Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Overheard In Court

I take both sides in this issue, not alternately, but simultaneously. I refer to child support collection and penalties. Personally, I spent years raising three kids without any income from my ex, resorting to hiring lawyers (yes, plural) to finally collect a fraction of what was due. I also know several fathers - I can count 6 in an eyeblink -who have had issues making payments. At least one was/is a total asshole, fortunately not connected to me in any way. The others have had employment issues, and epitomize that old expression about blood and turnips.

Minnesota has seriously tightened up its child support collection laws in recent years. While I understand from the Mom's position, I also wonder about how counter-productive such tactics as taking away drivers licenses can be, particularly for those fathers in areas without public transportation and nearby employment opportunities. Driving is a requirement in many jobs, nevermind the ability to get to/from the job, and lots of folks in HR don't even consider hiring somebody without that piece of plastic, however relevant is actually is to the position.

Recently a baby-daddy of my acquaintance needed to make an appearance in court, being behind in payments and between jobs. He had one starting the next week, but the outcome of this appearance could screw that up. Baby-mama showed up as well, with a few things to say to the judge.

She wanted him jailed, despite his upcoming job. The judge's reaction was a bit of incredulity. "So do you want some money out of this guy or what?"

Hmmm, I'm thinking "or what". Likely both jail and money. 

Baby-mama went on with a rant about how unfair it was that she had to get up and go to work every day to support all the kids she had (I have it on good authority she's had plenty of unemployment issues of her own, long term), on top of having to take care of them all when she got home, while baby-daddy could  just sit around and not work.

This time the judge gave her a long look, asking, "You do realize he's only responsible for one of them, don't you?"

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