I appeared on the Jay Severin Show on WTKK FM 96.9 in Boston on Friday, June 19. Severin was sympathetic, and repeatedly commented that he’s shocked that exes and family courts would so often separate children from one of their parents, usually the father.
Jay devoted the whole hour to the topic, and we took many phone calls. Perhaps the most interesting was a child support enforcement officer who called near the end of the hour. I expected that I’d get a “all fathers are deadbeats” type of shtick from him, as one sometimes hears from private child support collectors. Instead, the guy said that fathers consistently “get the short end of the stick.”
He also said that they are discriminated against in enforcement. As we’ve often noted, mothers seeking enforcement of a child support order have a massive, multi-billion dollar child support enforcement bureaucracy at their disposal. On the other hand, fathers seeking to endorse their visitation or custody rights are largely on their own, and must pay for legal help (on top of child support) and plead their cases to often indifferent judges.
Another caller said that when he went through his divorce the judge spoke with his ex for a while and then turned to the dad and asked one question–“Do you know your child’s birthday”?