AFRICANGLOBE – I’m sure anyone who is reading this article is familiar with the phrase, “YOU ARE THE FATHER!!” A phrase made popular by daytime talk show host Maury Povich, who has reinvented himself in the talk show world in becoming the “Father of the Polygraph,” both figuratively and literally. In one of the longest running daytime talk shows ever (only trialing The Phil Donahue and The Oprah Winfrey Show), The Maury Povich Show is primarily based around married (but mostly unmarried) couples wanting to know via polygraph which partner is being honest when it comes to cheating in their relationship.
As if the lie-detector results weren’t good enough, the stories take another explosive turn when children are conceived and the issue of paternity is up for question. As the results come in, the audience and viewers alike are anxiously awaiting the cliffhanger part of the show cleverly advertised as “DNA-Drama.”
In many cases, the man is often viewed by the audience as your typical paramour deadbeat father; all the while the woman is portrayed to be the helpless, yet vociferous in demanding that the alleged father in question step up and “be a Man;” followed by imminent threats of child support. Albeit the accused father is often confirmed by DNA results to be the aforementioned phrase above; however, there have been several situations when the mother has not only made false or ambiguous accusations, but in some instances, she doesn’t even know who the father is at all.
I used the Maury Povich Show as a microcosm on how our society now views a once private, civil matter between two adults; into what is now just another chapter in our drama-filled, attention-whoring, reality TV, crazed American culture. Paternity tests are just an appetizer, if you will, to the main course which is called the Family Court system. Here, the idea of “family” doesn’t necessarily fit well in the minds of the judges because they hide behind legal jargon of what’s in the best interest of the ‘child.’ It is also here where many men find out under the eyes of the law that they aren’t looked upon as fathers; but as indentured servants.
Originally called the Aide to Dependent Children as a part of the Social Security Act of 1935, the genesis of the welfare system was dispensed to white single mothers who had little to no income. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Movement and the efforts of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) in the 1960’s, which finally saw government assistance distributed to African-American mothers.
Now effectively called the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (circa. 1962), the AFDC was again, primarily geared towards welfare families with children. It wasn’t until the 1970’s, when Congress realized the caseload of AFDC had changed significantly. Now, the majority of children needed aid because their parents were separated, divorced, or was never married. The Child Support Enforcement and Paternity Establishment Program (CSE), enacted in 1975, was a response by Congress to reduce public expenditures on welfare by obtaining support from noncustodial parents on an ongoing basis, to help non-AFDC families get support so they could stay off public assistance, and to establish paternity for children born outside marriage so child support could be obtained for them.
That’s it, problem solved…right?
Wrong. A system that was originally designed to help custodial parents (mostly mothers) receive support from non-custodial parents (mostly fathers) has become a way to extort, discriminate and even alienate fathers from their children. You can miss me with the “deadbeat” talk because just like sun, moon and stars; we know they exist. This has more to do with our government needing to amend archaic laws in order that we as fathers have equal parental rights. A system that has fathers sometimes coughing up over half of their income to support their child; and the mother. The state-federal government could care less how the man is to survive and provide for his own livelihood. Yet the best interest of the child, (at times) is for his or hers father to go broke in supporting them? Again, men (for the most part) are not looked to as fathers; rather they’re looked upon as criminals or debtors to the State. I say this because once a child support order is placed on you and you fall behind for whatever reason; the consequences ARE nothing but criminal.
According to, these are the consequences slaves, I mean fathers, are faced with when children is brought into the picture.
The court could issue a warrant for the arrest of the parent who has missed child support payments. Warrants issued in connection with child support may be classified as either criminal or civil:
- Criminal Warrants: Issued if prosecutors become involved under federal or state laws. This can occur if the parent is severely behind and owes a lot of unpaid support. Criminal warrants are enforceable in any state, not just in the state where it was issued. A criminal arrest can lead to fines, a sentence of one year or greater than one year in jail, or both.
- Civil (“Capias”) Warrants: These warrants are issued when the custodial parent files for contempt of court. Failure to obey a court order is considered contempt of court, which can lead to fines, a short period of time in jail (less than one year), or both.
In addition to the legal penalties described above, failure to pay child support can have other consequences, including:
- Suspension of driver’s license and revoking of driving privileges
- Denial of tax refunds and other government benefits
- Revocation of passport or changes to immigration status
- Garnishment of wages, including unemployment funds or worker’s compensation benefits
- Placing a lien on one’s real property to obtain funds for payment
- Denial of licenses such as hunting or boating licenses
- Lowering your credit score
Not to mention this last and most critical point. Ohio, just like several other states in the U.S., if you get so far behind in your arrears or past due payments, your support order can turn felonious. That’s right American men; you read it correctly, you can become a felon.
Child support, unfortunately, has become yet another extension of the prison industrial complex (PIC), which is used to describe the overlapping interests of government that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social, and political problems. Unlike the educational stigma that is usually associated with PIC that is targeted towards young Black boys; the child support aspect of it is designed for the father to have little or no access to his child at all. But I guess that’s the court’s interpretation of “the best interest of the child.” Sure ya right Ray, Ray, sure ya right.
Government funded state agencies are making an excess of over a billion dollars a year from child support orders. Back in 2011, the national Census Bureau reports the aggregate amount of child support received was $23.6 billion-from the $37.9 billion which was due. About three-quarters (74.1 percent) of custodial parents who were due child support payments received full or partial payments averaging $3,770 or $315 per month. Even with those numbers, there’s yet another part of the system that is hardly ever divulged. According to Title 42 U.S.C Section 658 (a) of the U.S. Code and Social Security Act, states receive federal reimbursement incentive funding for the amount child support awards, collections, and enforcement. This money is given to the state “without strings attached” and the state puts the funding into the general treasury to balance the budget. From the state treasury, there is a direct or indirect correlation between salaries and pensions awarded to judges and state agencies. Not to mention the money attorneys pocket from fathers who have to fight for custody of their own children.
Sadly in 2014, the role of motherhood has become nothing short of a business transaction in which many children are being used as a tool to exploit fathers; all in the name of “support.” The government has also assisted in becoming the woman’s greatest ally and mediator when it comes to having children or not (ahem, Planned Parenthood). Men, this has become a serious issue due to the fact our judicial system has become “feminist” in their legislation when it comes to notion of family. Men, we must also understand that having children (especially if you’re not married) is not a game; it has become a war. There is no excuse nowadays for “us” to be irresponsible; especially when it’s not in our best interest to be.
No longer can we say “I didn’t know it was that consequential,” when in reality you know it is. I’m not against having children; however, I am for equal rights for fathers when it comes to having children. This long, (yes very long) article is NOT to empower deadbeat fathers; who not only don’t support their children financially, but who are physically absent in their lives. I don’t care if you’re a professional athlete making millions or a guy making minimum wage, the issue of fatherhood is no longer something we can afford to shrug our shoulders at. Fathers, let’s remind our judicial system that we’re more than just a paycheck; but a vital piece to what used to be the ‘American’ family. Peace.
By: Jermaine Jacobs
Rest In Peace Black America – THEBLACKCHANNEL.NET