"Deadbeat Dad" Myth

topic posted Sun, April 24, 2011 - 1:36 AM by  Unsubscribed
More about the pop mythology about "Deadbeat Dads":

Myth: Deadbeat Dads are common - most men don't pay their child support.

Truth: Somewhere between 80 and 100% of men who are employed pay all their ordered child support, depending on who you ask. Even mothers (who are clearly biased against honest reporting in this area) report that 80% of fathers who are employed pay all that they owe. One must ask, of course, how you can expect a man who doesn't have an income to pay child support.

The huge majority of men who do not pay their child support are either (1) unemployed, (2) in prison, or (3) dead - literally. It is impossible, of course, to collect child support from any of these men, as they are unable to pay. Florida discovered this when they spend more than $4 million and collected a paltry couple of hundred thousand - proof positive that you can't enforce payment in the event that the obligor simply doesn't have the money - or isn't even breathing.

This myth that "deadbeat dads are common" is the fruit of often-cited Census data on child support compliance - data that is fatally flawed. The Census Bureau asked only custodial parents if they were paid in full and on time, and never cross-checked any of their information - nor did they ask the non-custodial parent! Needless to say, asking the recipient alone is akin to asking the fox to guard the henhouse. (Source: US Census Bureau)

Myth: Men make up the bulk of domestic abusers and thus all allegations of domestic violence against them are credible.

Truth: WOMEN are in fact the majority of domestic abusers. The percentage is not very different - 55 to 45% according to the most credible and recent studies in both the US and Australia - but it is a fact. Further, controlling for the severity of violence (ie: hit with hand, used weapon, threw object, etc) women still out-abuse men by a small percentage. Yet virtually all domestic violence "programs" and laws suggest - if not outright state - that women simply don't perpetrate any domestic violence.

The "dirty little secret" in all of this is that the highest incidence of domestic violence is among lesbian couples. By definition there isn't a man in those households. If men were in fact the perpetrators of most domestic violence we would expect to see virtually no violence in lesbian households. Rather, on a percentage-of-household basis, they account for the largest percentage of such incidents among all household compositions.

Myth: Children are most often physically and sexually abused by their fathers.

Truth: Children are most likely to be physically abused by their mothers, and are more than twice as likely to be killed by their mothers than their biological fathers. They are most likely to be abused sexually by their stepfathers or mother's boyfriends - men who were invited into their home by their mothers! We could eliminate the majority of sexual abuse of children by refusing to allow a child to reside in his mother's home if she has a live-in lover or remarries. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

However, unlike many "pressure groups" we do not advocate separating kids from their biological parents under any circumstance unless it can be proven that they are in actual danger of harm.

Myth: Most men abandon their children following divorce and want nothing to do with them.

Truth: Even if you ask mothers how often this happens, only 12 percent attempt to claim that their ex-husbands voluntarily refuse to visit and spend time with their children. If you ask fathers, only three percent claim that they voluntarily miss time they should have with their children. In fact, a quarter of mothers admit they interfere with or deny entirely the children's father's access to their kids!

The truth is that according to a study done by Sanford Braver, PhD (Arizona State University) only one in six fathers get the custodial arrangements they wanted. A study done by Stanford University in the late 1980s showed the same thing - close to 70% of fathers wanted either joint or sole physical custody.

Statistically speaking, fathers don't abandon their children - they are forced out following divorce by the mothers of those children, usually without justification or legally-relavent cause.

Myth: Women's standards of living drop precipitously after divorce, while men's rise enormously.

Truth: The source of this myth is a book entitled The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America, written by Lenore Weitzman, PhD, in 1985. This work has been thoroughly discredited - not only were there simple mathematical errors in her calculations but her methodology was fatally flawed. Yet it took her eleven years to publicly admit to these mistakes - an event that finally occurred in 1996 in American Sociological Review. The problem with this is that a huge number of states - virtually all - have upwardly revised their child support guidelines by using and citing this work - a work which was and is an admitted fraud! I say fraud because there is documented proof that she was made aware of the problems with this study fully seven years before she admitted to the errors, taking them from the realm of "mistake" into "deliberate deception". Where is the compensation - the refund - for all the fathers who have been massively overbilled - in some cases by more than twice what they should have been assessed - in child support as a direct consequence of this fraudulent "study", and when will these laws and "guidelines" be overturned now that the truth is known? The silence from feminists on this point - faced with irrefutable proof of the flaws in this work - the very people who pushed for these guideline increases - has been deafening.

Indeed, even today we see people cite this book as "proof" that child support awards are too infrequently collected and too small to begin with. Not one major media outlet has paraded the truth about this "study" - that is was and is patently incorrect both in its methodology and simple command of mathematics.

Myth: Men are the ones who initiate most divorces and want to leave the marriage - usually because of an extramarital involvement.

Truth: Women initiate between 65% and 80% of all divorces over the objections of their husbands. Further, among causes for divorce an affair ranks sixth and any sort of abuse - whether alcohol, violence, or drug-related - doesn't show up until the eleventh cause. When a wife divorces her husband for reasons such as a "gradual growing apart" or "serious differences in lifestyle" (the top two reasons!) and takes the kids with her, her ex-husband truly has been disenfranchised - and left powerless.

Myth: Child Support is for the children and has to be spent on their health, well-being and care.

Truth: Not one state in the US requires recipients of child support to actually prove that the amounts received are 1) necessary to meet the children's needs or 2) are actually spent in the children. A number of states, in fact, actually document in their laws that part of the purpose of child support is to protect the standard of living of the custodial parent - almost always the mother - which would have existed had the divorce not taken place. If child support were actually for the children then a payer would be able to demand documentation that 1) the amount paid was actually necessary for the children's needs, and 2) was actually spent exclusively on the children.

In fact, one may reasonably wonder just what "child support" is really for, especially in the case where parents have joint physical custody. In most states, including Illinois, the presence of Joint Custody has very little, if any, impact on the award of child support - even though such practices appear to fly in the face of the statutes as written in many of these situations.

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