Men could be caught up in financial hardship after abortion decision, lawyers say

The national furor has continued since the United States Supreme Court struck down the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade abortion protection law on June 24. an abortion.

“I feel like a storm watcher seeing the storm coming,” child support attorney Kathy Middleton said. “I am very worried and I want to draw attention. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Middleton spoke with The Dallas Morning News after a recent interview with host DeDe McGuire on his “DeDe in the Morning” show on K104-FM radio. Middleton, who practices primarily in the New York area, predicted child support cases would skyrocket. She said alleged “baby daddies” would be hit hard by the cases. Even before Roe’s reversal, these men faced penalties when state attorneys general filed cases of nonpayment of child support. Often, when nonpayment amounts and additional state taxes pile up, the bill gets so high that a number of men never catch up, she said.

“The lack of heart is shocking,” Middleton said. “A decade from now there could be millions of men incarcerated.”

Middleton mentioned a case where the alleged father later found out that a woman, who was well over 40, was not his biological child, but he was still paying the state child support arrears that ‘he could not legally stop or modify. She said the old saying ‘Mama’s baby, maybe daddy’ will intensify as men try to prove they’re not fathers to avoid heavy debts and ultimately jail time for not being payment.

“A lot of these men aren’t deadbeat dads; they are completely broke men,” Middleton said. “After this reversal, there will be more women filing for child support, which will have a huge impact on men, especially low-income men who are largely African American.”

A 2018 study of child support and incarceration by the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that more than 5 million American children have a parent who is or was in prison and about 440,000 – 20% – of those who are locked up have a child support obligation that many cannot or cannot pay. This study also based its conclusions on figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Douglas A. Galbi, another researcher, estimates that, although data is limited, about 50,000 men and women in the United States are confined for non-payment of child support.

On the day the Supreme Court issued its decision, Dallas family law attorney Ebony Rivon, former president of the Dallas-based JL Turner Legal Association, a landmark all-black organization of lawyers, unleashed her frustration on social networks. She suggested the court lacked vision. Texas already has more than 45,870 foster children, she said, and “has not adequately funded the care, housing and future” of those children.

“My heart is heavy and troubled!!” Rivon wrote in his post. “…To be born to parents who didn’t want them, couldn’t afford them, raped them, weren’t ready for them, gave them away…what kind of life is that???? … The Texas Foster Care system is NOT prepared for the consequences of this decision.

Rivon also spoke with The news on the enormous economic fallout of the Roe reversal for suspected or proven mothers and fathers. For example, she said mothers have to pay their own prenatal medical bills for which suspect fathers are only liable after a DNA test to prove paternity. There are various other circumstances in which states cannot garnish the wages of potential fathers, such as if they receive disability benefits, she said. She also added that she believed the Supreme Court had blurred the lines between church and state.

“The idea that someone’s Christian or Catholic beliefs should now govern the lives of non-Christians and non-Catholics is, to me, just plain nonsense,” Rivon said.

The two lawyers suggest these partial solutions for the abortion decision: In the next election, vote for candidates who support changing or modifying the Roe inversion.

“A lot of problems are going to explode in the coming years until public officials do something…to alleviate or mitigate…the reversal,” Middleton said.

“People have to vote,” Rivon agreed. “Voting has consequences, and not voting has consequences you don’t want.”

Consequences

Here are some points Middleton and Rivon said they want the public to consider:

  • 1. Child support default penalties are severe. These include losing his driver’s license, certifications such as a barber’s license and ultimately freedom after being jailed for non-payment.
  • 2. Low-income men in arrears for nonpayment often spend decades paying alimony bills and extra taxes — 6% a year in Texas — that they may never be able to pay.
  • 3. A low-income woman must give up all child support in order to receive public assistance. The state then pursues the suspect father for reimbursement,
  • plus interest for late payments, while unpaid bills continue to pile up.
  • 4. The Roe reversal is expected to force mostly low-income women to seek public assistance, and federal and state governments will go after more men whom women point to as fathers.
  • 5. Due to poverty and lack of education, many low-income men run out of child support judgments because they can’t afford DNA tests or an attorney to prove they don’t. are not the father. Many are struggling with child support judgments and non-payment taxes for children who are not biologically their own.
  • 6. The controversial 1986 Bradley Amendment is widely seen today as unfair to men who have legitimate reasons for not being able to pay child support. The researchers say the amendment states that “regardless of the circumstances, a state judge cannot vary delinquent child support obligations” and that only the mother can seek an adjustment. Opponents condemn the law as inflexible. Proponents argue that the amendment prevents wealthy men from paying for special treatment to get out of child support arrears.
  • 7. Because some men change their address frequently, they don’t receive notice of potential paternity in the mail. They can learn years later and, by then, face massive default judgments.

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