Thanks for Your Service, Now Go Directly to Jail


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.)