Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Foreign child support news

I see that the child support system in Australia (upon which, as I recall, ours was modelled) is suffering the same failures as the child support system over here. This story in The Australian today reports that parents owe their ex-partners more than $1 billion in child support payments and that no fewer than half of separated parents are failing to pay all, or any, of their child support liabilities. And all of this despite a five-year reform process. Sounds remarkably similar to our own experiences.

I don't know what it is about child support that governments persist with it, despite its manifest failure to achieve what it was designed to do. No business would be allowed to operate in such a way - it simply would not survive. Just how bad does it have to get before those in power admit that child support was an experiment that failed?

Meanwhile, in America Florida Divorce reports a case where a husband was ordered to pay $1,106 in monthly child and spousal support and then left his job and joined a religious commune which forbids members from making money outside the commune. The husband failed to pay the support and the wife filed for contempt. Interestingly, the court held him to be in contempt, despite finding that his new religious beliefs are genuine, and this decision was upheld on appeal. "Defendant did not quit his job and join a religious community until after entry of the support order," stated the judge. "That defendant's religious beliefs are sincerely held, as the trial court found, is irrelevant." In other words, as I understand it, you cannot simply avoid liability to pay the support by voluntarily giving up work, which makes sense.

2 comments:

  1. I am not sure the last comment does make sense. I think the UK system differs from this. Its about Freedom. Taking child from Father and then asking him to pay for the dubious pleasure is the route of the problem and what makes it amoral and despised.

    In answer to your question, it's politics and NRPs are the new single mums and hate figures for the 'right thinking people', the complexities are missed.

    Like IDS (Ian Duncan Smith) who is on about making NRPs life a lot worse as doing so and big financial repercussions for NRPs in separating seems to reduce parental separation rate which is down (I'll find the report if you like).

    So perhaps we are going back to the 1950s after all. I hope not as the pictures of the children when me and my ex were together were unhappy and now we are separated, they have smiles.

    My point is that a clean financial break should be possible as should the ability to divorce. Both of these are against the current Government's approach. Which, I agree with you, will not work, people are not machines, the USSR (where this originated - seriously) fell for this reason, I just hope this doesn't last as long.

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  2. Nick Langford30 June 2010 12:27

    An interesting similarity between the Australian CS system and ours is that in Oz it costs $2.50 to collect $1.00 of child support. In the UK it costs £2.50 to collect £1.00 of child support. These figures assume it doesn't cost anything to collect CS which is paid willingly - as mostly it is.

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