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Freelance Writer & Editor. A graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English w/an emphasis on creative writing.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Florida Child Support Facts


& The Department of Revenue's Failure to Collect Past Due Child Support

by Andreka Byers 6/18/10
The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) Child Support Enforcement is only capable of enforcing its laws and guidelines for collecting from non-custodial parents who stay on-the-grid. As a norm, once a deadbeat, non-custodial parasite perfects the art of living off others, working under the table, and possessing nothing of value in their own name – the system has no recourse for such off-the-grid artists.

FACT #1: The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) Child Support Enforcement is a statewide failure.

FACT #2: The Florida Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) is ineffective.

FACT #3: My child's father is a deadbeat.

FACT #4: The Florida child support system is flawed.

Glitches in the system can allow one deadbeat, serial baby maker to owe an excess of 6 digits in back pay. Garnishment (wages, tax returns, unemployment benefits, or workers' compensation benefits) is out of the question if there's nothing to garnish. And frankly, the threat of garnishment, property lien, license suspensions, or damage to credit bureau reports are moot points to someone who would rather not work than take care of his/her responsibilities. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998 makes it a felony to flee
to another state or country in order to avoid child support payments. But my deadbeat baby's father, who did not flee the state, just simply chooses not to work and happily falls through the system's cracks.

According to DOR's Child Support website, "Every child has the right to financial and medical support from both parents. Our goal is to assure families receive the child support they need and deserve.
The services we provide include locating parents, establishing paternity, and establishing, enforcing and modifying support orders."
I am a single mother with a college degree, and I only have ONE child. So, before you pass judgment or jump to conclusions -- I am not a single mother with 5 kids from 5 different baby daddies looking to live off vouchers, food stamps, SSI, and cash assistance. And like so many other single mothers (and fathers) in Florida, regardless of the number of sperm or egg donors involved, I am stuck in a system full of unchecked and unresolved bureaucratic defects. DOR fails to enforce and, subsequently, collect from deadbeat parasites that fester under the radar.

According to OPPAGA (Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability), "in federal Fiscal Year 2007-08, the program reports that [DOR] collected 52% of child support payments owed. This falls below the department's legislatively approved standard of 64%. As of June 2009, the program estimates that the collection rate for federal Fiscal Year 2008-09 will again be 52%."
What is OPPAGA? "OPPAGA is a legislative research unit that reviews state agencies and programs to identify opportunities to improve services and reduce costs of services to Florida's citizens and visitors."
DOR cannot garish wages for someone who chooses not to work. So, by the great power invested in DOR, in conjunction with DCF--with their meager authority--DOR passes their enforcement responsibility to USPS. Yes, the United States Postal Service! When USPS fails to deliver or verify the address for one of DOR's Hey, Deadbeat, We're Looking for You letters, DOR blames their inability to locate a non-custodial parent on the postal service.
As a result of my child's deadbeat, non-custodial parent running amuck, DOR suspends his driver's license as punishment: Get caught driving on a suspended license, we'll give you a ticket – even for repeat offenders. If you show up for court, we'll put you on probation. If you violate your probation -- don't worry about your unpaid child support payments; we may lock you up for a couple of months, if we feel like it. Then, we'll set you free and the process starts all over, again. Never mind the fact that your back payments continue to accumulate. We will just continue to play this cat and mouse game until the months add up to years – meanwhile the child goes without.
So who cares, right? Or better yet, why should Florida's taxpayers care? Your tax dollars (federal and state), funneled away from education and other vital programs, are being used to fund this cycle: salaries for state workers, tying up the court system, DOR footing the bills as DCF provides shoddy assistance to those families in need, etc.
DOR, according to OPPAGA, "for Fiscal Year 2009-10, the Legislature appropriated $293.3 million and 2,312 staff positions to administer the program. Approximately $53.6 million of this appropriation was derived from the state's General Revenue Fund and $239.7 million from trust funds. The federal government shares administrative costs with the states to operate the program at the rate of 66% and 34%, respectively." How much did you pay in federal and state taxes last year? Do you care how your money is being spent now?
DCF and DOR are not fit to deal with compunctious, non-custodial parents. Food, clothing, and shelter – be damned. So as far as my experience goes, after 7 years of being in the system, I have not received the 1st child support payment. A whole statewide department whose entire function is to collect revenue, but whose only enforcement power is to suspend a driver's license for an off-the-grid parasite --- is a colossal blunder.


Sources:
"Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement." GPS: Government Programs Summaries: The Florida Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. OPPAGA. 5 May 2010. Web. 19 June 2010. < http://www.oppaga.state.fl.us/profiles/4081/ >.


Florida Department of Revenue: Child Support Services. Florida Department of Revenue. n.d. Web. 19 June 2010. < http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/ >.


"Bill Text 105th Congress (1997-1998) H.R.3811ENR: H.R.3811 -- Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998 (Enrolled Bill [Final as Passed Both House and Senate] - ENR)." The Library of Congress Thomas. n.d. Web. 19 June 2010. < http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.R.3811.ENR: >.


"Collecting Past Due Child Support." Lawyer.com. n.d. Web. 19 June 2010.
< http://family-law.lawyers.com/child-support/Collecting-Past-Due-Child-Support.html >.

6 comments:

  1. at least you got a lil mama out the deal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. However, a lot of taxpayers do respond. There are abounding cases, the aborigine has never been confused or IRS notice. After the IRS issued a fourth notice, the IRS issued a apprehension of burden accumulating of sources, they are recorded. These sources are usually a coffer annual or bacon information.

    Wage Garnishments

    ReplyDelete
  3. I couldn't agree with you more! Sounds like you are describing my experience.

    ReplyDelete
  4. On the flip side. What about the ones that are trying to make payments and have been downsized by the lack of jobs in this bad economy? What about when it takes the courts over a year to attempt to modify the amount for such, and then make mistakes causing arrears only because the system took too long to modify payments lower for such downsizing not the fault of the dad? What about the suspension of driver's licenses because of such arrears? Further causing the dad unable to continue a current job or look for other job triggering further action like jail time. The real true deadbeats are you idiots for allowing these laws to continue. But you instead are too lazy to write an email to your states politicians to make changes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Custodial Parent Endorses the Services of the Custodial Support Foundation and Bounty Alert for Assisting in Collecting $11,000 of Her Child Support Arrears through Project Child Support.

    See Endorsement:
    http://www.projectchildsupport.org/testimonial_response_ej.pdf

    Click to Like on Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/CustodialSupportFoundation

    The noncustodial parent found living in Maryland after leaving New Jersey in an attempt to not pay child support.

    The noncustodial parent was arrested during the court appearance to prevent his assets from being seized and liquidated during the hearing to obtain the custodial parents enforcement order through Project Child Support.

    The custodial parent was also facing an eviction, which she was able to stop by paying her past due rent.

    If you are owed child support and are unable to collect your arrears, call the Custodial Support Foundation at (855) 851-HELP or (855) 851-4357.

    ReplyDelete

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