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Bill would overhaul child support rules

Started by mplsfitter539, Feb 20, 2004, 02:54:58 PM

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Did anyone read the article in todays Star and Tribune about proposed changes to child support? I would like to support this change and was wondering if anyone knows who to get in touch with about this. The article was on the front page of the Metro/State section. I have heard that the reason this stuff never gets passed it because no one shows up to show support. The womens advocacy shows up in full force to shoot it down but not enough people who are getting screwed show up.


Bill would overhaul child support rules
Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune
Published February 20, 2004

Minnesota's child support guidelines, which determine payments for more than 265,000 children, would be dramatically revamped under a bill heard in a Senate committee Thursday.

For the first time, the income of both parents would be considered when deciding the amount of child support to be paid. Currently, only the income of the noncustodial parent is taken into consideration.

Likewise, the noncustodial parent, commonly the father, could get a 17 percent cut in his child support obligation if the children spent 15 to 45 percent of their time with him.

Currently, only fathers with joint custody are allowed to have child support reduced in exchange for time spent with their children.

The legislation has dozens of provisions designed to make Minnesota's child support formula more fair to both parents, Sen. Tom Neuville, R-Northfield, told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 Lisl and Daria vonSteinbergs rally at the Capitol.David BrewsterStar TribuneBut fiddling with child support payments is an explosive business, he acknowledge. Ideas backed by fathers' rights groups, for example, are often adamantly opposed by women, he said.

"I'm not Solomon," said Neuville. "And this is a very hard bill to craft with both sides thinking it's fair."

The bill reached the Senate floor last session, but no action was taken on it. On Thursday, Neuville added nearly a dozen amendments, many of which give noncustodial parents new breaks.

A similar bill, held over from last session, is awaiting action on the House floor.

Both would base child support on the actual cost of child rearing, as opposed to a decades-old formula that did not base child support levels on research into the cost of raising children.

Considering the income of both parents is appropriate, advocates said, because Minnesota has one of the highest percentages of working mothers in the nation, and the formula should reflect that.

Low-income men, who often are ordered to pay a disproportionate amount of their income in child support, would get a break in their obligations under the plan, said Neuville. Likewise, child support for parents with just one child would probably go down, he said.

Other scenarios are more complicated, especially with the amendments which would:

• Allow parents who are behind in their child support payments to have them erased in certain circumstances by showing they had "good cause" for falling in arrears.

• Allow judges to deviate from the child support guidelines if they would result in impoverishment of the child or of the parent paying the child support.

If the changes became law, they would be phased in gradually with existing child support cases, said state human services officials. New child support cases, however, would be based on the new formula.

Neuville said he hopes the provisions make the child support guidelines more fair and equitable. If they don't, "changing the formula just to change the formula" isn't worthwhile, he said.

Neuville urged child support experts to contact his office with suggestions about the plan.

"I don't want phone calls, but e-mails and letters," he said. "I'm looking for analysis on how the adoption of these amendments would make the bill better or worse." His e-mail address is [email protected].

The Senate Judiciary Committee will take public testimony on the bill next month.


I'm struggling with this one.

For DH (NCP) and his first wife (CP), sure.

For me (CP) and my ex (NCP), sure.

For DH (CP) and his second wife (NCP), not sure.  HERE'S WHY...  She's never worked full time....EVER.  

She doesn't "like" working.  From January 2000 until April 2003, she worked two months at a bar, and two weeks at another bar.  From April through now she has worked at Dairy Queen at a MAXIMUM of 20 hours a week and only because welfare told her to or they'd strip her of all her benefits.

She mooches off of men, her family, friends, the government...  Yet nearly all of her money goes to partying (alcohol and drugs).

Now, DH has worked at same place for 7 years, and makes a somewhat decent living.  Because he has WORKED at it.

Why should child support from her be based on him being responsible and her not being?  See?  There's the loop-hole.  As it is, her CS obligation is ridiculously small (not that she'll pay it anyway).

Otherwise, I think it's a pretty good idea.