New F & F Column: ‘Child-support bill would end up hurting the kids’

columbus-dispatch-iconIn Child-support bill would end up hurting the kids (Columbus Dispatch, 11/13/10), Fathers and Families of Ohio Governing Council Member Terry Kee criticizes SB 292, a current Ohio bill which would raise child support levels during the worst economy since the Great Depression.

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Kee writes:

Senate Bill 292, recently introduced by Ohio Sens. Shirley A. Smith, D-Cleveland, and Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, would drastically raise Ohio child-support obligations. The average schedule increase for two children would be 27 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

In an environment of high unemployment, falling housing prices, rising local taxes and tight credit, this bill could have a devastating effect for many Ohio parents.

The bill’s sponsors claim that the increase is intended to adjust for inflation; however, the effects of inflation are ultimately captured in wage increases, and Ohio’s Basic Child Support table is income-based – the more you earn, the more you pay.

This bill goes beyond a mere inflation adjustment, however, as it also raises the amount of the obligation relative to income…

Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement data shows that two-thirds of those behind on child support nationwide earn poverty-level wages, and less than 4 percent of the national child-support debt is owed by those earning $40,000 or more a year. The overwhelming majority of the individuals listed on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ “Most Wanted” posters are blue-collar workers of limited means who are unable to meet the often unrealistic demands of the child-support system.

Senate Bill 292 exacerbates the already tenuous position held by noncustodial parents and would drive more “dead broke” parents underground, ultimately leading to less support, not more…

Read Kee’s full piece here.

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