Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Child Support Laws Can Be Too Harsh

Debtors’ prisons may sound like a throwback to a Charles Dickens novel about England, but they are alive and well today thanks to the power of family courts. In my new book called Who Killed the American Family?, I detail how child support laws take away due process and fairness from our legal system. In most cases, people struggling with debt enjoy the protection of bankruptcy laws to help them put their affairs in order. However, the federal Bradley Amendment (named after Democratic Senator Bill Bradley) deprives fathers of this protection when it comes to child support. The Bradley Amendment does not allow child-support debt to be forgiven or even reduced. Child support must be paid regardless of income or other circumstances.

The harsh provisions of the Bradley Amendment can destroy lives. Courts use the power it gives them to make rulings completely at odds with justice and even common sense. In one Georgia case, a man was jailed for not paying child support for a child who was not even his! During time of war and economic difficulty, men are at risk of suffering at the hands of these unfair child support laws. Family courts refuse to recognize unemployment or underemployment as a valid excuse for missing child support payments even if that is caused by serving abroad in our military.

With such strict rules, many men end up in jail for failing to make payments. Although they are imprisoned for not having money, they are often not even informed that they could have had access to a court-appointed attorney. Child support laws are punitive and unjust, but they are still ineffective, as many of the men imprisoned simply lack the resources to pay the amounts the judges demand. The Bradley Amendment is an unjust law and should be repealed.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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