Mr. Cordell spoke at length about how the system is punitive and leaves many fathers who are unable to pay child support, rather than unwilling, in a difficult position.
For example, a guy could find himself unemployed with no way to make his child support payments. But just because he is out of a job doesn’t mean those payments pause until he finds work.
The result is a modern-day debtors prison.
“If a guy is unemployed, the court has the power to say, ‘Well look, we think that you should be employed and we think you can get a meaningful job so you should go to jail as a result of being behind in support,'” Mr. Cordell said.
Mr. Cordell noted that when a mother doesn’t receive child support, she has a legion of state, federal and local officials as well as private groups to call on to help enforce her right to support. That isn’t the case when fathers are denied access to their children.
“The guy has to assemble thousands of dollars from income that incidentally he doesn’t have because of the child support,” Mr. Cordell said. “He has to assemble his own funds to go into court and battle for over a year, perhaps, his denial of visitation. So many guys just walk away. It’s not practical for them to enforce their rights of visitation.”
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