Fathering Magazine for fathers, dads, family


NOTICE: Most recent site content is not available to users of ad blockers.

Home
What's New
Beginners' Tour
True Stories
True Soap
Health

Topics
New Fathers
The Joy of Fathering
Importance of Fathers
Fathers & Sons
Fathers & Daughters
Single Fathers
Second Wives -
   Second Families
Gender & Fathers
Custody & Divorce
Father Custody
Child Support
Exposé
Cyber Bullying
Sex Bullies
Family Vacation
Father's Day
Mother's Day

Sections
Book Reviews
Fathering Poems
Interviews
Fathering Fiction
Cooking Recipes
Science Fair Project
US Constitution

News
Female Offenders
Juvenile Offenders

Child Health
New Baby
Premature
Circumcision
Intersex
Signs of Puberty
Car Hazards
Child Obesity
Teen Smoking
Teen Drinking
ADD/ADHD
PCOS
Autism

Men's Health
Hair Loss
Muse ED Review
Vasectomy
Micturition
Restoration

Columns
Stephen Baskerville
Michael Childers
Kirk Daulerio
John Gill
Paul Goetz
Sam Harper
Jim Loose
Mark Phillips
Fred Reed
Carey Roberts
Glenn Sacks
Clyde Verner
Archie Wortham

Exposé
Child Support Policy
Child Support Math
Commercial Justice
Abuse Hysteria
Missing Child Money
Gender Equality?

Legal Disclaimer








Fathering News
Check these stories:

Texas Fathers Win Again! Social workers and psychologists "incest cases" group gets foiled in court.

Therapist Loses License and One Million Dollars Another misandrist therapist gets caught selling sex fantasies to children. From the False Memory Syndrome Foundation News Letter

Supervised Parent/Child Contact An ideologue exposes her ugly compulsion to deny children's access to their father.

Study Finds Teen Pregnancy and Crime Levels are Higher Among Kids from Fatherless Homes Children reared in fatherless homes are more than twice as likely to become male adolescent delinquents or teen mothers, according to a significant new study by two economists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

85% of Youths in Prison Grew Up in Fatherless Home Source: Texas Department of Corrections.

I Want to See My Dad! Staff of supervised visitation center demoralized by crowd of angry demonstrators.

America's Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out Judge says "The current biased system is run by reality-impaired ideologues."

How to Fight Sex Abuse Allegations and Win False Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse: What You Should Know.

Child Support System Declared Unconstitutional Minnesota Supreme Court upholds ruling.


Of Statistics, Single Mothers and the Politics of Language Studies show that, overwhelmingly, children being raised in homes with both a mother and a father enjoy a lot of benefits that children from single parent homes do not.

Children in Single-Mom Households at Risk The fact that children raised by single mothers are at increased risk is found over and over again.

The Case for Father Custody Daniel Amneus makes the case for fathers getting custody of their children. "It is fatherhood which makes childhood possible."

New Single Father Suggestions Practical childcare tips for the man who has to go it alone.

Off the Boat When? Is 'child-support' just a euphemism for alimony?

VAWA: Joe Biden's Shame Family courts discriminate against men, with no value placed on justice.

Home > Child Support > Article

The Alimony Hidden in Child Support

page two

by Roger F. Gay

History of the Project:
Project for the Improvement of Child Support Litigation Technology began in 1989. It was at this time that the United States was on the brink of a major change in the way child support award decisions are made. A federal law, known as the Family Support Act of 1988, required each state to base every award decision on formulae known as "child support guidelines." As a result of this legislation, award amounts have increased dramatically from those awarded according to the legal principles that had been established in the states.

The most fundamental problem resulting from the federal legislation is that rigid mathematical formulae have replaced the rational principles upon which child support decisions had been made. In traditional child support statutes, a definition of child support was given along with a set of principles for guiding complicated decisions. A traditional definition would state that child support is an amount paid by a non-custodial parent for his or her share of the actual and necessary needs of children. Additional guiding principles could include a reasonable consideration for sheltering children from the standard of living loss that accompanies divorce, and that both parents have an equal duty to support their children. Statutes could also explicitly include such considerations as the need for each parent to support themselves, time the non-custodial parent spends with their children, and travel expenses involved with visitation.

New child support statutes typically do not provide an alternative definition for child support. They are based on arbitrary analysis of national data on family spending and do not correspond to any set of rational principles for making an award decision. Therefore, it has been necessary to rely on traditional principles for research on developing better child support guidelines. It was discovered early in the project that there are two concepts that are fundamentally important to traditional thinking. The first is the "equal duty principle" (both parents have an equal duty to support their children). The second is "ability to pay." One deals with the issue of fairness, the other with practicality. Both are needed as the basis of a good judgment.

It is simplest to describe the equal duty principle by first saying what it does not mean. It does not mean that both parents should pay the same amount toward support of their children. The award decision takes into consideration other important factors, including each parent's ability to pay. When all is considered, "ability to pay" is not equivalent to income, as it appears to be in the Income-Shares (example: New Jersey guidelines) and Percent-of-Income (example: Wisconsin guidelines) formulae. (These are the most commonly used types.) There was an established prohibition against taking from a parent for support of children, so much that a parent is no longer capable of self-support.

Many of the portions of the current PICSLT model can be found in previous work. Anyone wishing to delve deeply into the detailed mathematics of child support, should begin by reading "How to Calculate Child Support," by Maurice Franks (Case & Comment, January-February, 1981). Franks provided the most complete Income-Shares model ever published, which included detailed mathematics for accounting for children's time with each parent, how to deal with "extraordinary" expenses (expenses that are not included in the standard table), and joint custody. Oddly enough, more recent authors of Income-Shares models have claimed an inability to perform these simple operations.

In the limited way of the Income-Shares approach, Franks dealt very logically with the equal duty principle. The first step toward improvement upon Franks' model was to replace income with a more sophisticated view of ability to pay. Some newer models deduct a standard amount required for support of one adult from each parent's net income before performing the child support calculation. The remaining income represents "ability to pay."

There are reasons to believe that this approach is too simple. If a parent uses part of his remaining income to purchase tools necessary for work, for example, that amount is additionally needed for self-support. Ability to pay a "standard" amount of child support is also changed by "extraordinary" expenses. When a parent must pay an extraordinary amount of medical expenses, for example, their ability to pay for standard expenses can be significantly reduced. The PICSLT model uses a few simple mathematical operations to account for a wide range of circumstances that effect actual "ability to pay."

Several new equations were developed for the first version PICSLT model that were later replaced by a completely new basic formula for child support. Of the technology that remains in the most recent version, there is only one more major area to discuss--the numeric table. This important component had also received attention in previous work by others. A most intriguing view was expressed in a report for the Washington State Association of Superior Court Judges (1982). The author of the report, William Hewitt, noted that data and methods used to estimate the amounts families spend on children were woefully inadequate. Yet most numeric tables used in guidelines today are a direct product of such estimates.

The better approach is to build a standard table giving separate costs related to different spending categories; housing, transportation, food, etc. The amounts listed in each category should be determined from court case experience in which many individual cases have been decided in full view of all relevant facts. Another advantage identified in the PICSLT work is that the categorical approach provides a way of comparing individual case circumstances with the amounts listed in the standard table. If for example, a divorce settlement provides a custodial parent with a house that is paid for, then understanding the details of the number listed under "housing" can greatly assist a judge in adjusting the award. A detailed look at modern cost analysis is given by Robert Braid (see The Children's Advocate, November 1994, Vol. 7, No. 3).

PICSLT has not studied a large number of real cases to develop a table. In order to estimate appropriate values, another approach described by Hewitt has been used. It begins with estimates of spending on children from national data, separated into spending categories. PICSLT selected estimates of spending on children by single parents developed by the USDA. The USDA work is exceptionally clear in explaining precisely how the numbers in each category are derived. It is better to start with a clear understanding of what one has, so that it can clearly be compared with what we would like to have. The numbers are then reduced in proportion to the marginal cost of children, with each category receiving an independent appraisal. We then have a table with values that can each be understood in the context of a rational child support decision process and compared with evidence provided in each case.

The first version PICSLT model can be seen largely as arising from the integration of selected portions of other models. Reasonable modifications were made to complete the integration. Special adjustments were needed to assure that a low income mother is able to maintain a household, for example, even after a support payment is reduced for visitation time. An additional formula was created to adjust child support payments to show what could be done to reduce welfare dependency. Although joint and sole custody cases could be handled with the same model, special additions were needed when either parent remarried or had other children to support.

View next page...

Back to Introduction



Copyright © 1995, 1999 Roger F. Gay
Roger.F.Gay@telia.se
All rights reserved.



fathermag.com
the on-line magazine for men with families.














The Secret Alimony Hidden in Child Support Scientific proof exists that many child support awards are too high. By Roger F. Gay.

Fathers' Rights Are Fathers' Duties Why political action is the best thing you can do for yourself, your case -- and above all your children. By Stephen Baskerville.

Domestic Armageddon Who profits from the maternal child-snatching epidemic? Two book reviews by Stephen Baskerville.

Just Let Me Be a Dad A review of Michelle D. Lovato's book of practical advice for divorcing fathers.

Men Are Beasts Whereas false accusations by women are in fact rare, occurring no more often than do other false reports of crimes, such as bank robbery -- Joint Congressional Resolution 182.

Class Dismissed Has America created a new class of citizens who are excluded from constitutional provisions regarding due process and debtors prison?

Father from Afar Fathers from afar must learn how to hear what is not said, feel what is not seen, and say what should be said.

Let No Man Put Asunder Is our traditional faith in justice being eroded by courts that operate as a child kidnapping and extortion racket?

Angels and Divorce Dean Hughson tells how a couple of angels helped save him in those critical hours following his divorce.

Gender Bias in Family Court A paralegal gives her insider's view of women who make use of the child kidnapping and extortion racketeers in our justice system.

In the Best Interest of the Child Today's fathers are more likely to seek custody. Many of them will need to prepare for a child custody evaluation.

Mother Accuses Father of Child Abuse What to do? Win! Advice from The Fathering Advisor with links to resources.

What Fathers Do Jack Kammer's story shows us how fathers affect the lives of teenage boys.

Deserted Her mother said "Your father left you because he doesn't love you." Now she has learned the truth--her loving father was forced out of her life.







US