pay a non-child support related albeit court ordered expense) due to that same $1,200 per month “child support” order that the Hamilton County CSEA and the State of Ohio says was “in the best interest of my daughter.”

Then, and after that same system that only acts in the best interest of my daughter caused me to get fired from my job, I was awarded $422 per week in unemployment compensation. Shortly thereafter, the Hamilton County CSEA raised my monthly “child support” obligation for an arrears that didn’t exist. They then began seizing $211 of my $422 per week unemployment benefits and left me with a paltry $844 per month to support a family of five.

Just to eat, we regularly went “garbage picking” at night ( I took my daughter with me on the nights I had her) so we’d have more items to sell at our yard sales so we could splurge and buy food. I am not in any way ashamed of that and I would do it again. As a father, I would and will do anything for my wonderful and precious daughter Maria.

Am I trying to be funny in what I’ve explained here? I think perhaps that cynical best describes it. What I went through (and still do) is sheer lunacy and it gets worse. I am overpaid nearly $8,000 in my “child support” obligation and the Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency not only refuses to return my money, they still deduct my “child support” obligation out of my every paycheck.

When I asked why they keep deducting money out of every paycheck instead of ceasing the deductions until my $8,000 overpayment is at zero, you know what they told me? “We can’t do that! We have to keep deducting your support obligation out of your check because there’s an order that says to do so.”

They further explained that “I should contact them again when my daughter is close to eighteen (in about 8 years) so they can “seize” the “child support” payments I’m making to my daughter’s mother and return them to me after my daughter is eighteen. Really? What happens if there’s a change of custody tomorrow, next week or next year? Then I’ll be out the nearly $8,000, end of story.

Don’t laugh, there’s a VERY good reason they do that and it has NOTHING to do with the “court order” as they falsely claim, because they could get that order modified on their own, if they wanted to. But, they choose NOT to and following is why; the reason they’ll make me pay that $8,000 to them again so I can “get it back” is twofold:

1. The Hamilton County CSEA acting on behalf of the Ohio Department of Jobs and “Family Services” (ODJFS) Office of Child Support Administration (OCSA) collects a “poundage fee” on each and every “child support” payment made in Ohio. Today, that amounts to a 4% surcharge that’s added to our “child support” obligation. In eight years, when my daughter is 18, that poundage fee could be 10% or more if Ohio decides to gouge fathers more by raising it, and I expect that they will given their history and their recent failed attempt at raising “child support” on Ohio’s non-custodial parents in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

To explain; multiplying $8,000 by .04% (poundage fee) equals $320 that “I” must pay to the Hamilton County CSEA and thereby, the State of Ohio to get “my” own money back. How do you like that? Talk about racketeering, they make me pay them to get my own money back. Remember, for them to “profit” off of “child support” payments, those monies must pass through the ODJFS OCS CSEAs (Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Office of Child Support, “Child Support Enforcement Agency), hands to “earn” that “profit” known as the “Federal Incentive Match.” And that’s precisely why the CSEA refuses to cease collections until my $8,000 overpayment balance is at $0. If they just stop deducting my “child support” obligation from my paycheck, they’ll lose all of the money as I explain below.

Also, where’s my “statutory interest” on my $8,000? I’d have to pay Ohio’s statutory interest rate on an arrears if I had one, so shouldn’t I get that same statuatory interest on my existing and nearly 2 year old overpayment?  There’s none, zero, no interest for me. Not only must I pay the State of Ohio $320 to get my own money back, they’ll use my money interest free in the process before they give it back to me ONLY after I pay them to give it back. Consider this, lets assume that I could have earned 6% interest (assuming Ohio’s rate is indeed at exactly 6%) compounded annually on that $8,000 over the 10 years that I’ll be out that money, and assuming I ever see it again.

That would put my balance (with said interest) after 10 years (the time I’ll be out that money) at $14,326.78. So not only do I have to pay the CSEA $320 (poundage fee) to get my own money back, I’m losing $6,326.78 that I could have earned in interest. And as I said, I believe that 6% is close to Ohio’s present statutory interest rate.

So for what reason am I being punished? What did I do that was so wrong and is causing me to lose $6,326.78? I overpaid (and not by my choice) my “child support.” If you had any doubts whatsoever about the truthfulness of my claims about Ohio only caring only about the profit it “earns” on “child support” payments, and that “child support” collections has absolutely nothing to do with the “best interest of the children,” then what I’ve explained here should make it crystal clear to you now.

2. The State of Ohio “earns” a profit of about .67 cents on the dollar for “every” child support dollar it collects statewide. That “profit” is known as a “Federal Incentive Match” under Title IV D of the Social Security Act That money is paid by us, the taxpayer, through our social security payroll taxes. That in and of itself is another scam I won’t get into here, but just ask any politician for the account number of the Social Security Trust Fund and you’ll never get an answer because it doesn’t (and has never) exist.

Multiplying $8,000 by .67%, and you get $5,360. That’s $5,360 more in “profit” that Ohio “earns” by charging me to get my $8,000 back without any interest. As I said, the Hamilton County Ohio CSEA refuses to return my nearly $8,000 “child support” overpayment to me because they will “earn” $5,680 ($5,360 + $320) by charging me to get back my own money that was essentially stolen from me. They’ll earn that on “my” money while I’ll simultaneously lose $6,326.78 (as explained) on “my” money. How’s that for equity, fairness, and justice? Also, please note that the money really isn’t what matters to me. It’s the principal of the matter that must be considered.

I’ve lost everything once and learned a very valuable lesson from that; money is here today, and it’s gone tomorrow. So from that perspective, it means nothing to me and isn’t worth worrying about. What does anger me though, is what I could do for my daughter with that. I could buy her a violin (she loves strings), buy her a computer, take her to Disney World, start a college savings account for her etc etc. So ultimately, she suffers as a result, and that’s what angers me.

I sincerely apologize for this lengthy response and for explaining what seems to be the same thing over and over. However, when the State of Ohio and the Hamilton County “Child Support” Enforcement Agency (CSEA; perhaps the Hamilton County Child Support Extortion Agency would be more fitting, the same acronym would still apply?) routinely lies by falsely claiming to only be acting in the “best interest of the children”; and when they proudly and arrogantly decimate the lives of loving fathers like us, I’ll never tire of exposing their lies, hypocrisy, and corruption. They engage in draconian, unconstitutional, and abusive collections efforts whereby they financially, but most importantly,they emotionally destroy the lives of millions of Ohio’s fathers as well those of their precious and innocent children.

It was forced to pick garbage with my daughter so I could have money just to buy food to put on the table; and I was forced to do that because I was financially decimated after they bankrupted me (and thereby my daughter) by the very “child support” order that the State of Ohio and the Hamilton County CSEA clamors was issued because it’s “in the best interest of my daughter.” Really?? How is it in her best interests to sit in my unheated home (no money to pay utility bills, so they’re disconnected) during a brutally cold Ohio winter?

How is it in my daughter’s “best interest” to lose her most cherished and most sentimental possessions because I had to leave them behind in my foreclosed home. A home where a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy was sent to use force if needed to evict us?

How is it in my daughter’s “best interest” to sit in my home wearing a hat, gloves, a coat and while shivering in my unheated Ohio home (I had no money for luxuries like utilities) in winter while asking me through the fog of her breath, “Daddy, why is it always cold over here?”

I’ll tell you how, it’s not in her best interest or any child’s for that matter. What it is in, is Ohio’s best “financial” interest (at the expense of the children) to force such financially unbearably high “child support” orders on fathers. Orders that bankrupt them only so Ohio can “maximize” the profit she “earns” as I’ve described herein. Profits through “poundage fees”, the Federal Incentive Match, and by forcing fathers like me to pay the State of Ohio a fee to have my own money returned to me while they “earn” the interest from the very money stolen from me.

Thanks for reading Jeremy, but most importantly, thanks for taking the time to post your own very valuable story, as it’s those like us who speak out, that will ultimately force the much needed change to Ohio’s very corrupt and morally bankrupted “child support” system. A horrific system whereby the State recklessly destroys the lives of countless innocent Ohio children without any  concern, and only so it maximize its “profit” on its statewide “child support” collections. A profit that’s “earned” at the expense of Ohio’s families.

Lastly, and as you and I both know, there’s a good reason that many fathers who are caught up in this madness don’t just wish for death, but sadly, they take their own precious and valuable lives directly because of it. And you know what? Ohio couldn’t care less that as a result, more Ohio children are left without a father.  Is that who they (such as the Butler County CSEAs Director Cynthia Brown) are speaking of when they contemptuously and hatefully reference “purposefully absent fathers?”

Sincerely,

Tony Fantetti
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights
tony.fantetti(at)ocffr(dot)org

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4 Responses to A Repost of a My Response to Another Commenter’s Post

  1. Kevin Lyons says:

    Tony — some reliable parents in the Cleveland area who, with their childre, have been targeted for abuse by the State of Ohio would like to connect with you. You can email me. My situation, long and complex like yours, produced similar results for my children and me.

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      Kevin,

      I will surely contact you. I started this organization about 3 1/2 years ago, and I can see where great progress has been made. However, and as I’m sure you know, there’s a very long way to go before Ohio’s noncustodial parents (and thereby their children) are treatly equitable, fairly, and justly. I speak in defense of noncustodial moms as well. And I’ve always said, “there’s only one thing that worse than being a noncustodial dad; being a noncustodial mom.” Reason being, NC moms have little support out there.

      All it takes is a team of committed people Kevin. I hope that those parents that you mention are just that. There’s so much more that could be accomplished if only more people-parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc etc, would get involved and join me. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, all promising “that they’re with me until the end.” Sadly, “the end” is usually until they’ve gotten what they needed from me.

      There are a lot of changes coming to the organization and the web sites. Additionally, there are more sites that I intend to bring online, one of them being a forum. That’ll be a place where people can carry on discussions about this madness. Just being able to vent to others who can empathize with what we’re going through can go along way, especially to those who’ve lost all hope and are thinking the unthinkable.

      There are fathers living in homeless camps because they’re fleeing felony arrest warrants. There are also those who are homeless because they simply dared to become fathers. They too deserve a voice.

      I look forward to speaking with you, and thanks for posting. I apologize for how long the site went without updates, but please understand that the few who were assisting me had moved on. Additionally, I too am not immune to the horrific destruction that Ohio’s “child support” system and “family courts” rain down upon the lives of us loving noncustodial parents.

      There are “millions” of us in Ohio. We only need to come together and speak as one to force change. Politicians will ignore us individually because they know they can. What they won’t do is ignore 10’s or 100’s of thousands or a million of “we the people.” Why? It’s simple, we’ll be a voting block that if large enough, they can’t afford to ignore us.

  2. Jenny says:

    Tony,

    Once that child support is paid, you will likely never get it back. My husband has faced similiar issues.

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      Actually Jenny, there is a way to get it back, assuming the court rules in your favor. You can file a motion with the court requesting that the existing “child support” order be modified by “x dollars per week, pay period, or month” in a downward deviation, until the overpayment is at zero.

      For example, file a motion requesting that the current order be lowered $200 per month (with him being credited for that $200) until the overpayment is at zero. Of course one must make a good argument as to why doing so is “equitable and just.” My order has been modified downward by a paltry $100/mo and will be until my overpayment is at $0. And I believe with a mere $100/mo credit, and the last time I checked, it would take nearly 7 years for me to get my money back.

      And as it that weren’t bad enough, there’s this; I have to “pay” the CSEA (“Child Support” Extortion Agency) a 2% poundage fee to get my own money back! So when that’s all said and down, I will have paid the CSEA nearly $700 to have my own money, which was wrongfully taken in the first place, returned to me.

      Sincerely,
      Tony