WANTED FOR UNETHICAL "WALL OF SHAME"
WANTED FOR THE UNETHICAL "WALL OF SHAME"
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Monday, February 7, 2011
US Supreme Court to Hear Case Challenging Constitutionality of Jailing Parents for Inability to Pay Child Support (From the Fathers and Families Website)
The injustice is typified by the case of Jeremy Lavine, one of three Fathers and Families supporters quoted in a national Associated Press article on the issue.
Lavine worked in the real estate industry and had a $1,100 a month child support obligation based on a $4,500 a month income. Like so many in the real estate industry, his income dropped precipitously, yet the Florida Department of Children and Families told him his industry was going to bounce back and refused to give him a downward modification. The kicker? Lavine's kids live with him 50% of the time.
In the end, Lavine's ex-wife was very reasonable. Today she and Jeremy share the kids 50-50 and split day care and health care expenses, and neither pays child support. As Jeremy says, "we worked everything out--despite the child support system."
Now the US Supreme Court will soon hear oral arguments in Turner v. Price, a South Carolina case concerning one of the worst aspects of this abusive system--the way some states jail indigent child support debtors without providing them legal counsel.
The suit was filed by a coalition of legal groups, including the South Carolina American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In their brief they wrote:
“The South Carolina Family Court nevertheless has imprisoned hundreds, and likely thousands, of indigent defendants for nonpayment of support without appointed counsel...
"These defendants languish in modern-day debtors’ prisons after patently unfair proceedings, many of which lack any factual findings. Often the courts do not even inquire into the defendant’s ability to pay their support obligation.”
Fathers and Families Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. has been covering Turner and related cases and developments. In Prison for Indigent Parents Owing Child Support to Be Heard by the Supreme Court, Robert discusses a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article on the issue:
"It’s worth noting that no one in the Georgia child support bureaucracy, no judge, no attorney challenges the assertion that Georgia jails non-custodial parents who are unable to pay their child support...
"War veteran Randy Miller supported his child very nicely for several years, but then lost his job. He continued to put his child first and made his payments until he literally ran out of money. He now has no assets of any kind including a bank account with 39 cents in it.
"The state’s response to his nightmare? Incarcerating him..."
For more information, see Robert's Three Cases Challenge Constitutionality of Jailing for Inability to Pay Child Support and Supreme Court to Hear Child Support Case by Indigent Dad.