Bubba in AZ
After reading a few entries on this site, and being the non-custodial, child support-paying parent, and from my experience with the child support system, it seems the system creates most of the problems that occur with child support being paid.
Once you become a paying member of the child support system, you are automatically categorized as a 'deadbeat dad'. In my case, in 7 years, I have never missed a payment. This, however, has never stopped the Arizona Division of Child Support Enforcement from treating me like I have never made a single payment. So much so that they have even gone as far as to report to all three credit bureaus that I am in arrears on child support payments. It's next to impossible to get that corrected, and it's against federal law to report false data to the credit bureaus...but there is no recourse.
When I first became a member of this system, I had several questions that I attempted to get answered by contacting ADCSE, instead of getting any answers, my 'case worker' simply called me a 'deadbeat dad' and was not interested in answering any question I had, but, was very open about putting me down, calling me every name in the book, and generally making me wonder why I ever bothered to contact them. On another occasion, several years later, I attempted to contact the ADCSE, just to inform them of my new address...remarkably, my 'case worker' was not interested in hearing about my request, but, again, was more interested in simply putting me down and calling me a 'deadbeat dad'. Needless to say, my new address was NEVER recorded by ADCSE. It was then that I contacted my Federal and State government representatives, in an effort to get some answers. I never heard a word back from them. It seems that this is such a hot potatoes issue, that they will not touch it.
It should also be noted that the court system looks at child support and visitation as two separate issues...one is not supposed to have any influence on the other. In my case, trying to get my visitation rights enforced has been very, very costly and provided hit and miss results. The custodial parent finally just told the judge that she didn't want there to be any visitation. After 7 years and 9 trips to court over visitation, that included her being found in contempt of court, she continues to do as she pleases. But, because of her total lack of cooperation pertaining to visitation have I stopped making child support payments? NO, I haven't.
It seems that in order to make this entire system more palatable for all involved, their needs to be more parity for all involved. The system needs to be revamped to be more open to work with and not against the paying party. They need to break down that wall that automatically exists for the paying party after being thrust into a very beauracratic and stigma driven system...that many do not understand. This includes the people who work there. There should also be some sort of accounting for what the child support is used for, after all, it is supposed to be for the children. In my case, the custodial parent uses the money I send for my kids every month to pay for her new truck and horse trailer, while my kids tell me they don't have any clothes to wear...??? Does this fall under the category of needs for the children?
There needs to be some approach that resolves the frustration that any paying party feels about how the system handles all of these issues. Is it no visitation, no child support? Is it no child support no visitation? Should there be a mandatory accounting of where the funds are spent by the custodial parent? Or, is it just that the agencies charged with enforcing the system should take a more caring approach when it comes to working with the paying party, and actually attempting to resolve issues instead of making things worse by just automatically classifying the paying party as a deadbeat?