Thanks for Your Service, Now Go Directly to Jail

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When people learn about the Kafkaesque nightmare that confronts people (including, on occasion, women) who are falsely accused of fathering children they've never met, the usual response is "That can't be true!" Many of the illiberal provisions also do damage to the correctly named fathers as well, though who the hell wants to lift a finger for Deadbeat Dads? Well, maybe when people see how it's affecting American soldiers, they'll give the issue at least a second thought.

Reservists' child-support orders were based on their civilian wages, and when they are called up to active duty, that burden doesn't decrease. Few can get court modification before they leave, modifications are seldom granted anyway, and even if a father applied for modification before deployment the debt continues to grow until the case is decided much later.

These servicemen fathers cannot get relief when they return because federal law forbids a court to reduce the debt retroactively. Once the arrearage reaches $5,000, the father becomes a felon subject to imprisonment plus the loss of his driver's and professional licenses and passport.

More horror stories here. (Link via Radley Balko.)

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  1. Good to see what’s now called the civil rights movement of our era finally breaking through. Family court, custody practices, and the massive divorce industry are the real attack on the family, Mr. and Mrs. Bush. Perhaps you could ask Maggie Gallagher to take part of DHHS’ $6,500,000,000 budget and also connect THOSE dots.

    Radical gender feminism may be dying a deserved death but the various special interests feeding on the remains of millions of families are keeping it on life support.

  2. Would this be a way for soldiers to get out of combat? Who gets the job of going to Iraq to arrest them?

  3. They just wait until you come home.

  4. Well Morat, you can’t find any evidence of the taint of MacKinnon’s ideas. Here’s some. Of course, if you don’t think it’s a taint (cuz this is the morally correct point on the compass) you can’t see it.

    Good point, NV Dad.

  5. people (including, on occasion, women) who are falsely accused of fathering children they’ve never met

    Wait, women? Can you point us to any examples? More importantly, can you tell us whether these women were actually stuck paying child support? I remember from your article that men who don’t contest the order within 30 days or something like that can be stuck paying child support even if the DNA test comes back in their favor.

    Would they be so dumb as to do the same to women? “Look, we know you’re not the father, but the law says that if you don’t contest it in accordance with these procedures then you pay child support.”

  6. Just to be on the safe side, I will no longer have sex.

  7. Thoreau:

    I’d suspect something along the lines of a woman with a name that could be used by a man. I’ve certainly seen jokes about that sort of scenario.

  8. thoreau — Couldn’t find a link after a quick search, but I’ve received e-mails about two different cases where women with androgynous names (like “Terry”) were named as fathers by default, and had to fly across country (in the one case I remember) to show up in court & get a stay put on the order or whatever. Remember, there is no proof of service required in many states, including California, and the system is set up so that you are guilty if you don’t insist that you’re innocent within 30 days of being allegedly served.

  9. Twba,

    I’d be thankful if your real name was Dennis Hastert.

  10. Matt,

    We’re at the point in our societal evolution- the heck with that; with our RUIN of this constitutional republic, that proving innocence is not only law, it’s common law, as in it happens ALL the time and nobody bats an eye.

    In my lovely hometown not picking up doog poop costs 6 months in jail. I’m not talking about THAT pendulum swing. I’m talking about how four states have just now made it law that — get this — men MAY now prove they’re NOT dad in order to escape default child support settlements previously imposed by the judiciary without the slightest proof or even due process.

    Further, Utah just now likewise just made it law that the feds can’t make mental health testing (by their psych drug cronies, natch) a condition of public education.

    Just to keep things even, Georgia has introduced legislation allowing for a private affadavit — that is, ex parte — to remove a parent from the home on the basis of an allegation of domestic violence…which naturally means a default judgement for primary custody to the complainant. Nice.

    Didn’t they do this in Nazi Germany too? Just point out the fascist-protesting perp and off they go. What do you mean, due process? Presumption of innocence?

    Sheesh. We need laws now making it possible to be free. Or to just LOOK at the Constitution.

    This is what we’ve come to. Yeah, this place resembles the old USSR more than the US.

  11. How has someone not challenged automatic guilt cases as unconstitutional? Kinda hard to see how they pass the smell test.

  12. Mo,

    My guess is that it’s mostly poor people who can’t afford lawyers and don’t know what the Constitution is about who are the ones charged with these “crimes.” Man, maybe gaius marius is right. This sucks.

  13. NV Dad,

    Point well taken. The “assumption of guilt” standard you’re talking about happens on smaller, mildly annoying levels, too. For example, two days ago I got a $25 parking ticket for “partially blocking a driveway” on a city street, which my car was NOT doing. If you wish to contend your traffic ticket, though, you need to furnish hard evidence of your innocence, which I could not easily obtain at the time (since I don’t own a camera phone, and I’d have to drive to my home to get my camera, thereby ruining my evidence). If you cannot prove your innocence, you are presumed guilty. If you do not pay the ticket, you face a warrant, extra fines, etc…total bullshit, especially coming from a city that blatantly makes its daily cash flow from questionable traffic stops on a quota-based system. Granted, the penalty I’m complaining about is not on the same scale as child support payments, but the same principle is there: Guilty until proven innocent.

  14. There’s some poverty stat in my piece (too lazy to check) … but basically more than half of all California recipients of default orders declaring them the father live below the poverty line. They are disproportionately poor, non-white, and criminal.

  15. Why aren’t the Dems and other poor-folk advocates all over this?

  16. Twba,

    I don’t think it would matter. You don’t even have to have met the person whom you alledgedly have a child with. You just need the right(wrong) name.

  17. Lowdog — Because feminists have more influence on Family Law (and the Democratic Party) than father’s rights types do. Also, because poor people don’t contribute to political campaigns, and who the hell wants to stick up for Deadbeat Dads? Politically, about the only people who seem to give a crap about this are a handful of inner-city politicians, and some rural Republicans.

  18. Lowdog-

    Well, in a contest between poor men and poor women, the poor men have one factor going for them in winning Dem sympathies but the poor women have 2 factors going for them. So the guys are out of luck on this one.

  19. Smacky,

    I alledgedly got a parking ticket in a city I hadn’t been to in months on a car that was in my parents driveway with engine problems. At the time I was borrowing my father’s car to get to and from work. I only found out after I got a summons in the mail to pay the ticket, which had tripled by that time.

    I sent a letter to the city of Hartford after trying to reach the collection office for days. No response yet.

  20. Not to mention that, while most of the men facing these orders are poor, it’s hard to tell how many men are wrongly accused and what their demographic breakdown is. The error rate may be quite small and therefore lead to a fairly small constituency for reform. What’s inexcusable is that there’s almost no way to correct the errors.

    Besides, any measure that makes it easier to correct errors will be perceived as making it easier for fathers to avoid responsibility for their kids.

  21. thoreau,

    In Southern newspapers its common to see “deadbeat father” exposes and the like. Some of these have named men who are in fact not “deadbeat fathers” – either because they are current on their payments or they aren’t fathers at all.

    At the same time I know police officers who are clearly “deadbeat fathers” who their fellow officers won’t arrest.

  22. Quoting: “Reservists’ child-support orders were based on their civilian wages, and when they are called up to active duty, that burden doesn’t decrease.”

    Well, why should it? It doesn’t decrease here in the real world. Kids still need to eat, etc, despite what you want to do in your choice of career. Say you are a married father and get called up. Why should the kids suffer just because you are in the reserves. It seems unfair for kids being supported to have to pay for the choice of the father’s employment. there are millions of people that choose to take jobs they don’t love so they can support their children.

    So I don’t think this is a married/single or even a child support issue. It’s personal responsibility: don’t have kids unless you are willing to support them.

  23. What would really suck is if they find a case of a female reservist named Pat, Christ, or Terry, who can’t get out of her payments but can’t afford them while on military pay.

  24. asparagus,

    I understand your P.O.V. and it makes sense.

    Nevertheless, there is some injustice in calling someone up for duty, thereby decreasing their wages, and then nailing them with a felony charge upon return.

  25. Speaking of injustices, over lunch I realized that my workplace cafeteria inflated my chicken salad with rice and pasta bits. Either they are underhandedly cheap, or there is a conspiracy afoot to make me a fat off-topic whiner. What sort of cruel hoax!?…..

  26. Asparagus-
    If the reservists were still married then their kids would have to make do with less money; why should the children of divorced parents be any different?

  27. It seems unfair for kids being supported to have to pay for the choice of the father’s employment.

    You can join us in the real world at your convenience, asparagus. Every child “pays for” their father’s choice of jobs. Why, I am permanently scarred because my father didn’t choose to be a billionaire with a bad heart.

  28. If the reservists were still married then their kids would have to make do with less money; why should the children of divorced parents be any different

    Aren’t families of married reservists entitled to health and welfare benefits that divorced families with a stipulated support agreement are not?

    Regardless, if a reservist stops making house payments because he can’t afford them any more, the morgtage company isn’t expected to say, “Never mind.” The mortgage is still owed and the house is subject to foreclosure if there’s no payment.

    If he stops making car payments the finance company isn’t expected to say, “Never mind.” The car loan is still owed and the car is subject to repossession if there’s no payment.

    And if he stops making child support payments, his kids shouldn’t be expected to say “Never mind,” either. The support payments are still owed, and the Deadbeat Dads — even if he’s deadbeat by way of reserve service — are subject to being jailed if there’s no payment.

    I’m with asparagus on this one…

    Side note: This applies only to real fathers. False patertnity allegations are a separate matter.

  29. “Gee, dad; would it have killed you to be a rock star so we could live large?” –Wiley

  30. Funny Schafley doesn’t give one concrete example of a reservist dad subject to imprisonment, the purported topic of the column.

  31. Sounds like another good reason not to ever sign a contract with the government.

  32. Why was Bill Clinton never snared by one of these child support orders?

  33. “Kids still need to eat…”

    Yes, they certainly do. Which is why their divorced mothers should get off their whining, Oprah-watching asses and go get jobs.

  34. Oh, Phyllis seems to have done a poor job with the facts in her column. I’m guessing that she took her line about 28 jailed in Wilkes-Barre from this notice, which has 28 people listed, but only seven were sentenced to jail; the rest have warrants issued against them for nonpayment of child support. And seven of them are women.

  35. Asparagas and Mark miss the point but skim low over the conventional wisdom of child support. That’s fine but that’s also woefully incomplete.

    Fact is that government “reformed” welfare and turned around and placed the cash burden on the States via District Attorney’s nice tidy little for-profit child support industries.

    Yep; $0.60 of every dollar collected by whatever draconian means local govts can think of in the name of “support” is kicked back. Get this: Your own state’s AG will flatly tell you it’s a industry contracted to DA’s by the governor and that it operates without legal check or balance.

    Kinda like cops making up their own laws; are we comfortable with that?

    Fact is also that child support distribution is NOT tied to supporting children in any way, shape, or form, so assumptions that need is somehow realiably tied to the Washington support industry are just that.

    Fact is that child support calculations are about as logical as, well, anything government does with a dollar bill? Should support be free from government corruption and incompetence just because it’s “support”? I think not.

    Fact is that child custody is awarded to men 1/7 as often as women…and child support statistics natirally mirror this fact. My point? That radical gender feminist lobby discrimination is, as Matt points out, at the root of this too, and such is illegal.

    Meanwhile we all hate “deadbeat dads”…even when about half are in actuality deadBOLTED dads, literally thrown out of their own children’s lives without any recourse whatsoever. Kinda makes Washington’s various pro-fatherhood campaigns ring all hollow, no?

    Fact is that fathers are jailed for “support” (legitimate of alleged), lose licenses (making it impossible to work for The Man in the parent’s rights gulag that is America) and so forth. Wasn’t debtor’s prison outlawed about 200 years ago?

    Fact is no-fault has raised divorce by 25%. Fact is bad parents game the system with en epidemic of false protection orders…that result in immediate confiscation of the losing parent’s entire estate and up to 200% of his or her wage in “support.”

    And on and on.

    Bottom line is that this is an industry that bilks billions, ruins lives (we lose 15,000 disenfranchised dads a year to suicide) and absolutely flies in the face of the Constitution.

    You can assume child support consistently and reliably supports children but nothing of the sort is going on out here…

  36. Mark and Asparagus-
    I’m not saying a father with reduced income should be freed of ALL child-support payments, just that he shouldn’t be expected to pay the same amount as when his income was two or three times the size. Incidentally, your comparison with missed mortgage or car payments doesn’t hold; if you skip your mortgage payments you’ll lose your house, but you won’t be put in jail.

    I do agree, however, that people shouldn’t have kids if they can’t afford to support them, but unless my biology teachers lied to me, making a baby is not a male-only business; there has to be a woman involved, too.

  37. “Well, why should it? It doesn’t decrease here in the real world. Kids still need to eat, etc, despite what you want to do in your choice of career.”

    I would agree with this if the initial child support burden was based exclusively on the needs of the child, but it’s not. If the child support burden is based on the father’s ability to pay, it’s only fair to change the burden when the ability to pay changes.

  38. Xavier,

    It is based on the father/mother’s ability to pay. His/her ability to pay if he/she works full time and at the the greatest potential for a wage he/she shown thus far. If it can be proved that you once made 100k a year at a job you no longer feel capable of doing, you’d be well advised not to mention it at the custody hearing.
    Family court judges will not give a person a reduction from child support to go to college, even though that time in school might leave that parent better able to provide for their offspring in the future. This line of thinking goes right along with not reducing pay for serving in the military. In the court’s eyes,You have no right to reduce your pay for any reason once you become a parent.

  39. Asparagus,

    Kids still need to eat, etc

    Yep, they do. And if there were laws that compelled the parent receiving the payment to actually spend it on the child, I might agree with you.
    However, I was the child of a woman who regularly spent that money on pot or booze, then said “We’ll just have to tighten our belts this month.”, when the food ran low. A situation which was by no means out of the ordinary in the neighborhood.

    I’m not fond of either of my deadbeat parents, but I do think it is unfair that my father’s life is still being ruined by a couple years of missed child support, when he was down on his luck, when I know I wouldn’t have seen a dime of it anyway.

  40. all of this has to be analyzed in the context of abortion rights: women have them and men don’t

  41. Another topic for discussion just occurred to me. I also know for a fact that in my state (VA) any subsequent children you have (or “acquire” – in keeping with the article) cannot be used as a factor for reducing your child support. Are there any stories of people getting hit with multiple cases of this kind of thing? That could seriously ruin a guy.
    Moral of the story = keep it in your pants and always have $3k ready to put down a retainer. Words I have lived by since my divorce, and I RECEIVE child support.

  42. Keep in mind that child support payments aren’t actually going to the child. Even worse, if I’m not mistaken, they often aren’t even going to the mother. If she’s receiving government aid to help her take care of her child, then the father’s payments are going to the government to reimburse it for the aid. Only a small portion of the payment makes it through to the child. A father who skips his official payments but sends $100 cash once a month may be taking better care of his child than a father who makes all the payments.

    I’m not saying that most deadbeat dads are really angels trying to give money to their kids rather than the government. But having the government take most of their child support payment for itself has got to be a powerful incentive to do the wrong thing.

  43. Men who don’t want to be fathers can get a vasectomy. Those are the breaks of biology.

  44. Mark,
    I hear what you are saying and will add that any payments made directly to the child/parent from a paying parent do not count unless the payment goes through Child Support Services. Just mention any money you might have given directly at a court hearing and see how far it gets you. So even if you admit to being responsible for the child and want to do your part, you are obligated to go through the government to do so.

  45. Monty Python time:

    Look, even though men can’t actually have abortions, they should still have the right to have abortions!

  46. Serafina,
    I agree with you in principle. But there are exceptions there as well.
    My ex-wife had no interest in raising the child we created. So I do it and, despite her constant consternation, she pays a small amount of CS.
    She could get her tubes tied, of course, but she has used her incredibly fertile nature to make herself a few bucks and give the chance of conception to some people who are willing to pay a lot of money for a chance to do so (through egg donation). It would seem a bit of a shame for her to have wasted all those eggs when they are so valuable. I’m also quite glad to have the kid.

    Of course, I’m totally off topic at this point.

  47. Jennifer, note your use of “father” as the default. It’s subtle and I know you don’t mean sexism by it, but also realize that such may not be the case in state’s legislatures and in Congress in DC. There the language is blatantly opposed to fathers and mothers being EVER treated as equal. The very bills are now worded with father-pays/mother-receives language, and this is pursuant with the child support system flowing from Washington. So much for gender equality in these our enlightened times.

    Go back and read my point about this being a full-on industry mandated by Washington. That’s unconstitutional, defies state’s rights, ruins federalism, and flat doesn’t work. Under this plan we are subjects, plain and simple. Welfare, domestic violence legislation and child support collections are now all part of the same system. Would we be wise to expect fairness from that federal debacle?

    Stir in no penalty for perjury, no penalty for false allegations of DV, mandatory arrest on DV calls regardless of their legitimacy, no presumption of innocence, enormous gender bias, no respect for personal rights, and you have a system paved with gold for those who would abuse it. And abuse it they do.

    Xavier, you are entirely right: Ability to pay is at least the ostensible foundation of support, and so it should be given the epidemic abuse of the means to gain support in the first place, a procedure with absolutely no logic or justice in enormous numbers of cases. In other words, getting shared parenting is the challenge far more than managing incorrect or corrupt support amount rulings post custody settlement is.

    Ironically, support calculations are fairly on the mark; it’s the preceding custody dictates that are not. And then comes debtor’s prison, utter ruin of personal rights for single parents, kids-for-money (read: Detroit) and the entire mess family court loves so dearly.

    Look, this is really a federalized made-legal kid relocation scheme that just following the money trail will reveal in all it’s splendor.

  48. NV-

    Good point. Change my word “father” to “non-custodial parent.”

  49. And change all gender-specific pronouns as needed.

  50. Have you considered a run for office, Jennifer? Would that such fairness would ever penetrate the halls of power…

  51. Know what the difference between no-fault car insurance and no-fault divorce with children is?

    Car accidents have nothing but downside for all parties.

  52. In Ca the kid’s yours if you’re married regardless of DNA. Nice touch, eh?

    And speaking of chicks, I have a client who was forced to pay child support to her ex husband in another state who OWED her almost 30 grand in back support. Our own DA threatened to prosecute her if she didn’t pay after her 16 year old son decided to go live with dad.

    I could fill this page with horror stories….but the point is that the Boo Sheet sometimes swings both ways.

  53. NV Dad-

    If I ran for office my campaign would last all of five minutes before my opponents dragged out various things from my past. I had WAY too much fun to ever be a politician.

  54. NV Dad:

    Your passion and level of detail suggest personal experience. True? If so, as a reference point can you give us some general sense of your specific situation: Were you hit with a child support payment you think was too high? If so what was the amount and what do you think would have been more fair? Were you denied partial custody or visitation? Do you believe that custody/visitation should be linked to the amount of child support ordered? etc…

    Not trying to invade your privacy — I don’t care who you are in that context. I’m just looking for a frame of reference that helps frame the discussion around a real example…

  55. Men who don’t want to be fathers can get a vasectomy. Those are the breaks of biology.

    In precisely the same spirit, women who don’t want to be mothers can get a tubal ligation.

  56. Eric-
    Actually, that’s usually not true; women aren’t allowed to be sterilized unless they’ve already had a certain number of kids. Evil but true. Goddam paternalistic government.

  57. Thanks Terry. Roughly half of my ire comes from my personal experience and the other 90% comes from my libertarian leanings.

    I can’t discuss my situation except to say that incompetence and corruption don’t begin to describe what’s going on. If you can imagine it, it’s probably already happened to single parents and their kids.

    Think intentional ruin by lawyers. Conspiracies to destroy parenting by corrupt parents and social aid. Epidemic false TPO applications. Feminist domestic violence hysteria based on bad numbers. Incompetent psychological industry hangers-on. Inescapable expense. Violations of custody that span entire childhoods. Parental suicide across the nation. Zero regard for legal procedure in family court. Zero regard for personal rights (this despite scores of Supreme Court rulings clearly defining parenting as a fundamental right.) Willful disregard for the Constitution. Debtor’s prison. Federal kickbacks. No local check and balance. Bad lobbies. Kids being doped. Kids being kidnapped.

    I’ve experience fully half of these occurances in the last decade.

    It simply knows few bounds, Terry. There is a disconnect between the Washington welfare and support programs, Supreme Court precedent and Constitutional rights, and local officials that boggles the mind.

    Why hasn’t the issue gotten national attention — millions feel it to easily be the civil rights movement of our era — Matt aluded to already, but it’s still a mystery why civil rights Democrats and constitutional rights Republicans haven’t stormed Washington. Thank God for Schlafly.

    Oh wait; this is Reason and we all know why those two parties don’t work…

    Anyway, to get a grasp of this mess, visit the site I include in my link at NV Dad. Then multiply that site by 100 or 200 and you’ll know the size of just the US movement, a movement based on a needed reaction to a real problem. Add every Westernized nation on earth and now you approach the global harm to families perpetrated by institutionalized bias, greed, and sloth.

    Thanks to Reason for hosting this item. Please, Matt, make this a feature topic as often as possible. Of all the domestic trainwrecks Washington manages, this has to be the most severe and the most sensitive.

  58. BTW, Stuttaford over at NRO’s The Corner just linked Radley Balko’s link to Schlafly. I always liked Andrew.

  59. I had WAY too much fun to ever be a politician.

    Jennifer, however much fun you’ve had, rest assured that Bill Clinton’s had even more fun.

    How about a run for school board? I’ll donate!

  60. Thoreau-
    Yeah, but Clinton’s fun could only be testified to by unreliable witnesses; MY fun could be testified to by staunchly respectable types. No contest.

  61. Actually, I would think that the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act would assist. It’s meant to avoid judgement on debts incurred previously while the service member is on active duty. This was a common problem during WWII and this federal act addressed it.

    Although, I would presume that it would need updating.

    I used it myself when an ex-landlord tried to sue me for several thousand dollars in imagined damages a year after I went to Germany. The JAG office wrote the judge a letter and it was dismissed with prejudice.

    The problem is the states know this and will wait until they return in order to avoid falling under the Act.

  62. Are you embarassed about your fun? If so, then I can see why you’d fold your campaign.

    But if you don’t care that you smoked some pot in college, if you don’t think it’s anything to get too upset over, then just say so. As naive as this might sound, I really think that the reason why most campaigns are torpedoed by allegations of a wild youth has more to do with the candidate’s response than with the allegations themselves. The candidate usually gets embarassed and tries to deny it and then admits that “mistakes were made and I regret them.”

    I would love to hear a candidate say “Yeah, I smoked some pot and had some sex when I was young, just like the rest of you, now let’s move on.” If a candidate said that, I really wouldn’t care what the person’s stances were (well, unless he’s way off the charts with crazy stances, but most candidates aren’t), because it would be refreshing and important to see a wild past no longer work as a campaign issue.

  63. “My guess is that it’s mostly poor people who can’t afford lawyers and don’t know what the Constitution is about who are the ones charged with these “crimes.” Man, maybe gaius marius is right. This sucks”

    Call me an asshole if you will, but these folks who “don’t know what the Constitution is,” if they even exist among adult non-retarded Americans, deserve what they get.

  64. Thoreau-
    I’m not embarrassed about a damned thing, but the American public isn’t yet ready to vote for a pothead atheist who put herself through college by working as an exotic dancer.

  65. <offtopic>

    thoreau,

    I think that the amount of fun Jennifer had in her youth wouldn’t be as much of an issue as her atheism. If that ever came out in a school board election, it would almost certainly get the fundies in her community screaming about the “atheistic, EVILution-spreading, hedonist who’s trying to destroy our childrens’ values.” Bleeaaah. :-p

    </offtopic>

  66. Yeah, what Shawn said.

  67. Men who don’t want to be fathers can get a vasectomy. Those are the breaks of biology.

    vasectomy may be sufficient, but it is not necessary. a paper (paternal) abortion would be sufficient and not require any cutting. it would also bring greater parity to reproductive rights: which men currently do not have.

  68. Well, Jennifer, you imply that your exotic dancing was witnessed by respectable types, but how many of them would admit to witnessing you?

    Anybody who’s willing to admit witnessing your dancing probably wouldn’t give a shit about it in a school board election.

    I’d vote for you. You seem to have common sense.

  69. As far as I can tell by the numbers, this is an arguement for banning the use of anesthetics because there can be complications.

  70. Thank you, Thoreau. You also have a great deal of common sense, but unfortunately that makes you a minority.

  71. “Actually, I would think that the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act would assist. It’s meant to avoid judgement on debts incurred previously while the service member is on active duty. This was a common problem during WWII and this federal act addressed it.

    Although, I would presume that it would need updating.”

    This law was updated in 2004 and is now called the Servicemembers Relief Act. I don’t know how it addresses this issue.

  72. Jennifer, did you ever hear the story about physicist Richard Feynman and the strip club? He liked to go to a place with topless dancers, enjoy the show, and doodle equations on napkins when ideas came to him. Eventually somebody tried to get the club shut down. The law stated that it could be shut down if it “violated community standards.” The owner went to all of his regular customers, but most were unwilling to go in court and admit to frequenting the club.

    The only guy who would testify was Richard Feynman. He figured that he’s tenured and a Nobel laureate, so he can’t possibly lose anything by testing on the owner’s behalf.

    So he went to court, and he said that the club doesn’t violate his standards, and he’s a member of the community. Then he said that he’s not the only member of the community who goes there, and without naming names he listed the professions of other regular customers. He said it seemed like the place was widely accepted by the community.

    If I recall correctly, the club remained open.

  73. Thoreau-
    I didn’t know that story, but knowing what I know about Feynman, I’m not surprised.

    If I were independently wealthy, I’d say “screw it” and give it a try. However, if my boss found out what I used to do I’d probably be fired. I remember once when she and one of my co-workers were talking about how horrified they were when they watched some televised sports show and saw a commercial for a local strip club. The horror! Those women are all prostitutes! Think of the children! How could ANY decent woman prance around on stage like that! I suggested that maybe some of them were just trying to put themselves through college, or supplementing the income from their low-paying day jobs, but they emphatically told me that I was wrong.

  74. The irony is, I made FAR more money in college than I am now.

  75. Oh, and to get back on topic–NV Dad should seriously consider quitting whatever job he has now, working at some under-the-table place, and saving up enough money to go to one of those cheap-cost-of-living countries that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US. Better to be an expat than a wage slave.

  76. When did teh feminist movement deteriorate from ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ to ‘I’m woman, protect me from the big bad world’?

    This is part of why I don’t think the government should have a say in marraige contracts, good arbitration clauses would probably do a better job, keep Uncle Sam’s hands out of parents wallets, and people could get contracts approved by their specific churches if so desired.

  77. I remember once when she and one of my co-workers were talking about how horrified they were when they watched some televised sports show and saw a commercial for a local strip club.

    Methinks thy boss doth protest too much.

    And are there any countries that have a low cost of living, a pleasant living standard, and no extradition treaty with the US? I’m sure North Korea has no extradition treaty, and I could probably buy all of the real estate in downtown Pyongyang with the money I’m spending on rent right now, but I doubt I’d want to live there.

  78. Thoreau-
    I dunno, maybe Brazil?

    And no, I don’t think my boss “protests too much.” She’s usually easy to work for and I get along with her just fine, but she’s the type of woman who can’t talk for more than three minutes without mentioning something about Her Children.

  79. Presumably female, Serafina suggested:

    “Men who don’t want to be fathers can get a vasectomy. Those are the breaks of biology.”

    And women tiring of marriage (70% of divorce is unilateral and primary custody is awarded to mothers 7 times more than fathers; you add it up) can marry 90 year old impotent millionaires if they really want to get paid but, nobly, not for having kids.

    Those are the breaks of (schizophrenic feminist) biology.

    Obviously female, Jennifer then obliquely said:

    “Oh, and to get back on topic–NV Dad should seriously consider quitting whatever job he has now, working at some under-the-table place, and saving up enough money to go to one of those cheap-cost-of-living countries that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US. Better to be an expat than a wage slave.”

    Either that’s a presumptive personal slight or a cop-out.

    I realize this is only about widespread organized fraud against personal rights in all 50 states, but please reduce it to support dollars at your risk, not mine.

    Oh, and it’s about the best teenage daughter in my state. Assuming anybody cares about her and her pop, that is.

    Hope those principles keep your interest.

    Come on ladies, you’re counted on for a lot. Don’t crap out now.

  80. NV Dad-
    I didn’t mean that as a slight. If your daughter’s a teenager then maybe you can take heart in the fact that you’ll be free in a few years. But if you are one of those guys who’s paying the majority of your income for the care of an infant you’ll never get to see, then I’d say leaving the country would be a bold act of civil disobedience, not a cop-out.

  81. Extradition answers.

    Damn, J, you a badass. Did you enjoy that line of work? Would you ever go back? Maybe you could play up the Stripping Single Mother stories we’ve all heard. That’ll mess with your boss’s mind.

    Working in CA family law in my early 20s cured me of any desire (if there was any to begin with) to marry or reproduce. I just knew I’d end up one of the statistics with a long, light green, numbered file.

  82. Poco-
    I am not a mom, and if I ever caught pregnant I’d abort the little bastard so fast my coat wouldn’t even have time to notice that the hanger was missing.

  83. J, I figured as such. I meant as in a “I was reading an article about/saw this Lifetime TV-movie about a stripping mom” casual oblique kinda conversation.

    Oh, and NV dad, I x-posted with you. The Googling was just out of curiosity (and for my own future personal reference in other matters?). Hope I didn’t anger you or come off flippant, bc I do feel for you.

  84. Jen, not true. There are no laws prohibiting tubal ligations. At one time some 50 years ago the procedure was discouraged and in some states could not be performed without a doctor’s consent (and the doctor often wouldn’t consent) but those days are long gone and precede both of our arrivals on the planet. The youngest woman I know that was ever in that boat is 78.

  85. iguana – women who have never had children and want to be sterilized are basically fucked until they’re well after 30. doctors are afraid of lawsuits, most insurance won’t even consider covering it, and everyone tells you “oh, you’ll change your mind” because people are asshats like that. it’s some serious bullshit.

    “I am not a mom, and if I ever caught pregnant I’d abort the little bastard so fast my coat wouldn’t even have time to notice that the hanger was missing.”

    now i would totally vote for you. even though stripping creep me the fuck out.

  86. Dhex-
    Not stripping, EXOTIC DANCING. In Virginia, when I was in college, the rules were quite strict–I basically wore two-piece bathing suits covered with sequins. Really, the guys could have seen more if they went down to the beach. And for free, too.

  87. Shouldn’t that be EROTIC dancing? Unless, of course, you’re actually from someplace exotic to Virginia, like the Faroe Islands or something.

  88. Pedant-
    By the standards of Southeast Virginia, trust me: it was plenty exotic.

  89. Who gets pregnant is biology, living choices are sociology, NV dad. Besides, most women I know work for a living, just as men do.

    Ironically, the only woman I know who principally relies on the father of her children for income is my SO’s wife. He pays a thousand Euros a month in child support, the state kicks in 250 Euros each month per child, and she gets 3/7 of his remaining income in alimony. Pretty sweet deal, no? Oh yeah, and he’s allowed to see his little daughters only three times a year. I’m exceedingly sympathetic to the problems.

    My point in posting here yesterday, no matter my personal views of the issue, was that Shlafley wrote a sloppy opinion piece, dredging up ancient cases that don’t apply to the problem she outlined in her opening paragraph. She fails to elucidate on what noncustodial soldiers returning from active duty face here when they return.

  90. It also appears that the Servicemembers Relief Act does take care of the problems she describes. If income goes down when called to active service, it may be reduced, and the interest rate on past due child support can be reduced also, for up to 180 days following the return from active service.

  91. My husband became a deadbeat dad in California. He was living with the mother of his children, but she was filing for welfare. Then he ended up in jail for a while. When he got out, it was difficult to find a job. He got waaay behind on his support.
    Fast forward 8 years, he has lost his license and can’t find a job. His ex moves to Pennsylvania. He moves to Iowa and finds a job.
    Child support in California takes half of his income, then transfers the support order to Iowa. Iowa now says that he owes more money than California, because they didn’t collect any money from him. Iowa told him not to do anything until they contacted him, because California is still collecting half of his income. Iowa and California together are now collecting half of his income.
    At this point, we are still waiting for California to balance his account out so that Iowa can correct the amount that he owes. In the mean time, California is still collecting from his wages, plus adding 10% interest on the back amount, even though they are not collecting child support anymore.
    Pennsylvania says that he is in arrears because California hasn’t sent the monies to them, since he’s still behind in Califoria.
    In the mean time, he is now living in Iowa, the kids are in Pennsylvania and he has no visitation rights. Even if he did, we may not be able to visit or pick up the kids, since half of his income is going out on child support.
    None of the states involved will help with the visitation, so he hasn’t seen his kids in 3 years. Not because he doesn’t want to, but because we cannot afford to fly them or drive them, both ways from Pennsylvania to Iowa. The custodial parent is not obligated to help him visit the boys in any form. So, even if we got airline tickets for the kids, we cannot be assured that the mother will take the kids to the airport.
    The ironic thing in this whole mess is this: Iowa continued paying Pennsylvania child support and ended up over paying. My husband recieved a check in the mail from the state of Pennsylvania for $19, because he was overpaid!

  92. “Dhex-
    Not stripping, EXOTIC DANCING. In Virginia, when I was in college, the rules were quite strict–I basically wore two-piece bathing suits covered with sequins. Really, the guys could have seen more if they went down to the beach. And for free, too.”

    um, that’s even fucking weirder. like, it’s one thing to pay for a tease, which is up some peoples’ unfortunate alleys. another entirely to pay for that. weirdness.

    have you ever read “g strings and sympathy”? it’s a doctoral disseration by a woman who worked her way through grad school stripping in six different clubs in six different parts of a county in alabama. it’s interesting, but rather dismal, since the central focus becomes these regulars (1 to 3 times a week) who go basically because of the conversations they can have with strippers that they can’t have with their wives.

    very depressing. didn’t help my stripper phobia a lick neither.

  93. On the other side of the fence, my mother once offered to relinquish all child support payments if my asshole father just left us alone. He refused.

  94. My sister’s ex faked a prison term for a felony drug conviction and moved out of state under an assumed identity to avoid paying child support.

  95. but she’s the type of woman who can’t talk for more than three minutes without mentioning something about Her Children.

    Ugh, Jennifer, tell me about it. I am surrounded in a sea of “My Children” people at my job. It gets really old, really fast. Note to readers: not everyone cares what your little angel ate for breakfast this morning, or what he said while he was getting off the school bus.

    Shouldn’t that be EROTIC dancing? Unless, of course, you’re actually from someplace exotic to Virginia, like the Faroe Islands or something.

    I have to side with The Pedantry on this one. What Jennifer was doing was Erotic dancing, which is commonly misdescribed as Exotic. Exotic dancing, namely bellydancing, is what I do. And as a bellydancer, I wouldn’t want to be lumped in with burlesque girls — no offense to Jennifer.

  96. ….pothead atheist who put herself through college by working as an exotic dancer… – Jennifer

    Now, that’s just bragging!

    Kevin

  97. Bitter Woman-
    There was no DJ; we had to dance to a jukebox stocked heavily with Milli Vanilli and the early works of Paula Abdul. But if you want to call such dancing “erotic,” you may certainly do so.

  98. Jennifer: Will you please cite your source for your statement that women cannot have at-will sterilizations… I’m assuming you mean in the U.S. Interesting that no one here questioned it? Thanks for your reply.

  99. Fact Checker–
    Personal experience.

  100. The proof of innocence comes up in a lot of paraphenalia charges: e.g. a friend of mine was charged with possession of paraphenalia after cops searched everyone in a car after the driver was found with weed. My friend had no drugs on him, but did have a small “clamshell” mirror (one used for makeup) which he used to make lines of coke. The cops gave him a $400 fine for paraphenalia, despite the fact that they gave no positive evidence that it was ever used for illegal purposes (other than the weirdness of a male having a mirror intended for makeup). In order to prove that it wasn’t paraphenalia, he would have had to show, that, umm, the cops didn’t find it on his person in a car in which someone else possessed a drug different from the one whose use this alledgedly aided. Now admittedly, in this case, the allegations were *true*, but come on!

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