This article ran in the Columbus Dispatch on September 25, 2011.
First, I’d like to point out that although Ohio’s new child support statutes are a step in the right direction, they do have a very long way to go before they can be said to be in the best interests of the children. Additionally, the State has an equally long way to go with regard to how terribly they treat good and loving noncustodial parents (NCPs) who want to pay their child support but simply can’t.
Any reasonable and caring person can deduce through simple logic that with Ohio having one of the worst economies in the nation, coupled with the worst national unemployment rates and the highest foreclosure rates since the Great Depression, there are lots of NCPs who are struggling just to put food on the table and maintain a roof over their heads.
Let’s not forget that the very same children for whom a child support order was issued, are those who also visit their loving noncustodial parent (NCP) in those same homes where that parent is simply trying to exist.
And what a sad environment for a child to be introduced to; one where those good and loving NCPs struggle immensely to present some sense of normalcy for their precious children while struggling terribly to put food on the table and a roof over theirs and their child’s head.
So what’s Ohio’s answer to that NCP who lost their job through no fault of their own and thereby fell behind in their financially unbearable child support obligation? And that, along with falling behind on the rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, credit cards, phone, auto payment, medical bills, tuition, health insurance, taxes and everything else they’re obligated to pay? Ohio, and by their own admission, sabotages that NCP’s employment efforts.
But hey, look on the bright side right? And that “bright side” is that Ohio only sabotages an NCP’s employment as a “last resort.” What’s that last resort? Well usually where it hits the NCP the hardest, and when it hurts the most; after they’ve probably lost about everything, have absolutely no income, and need a job more then ever.
Does it ever occur to Ms. Brown or Ms. Newsom Bridges that those NCPs who don’t pay half of their monthly support obligation have absolutely no income, are probably sleeping on a friends or family member’s couch (if they’re “lucky”) or are homeless and can’t pay for anything? Of course it doesn’t. Read on, and you’ll see how Newsom Bridges can’t resist speaking ill of all of Ohio’s NCPs.
When NCPs are driven into joblessness and thereby sometimes homelessness through no fault of their own, does it really make sense for Ohio to punish them for their inability to pay financially crippling amounts of child support? More importantly, how is their homelessness, or incarceration (for failure to pay child support), or Ohio intentionally sabotaging their employment efforts in any way in “the best interests of their children?”
It’s not, plain and simple. But Ohio doesn’t care, as they only care about a profit as I explain in the forthcoming.
The fact is, and what most of the public is unaware of is this; Ohio, as do the other 49 states, all profit immensely off of their annual state wide child support collections. Said profit is paid to them by your Social Security payroll taxes that you pay for your retirement. In 2004 alone, Ohio profited to the the tune of $223,000,000 dollars.
That profit is paid to the states by the Federal Government through what’s known as the “Federal Incentive Match” and is undoubtedly the strongest motivating factor behind Ohio’s highly punitive and very hateful child support collection efforts.
From the link above, it shows in Part (4) INCENTIVE BASE AMOUNT that three of the five (B,C,D) performance measures (these determine Ohio’s annual profit amount) are based on Ohio’s annual collection amounts. Another (A) is based on paternity establishment performance level. And it’s for that reason (paternity establishment) that Ohio knows and doesn’t care that many fathers who are proven (through DNA) not to be a child’s father must pay tens of thousands of dollars in “child support” for children who are known not to be theirs.
That’s not true, you say? Ohio’s CSEAs don’t force a man to pay child support for a child whereby it’s proven through DNA (and known to the CSEAs and courts) that he couldn’t possibly have fathered? Think again! Watch the video in this link, and you’ll see a CSEA attorney arguing just that at between the seven and eight minute mark.
It’s important to understand that the CSEA attorney arguing the State’s case, Kevin R Filiatraut, readily admits that he knows that the man he’s trying to legally extort $46,000 in “child support” from is PROVEN through DNA, to not be the biological father of the child of which he’s said to owe $46,000 in back support for.
That to me is utterly incredible and speaks volumes about Mr. Filiatraut’s lack of morals and character. If that were me in his position, I’d never persecute an innocent man as he so willingly does. If that would mean termination, then so be it. To Mr. Filiatraut; you sir are an evil, vile and immoral wretch in my humble opinion.
And if that doesn’t prove incontrovertibly that Ohio’s incredibly abusive and life destroying child support collection practices are all about Ohio’s best financial interests at the emotional and physical expense of the children involved with a support order, then I don’t know what does.
Reading the article in the link I provided in the first paragraph, either (it’s not clear which one) Kim Newsom Bridges or Susan Brown , Director of the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency says this:
“If an obligor has paid half of their support, we aren’t likely to suspend their license,” she said. “It’s better for us to get some money in the household than none, and to sabotage someone’s effort to do that is a measure of last resort.”
Did you catch that? She (either Brown or Newsom again, it’s not clear who’s saying it) admits in a back-handed manner that Ohio actually sabotages an NCP’s effort to obtain employment! That’s vile, it’s wanton, and and it’s utterly despicable! But of course Ohio would have you believe that it’s in the child’s best interest. Huh???
Now, you may be thinking, “why would Ohio sabotage an NCP’s employment efforts when you claimed in the preceding that three of the five (B,C,D) Federal Incentive Match performance metrics are based on child support collection?”
My answer to that? “D.” Performance metric D is: The arrearage payment performance level. When an NCP is forced into an arrearage situation, especially in this current economic environment, it’s very difficult, especially for a low-income wage earner to ever overcome that arrears. Why? Because of the interest and penalties that the CSEA tacks on.
Additionally, low income parents are without the necessary financial resources to retain counsel and thereby stop Ohio’s CSEAs from withholding incorrect child support amounts from paychecks, over-collecting on existing orders, and collecting from those where no order exist. And hence some of the very foundations of this lawsuit filed against the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS).
It’s a known fact that the majority of unpaid child support is owed by those who can’t pay, and what happens when you don’t pay? Subjective interest compounds over and over. I use the word subjective, because you will owe what Ohio says you owe, period.
Think about it, how in the world does a life-long minimum wage earner end up owing $125,000 or $150,000 in back child support? Interest and penalties that the CSEA adds to their original balance and then compounds regularly.
The result? Those low income wage earners will owe and will be paying on child support for the rest of their lives. In reality, their true arrears was probably $25,000 or possibly less.
Are you starting to see how this all works? Rest assured that if those same low income wage earners ever win the lottery or are left an inheritance or file for tax returns, the State of Ohio will seize all of it and in turn profit off of each and every one of those child support dollars that indigent NCP will most likely be paying for the rest of their lives.
In the mean time, Ohio suspends their licenses (so much for truck drivers, taxi drivers, pizza delivery drivers, school bus drivers, etc working and earning a wage huh?), incarcerates them, forces them into an underground economy, forces them into bankruptcy and homelessness and forces them to live life on the run because they’re tired of being jailed.
So who wins, the children whose NCP (that Ohio has caused to be a “deadbeat”) and who has dropped out of their lives because they’re on the run, or the State of Ohio through their “profits” that they’ll collect on every dollar they manage to seize from that parent for the rest of his or her life?
Ohio of course. And because their best financial interests are, and can only be served, at the emotional (and sometimes physical) expense of some innocent Ohio child who never asked (nor did they have any say) about being thrust into Ohio’s financial wonderland.
So here we have it, a representative of the State of Ohio (either Newsom or Brown) openly admits to the Columbus Dispatch that Ohio in fact sabotages a noncustodial parents employment efforts. Even worse, that’s done at the emotional expense of the children involved.
And if that weren’t perverse enough the article quotes Kim Newsom Bridges as saying,
“But she’s not convinced the changes will help increase child-support collections, which have dropped in recent years.
For instance, if parents know they have to pay only half of their court-ordered support to avoid sanctions, that may be all they pay.”
Instead of taking the high road, Newsom doesn’t seem capable of passing on the opportunity to once again demonize all noncustodial parents with her filthy, wholly unprofessional, and snarky remark,
“…if parents know they have to pay only half of their court-ordered support to avoid sanctions, that may be all they pay.”
Is that so Ms. Bridges? How dare you insult Ohio’s more than 900,000 noncustodial parents! Most of whom like myself are very loving parents, and never asked to be kicked out of our children’s lives. Additionally, we are then forced under constant threats of arrest and incarceration to finance the fleecing of our children so that you, in your position at the Ohio CSEA Director’s Association (OCDA) can in turn maximize the State of Ohio’s financial “profit” at the emotional and physical expense of our innocent children.
Your behavior and highly unprofessional words are completely unwarranted, yet wholly expected and par for the course Ms. Newsom Bridges. For years, agencies under your direction have repeatedly publicly insulted good and loving noncustodial parents. They’ve called us “deadbeats”, referred to us as “turnips” in your “getting blood from a turnip” campaign run at the Ohio CSEA Director’s Association (OCDA). An agency, where under your direction, Ohio’s very hateful and highly abusive child support collection practices are honed and refined at the expense of our children. Is that not so?
Additionally, there are many NCPs like myself who are overpaid thousands of dollars in child support. Where’s our money, and why do those like me have to keep paying child support each and every month, and despite the nearly $8,000 I was overpaid at one point?
I’ll tell you why Ms. Bridges, so your agency can maximize Ohio’s annual Federal Incentive Match at my daughter’s expense right? Those child support debits just keep coming and coming, each and every month, and despite my approximate $6,000 current over-payment Why? Only so that those monies can be used enhance Ohio’s profit from B and C found here right?
And as if that weren’t immoral enough, I must pay the State of Ohio a 2% “processing fee” ($160) to get my own money back due to what was once a nearly $8,000 overpayment. And will I be paid interest on those monies that I’ll have been without for nearly eight years? Of course not. At 4% interest, I should have at least been paid
$1,500 for the use of my money?
Why must I pay a processing fee to get my own money back? So that my monies can further enhance B and C as explained, but additionally, so I’ll have to pay Ohio’s 2% poundage fee twice to the CSEA, once when I made the overpayment, and a second time when my overpayment is returned to me. And that is a fact isn’t it Ms. Bridges? Whose “best interest” is that in again Ms. Bridges?
Finally, lets not forget how the State of Ohio collects its Federal Incentive Match twice on my over-payment; The first time by collecting the overpaid monies, and the second time my forcing myself (and thousands of others I suspect) to keep paying “child support.” And that, even with a current over-payment on the books (in which case Ohio goes to great lengths to hide from the Obligor, hence another reason the recent class action suit was filed) so that the CSEA can collect our “child support” payments a second time, and then pay those very same monies back to us.
That way, the money passes through the CSEA’s filthy hands twice, (so they can in turn boost their B,C and D performance metrics as explained) and collect a 2% “poundage fee” so that those with over-payments can have their own money back.
I have only one more question for you in closing Ms. Newsom Bridges. How is what I just described, those very actions by Ohio’s 88 Child Support Enforcement (or should that be Extortion?) Agency, (CSEA) not considered criminal fraud and racketeering, is it not so because it’s done under a very dark color of law?
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights