I am writing this letter in open forum to respond to the article posted by the Washington times editorial titled “Missing dads is a problem not only in poor homes”.
I, as a divorced father, took incredible offense upon reading this. This article seemed to imply that men simply walk away from our children and that we don’t care. In most cases nothing is further from the truth.
The article did not mention the horrific treatment most men get in divorce court and the one-sided opinions of “Friend of the Court” and CPS (Child Protective Services). The article did not mention that across America over 60% of divorces are filed by the female. It also did not mention how false allegations of abuse and mistreatment are taken as gospel and often used to guarantee the female an almost assured victory.
What I mean by “victory” is the mother gets sole physical custody and the father gets “joint legal” custody. In reality joint legal means there is another pocket for the mother to dip from and the father gets no say in his children’s lives. The media will disagree with this but as the founder of Second Class Citizen, a nonprofit for non-custodial parents, I can assure you nothing is further from the truth.
As a result of these all too often one-sided courtroom decisions, the mother is “entitled” to 35 to 50% of the father’s pay, after taxes. So let’s run the numbers because math does not lie. I will give you a financial reason why fathers are absent.
Let’s give our hypothetical father a 50,000 dollar a year job. In this economy this is a decent income for most. Next remove State and Federal Taxes of 8000 dollars or so. This number is on the low side but it is a real number that most have to pay in taxes.
Next let’s take out the child support payment of 800 to 1200 dollars a month. I will use the smallest number of $800 x 12 = $9600 a year. Next we add health insurance of $250 a month X 12 = $3000 a year. Now we add dental insurance of $85 a month X 12 = $1030. I will now put this in a form we all can understand:
- + $50,00$ INCOME
- – $8000 TAX
- – $9600 SUPPORT
- – $3000 MEDICAL
- – $1030 DENTAL
- = $28,370 LEFT TO LIVE OFF
Now let’s divide $28,370 by 12, and we come up with a number the father is left to live off of: That number is $2364 per month. Let’s see just how fast that money goes.
- 1200$ RENT (The man must have enough space for his children to come visit, right?)
- 400$ CAR PAYMENT
- 400$ UTILITIES
- 400$ FOOD
This leaves our dad with $437 per month for incidentals such as gas, cell phone, and other luxuries or emergencies. That’s a pretty tight budget, with gas over $3 a gallon and the cost of living up almost 25% in the last six or seven years.
This fine financial line is razor thin and usually the man must seek a second job. Anyone knows a second job requires TIME. So now the father works 9 to 5 at his first job and 6 to 10 at his second job; where is there time for his children built into this scenario? The simple answer is, there is no time. The noncustodial father works 10 to 12 hours a day, day in and day out. Due to the laws, he must do this or he will end up in jail for not paying “entitlements” to his ex – he becomes that “villain” the media loves to revile – the “deadbeat dad”.
Now let’s look at a scenario were the man can’t make 50,000 dollars a year. On average it takes three court filings to get support adjusted and more often than not, it gets denied. Now the father can’t afford gifts for Christmas or birthdays. He falls behind on his child support and ends up with warrants out for his arrest. The man ends up spending protracted time in jail because of this. More often than not, his license is suspended, his wages are garnished and the child support debt is piling up because fees and late charges are tacked upon the unpaid balance FOREVER. Yes, forever. There is no leniency. These fees and penalties and interest payments, by the way, are not supported by laws, and in some states are also so significant they conflict with usury laws of the federal government. Debtor’s Prison, anyone?
In short order this leads to the man succumbing to his new fate. He is beaten down and no longer participates in the system which “has the best interest of the child in mind”. The father is labeled a deadbeat (yep, there it is) if he cannot pay – or, in a Catch 22, is labeled a deadbeat because he has to work two jobs and has no time for his children. So you tell me, Mr. Rocket Scientist, what is the upside in this?
In my dealings with noncustodial fathers from across this country, I have seen deadbeat dad pizza boxes, deadbeat dad posters, deadbeat dad cable shows, and men who now have felony convictions because they lost a job in the poor economy and couldn’t pay the court-ordered extortionate “support” orders. After a felony conviction the father is now almost assured to forever live below the poverty line as most of his opportunity is forever lost. There is no recovering from that.
Now let’s address the absolute fact that the courts are biased toward women. 2CC has submitted FOIA requests to many county courts from across the country and found that of all – that’s right, ALL – custody awards, the courts side with females at a rate of about 75%. This number fluctuates + or – 6 percentage points depending on where you are in the country. The family court sitting just outside Fort Bragg. NC has the distinction of being the worst in the nation.
At what point can someone cry foul? Where is the NAACP or the ACLU? We all know the truth there; they are self-serving institutions who only care about their own coffers rather than correcting injustices. That’s right, you’re frauds. I said it. SFC POPP from the US ARMY!
The second reason for the absent father is the “intangible factor”. Men are usually proud, and not emotional creatures. We as men bottle up, encapsulate or build walls around issues that emotionally hurt us. The treatment in court and the loss of our children more often than not is extremely painful to us men. Our natural response is to build a wall. Sadly and more often than not the children are on the wrong side of that wall and thus left behind. I am sorry this happens but it does in overwhelming numbers. Many women in the beginning of the divorce process use the excuse “I was just letting the law handle it”. They take their check, ruin the father’s life and go about their business. In about five years when the father has been reduced to a check in the mail and a voice on the phone the reality of the situation truly sinks in. The father has been surgically removed from his children’s lives by law and the will of the mother.
This is when the negative effects of the father being removed from his children come home to roost. The societal and media response to this is to simply label the man “a deadbeat” because he works 80+ hours a week to try to get his portion of the American dream, or label him a deadbeat because he can’t pay the often onerous obligations and ends up branded a “felon”. This makes the mother feel better and usually turns the children against the father because “he was not there”. They may never realize that dad’s life was hard, and their father basically crippled himself to keep his check going each and every month.
There is a third reason. This is very true for men of the inner city. They just don’t know how to BE fathers. They grew up without a father and/or grandfather role model. This phenomenon has been going on for over 50 years now. Do you think it is a coincidence that urban gangs as we know them today started in 1950 and have gotten worse as the number of households with fathers shrank? Do you think the prison population has exploded “just because”?
Bottom line is, the family unit has existed since the beginning of time. Now here we are in America – and other modern countries – where the laws have driven dad off. Now we are reaping the bitter fruit from this. If you think this is going to get any better, keep hitting that crack pipe you are smoking, because you are clearly high.
We are at approximately 1 in 3 children are without a father at home. What are we going to do when its 1 in 5 children that have a father at home?
There is a direct correlation between drop-outs, suicide, drug use, mental illness, incarceration and welfare. All of these numbers have gone up as fatherhood has gone down. I challenge all who read this to Google the stats; they will slap you in the face.
To start with, make joint physical custody the first option in divorce. Make CPS and friend of the court accountable for their errors and discrimination. Take away their arbitrary powers. Hold judges accountable for the culture of discrimination and corruption that has existed for over half a century. Scale back some of the laws, put in place by the so-called “feminists”, that arbitrarily label men as bad (VAWA) because we are not. We men make up half the population, fight the country’s wars and battles, and pay the lion’s share of taxes and pull most of the weight. Why can we not get equal access to our children?
One final thought: When has it ever been in the best interest of a child to rip one of the parents away? In what bizarre world is that OK? Oh yeah – America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave – unless you’re a father.
TERRENCE S M POPP
Soldier, US ARMY
And founder of