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Letter to Judges Reviewing Child Support Guidelines For Massachusetts

Some say this federally mandated review process is a sham and that there is only motivation to raise child support. It has been said that kickbacks from the federal government ($140 million per year in Mass.) based on INCREASES in child support fund not only the court system, but actually go into judges retirement funds. If this is true there is a HUGE conflict of interest built into this system which may be criminal on more than one level.  Payments between branches of government are unconstitutional in the first place.  Some say we should protest, not participate in this process. I try to give everyone ONE chance to make things right before I assume the worst. This is also necessary to learn about and confirm who the enemies of justice are in this system.  I do not believe people have evil intentions. I do believe evil results are generated by the current child support system in Massachusetts, and probably in many states. Here is the analysis I presents to these judges on September 12th 2005 and the letter I sent the next day by email to add additional thoughts and points.

September 13th 2006
Dear Judge DiGangi and Carey,
I think we all appreciated your patience and time yesterday for the federally required review of CS standards. I have attached and pasted below a corrected and improved version of the handout I gave you.  The mother's taxable equivalent income was not shown as high enough due to an error in the calculation formula.
The reasons to reduce the child support guidelines are very clear. We are harming children and destroying the lives of their fathers too with this system.
To summarize the best reasons I heard the guidelines are too high because:
1. Massachusetts is the highest in the U.S. as a percentage of income that already takes into account living costs due to higher salaries. Are 49 states wrong and Massachusetts right?
2. Three different benefits accrue to the mother only that are hidden and need to be included in any analysis as follows:
    a) Father pays all taxes (after tax dollars are worth 50% more than pre-tax dollars)
    b) Disregard of $20,000 creates incentive NOT to work
    c) Mother gets head of household tax status, when father is forced to earn far more money
I do not believe the people who created this guidelines understood this huge hidden impact, or looked at the father's position at all.
3. We are encouraging mothers not to work and fathers to work under the table.
4. We are not giving children enough time with their fathers for proper development and growth. Working mothers would facilitate more time with dad.
5. We are creating a welfare system, and showing children, how to live off the labor of someone else, not be independent and contribute to society
The result of the current system is that the standard of living of a mother is 81% higher than the father when the father earns double, and 41% higher when the father earns triple. This might make some sense when children are of pre-school age and the mother must stay home, but it make no sense at all after that timeframe is up.
This system manufactures "deadbeat dads", drives fathers out of the state and country and even to suicide (9.9 times that of mothers after divorce). The fact is this system is harmful to children as a result. Dad lives in a dump and is unable to spend quality time with the children to balance out the female side of childrearing.
We need to take the money motivation out of divorce. This polarizes parents and hurts children.
We need to have more time for fathers and shared parenting responsibilities, allowing the mother to earn more and set a good example for their children, not a "welfare" example.
We need to allow fathers to survive financially and save for retirement too.
Lawyers are the only ones who gain from the current system and this is at a huge cost to children.
It is an impossible and ridiculous goal to think that the standard of living of a family will not go down after divorce. Especially when mothers are encouraged NOT to work. This fundamental flaw in the expectation of this system is a root problem.
I understand that the legal services people only work with poor women, but child support is not a solution to poverty and high percentages for all do not help here. This just forces fathers away, underground and into under the table cash jobs, exacerbating the problem further and harming children even more.
I encourage you to rethink this entire system. It is clear that the people that originally implemented it did not understand the repercussions on fathers and children that are now clear. Child support guidelines MUST be change downward in steps that phase out the disincentives that encourage capable mothers not to work and live off the indentured servitude of an ex-husband.
Fathers are banding together everywhere now to fight this system. Next year you will see many efforts to implement shared parenting, eliminate the abuse of restraining orders as an offensive weapon in divorce, a court watchers system and other initiatives. These are not symptoms of a successful system but a symptom of an oppressed class of people. Non-custodial parents are not treated just as second class citizens, but are often treated as criminals when they can not afford to live at a minimal level and pay the amounts ordered.
I trust more time and thought will go into this process this time than four years ago. The results are very clear when a close look is taken. The judicial system is encouraging divorce and making it a very desirable avenue for mothers. This is ripping the fabric of society apart and will hurt generations of children. The family courts need major reforms.
Sincerely, Robert - A concerned father whose children have been kidnapped by the state
The relative standard of living of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent caused by the current child support guidelines
is way too high. In fact it exceeds the actual cost of raising children when there should be an equal burden on the custodial parent.
  All other 49 states have a lower percentage of income than Massachusetts!          
Scenario Number: 1 2 3 4    
Mother's Income $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 Large incentive NOT to earn (or disclose) more
Father's Income $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000    
Child Support Payments (26%) $10,400 $15,600 $20,800 $26,000    
Federal, State & FICA Taxes (32%) $12,800 $19,200 $25,600 $32,000 < --- ALL taxes paid by father
TOTAL PERCENTAGE OF FATHER'S INCOME: 58.0% 58.0% 58.0% 58.0%    
Take-home Pay of Father $16,800 $25,200 $33,600 $42,000    
Take-home Pay of Mother $30,400 $35,600 $40,800 $46,000    
Mother's Taxable Equivalent Income $45,600 $53,400 $61,200 $69,000 <== Multiplied by 1.5 to gross up for a 33% tax rate.
Standard of Living of Mother Higher By: 81.0% 41.3% 21.4% 9.5%    
When father earns: 2X 3X 4X 5X    
This does NOT even take into account potential alimony payments, college costs/savings or the fact that the NCP also has the children and those costs sometimes!
During the divorce process if the father is paying for the marital home, and is not living there total costs can easily exceed 100% of his income.
In this common scenario (40,000 restraining orders issued per year and it seems most without good cause) nothing is left for the father to live on! Literally $0 without savings or borrowing.
Minimal living costs in Massachusetts: Monthly          
Apartment rental $        1,000          
Auto, insurance, gas $          200          
Food $          400          
Clothing $            50          
Utilities" Heat, electric, phone $          140          
Other, Miscellaneous $          150          
Total Monthly: $       1,940 Father can only afford this minimal living costs when earning $60,000 per year, far above the average income.
Annual:  $      23,280 <== Father pays over 50% of all living costs of mother in most scenarios, not 50% of children's living costs.
The current "Child Support" Guidelines in Massachusetts are effectively a welfare system for mothers that
places the entire financial burden of children on fathers. Many fathers would prefer to have more time with their children and this has been proven to be better for the children now.
"Child Extortion" would be a better description of this system, as the children are kidnapped by the state and the father is
then threatened with jail if he does not pay outrageous amounts to the mother for this unconstitutional act in robbing the father of his FUNDAMENTAL constitutional right to be a parent.
We want to SUPPORT our children with more than just money.
Please take the MONEY motivation out of the divorce process with Shared Parenting and equal rights for BOTH mothers and fathers!
We are harming GENERATIONS of children with this horrible system.  Good intentions are failing to produce a system that helps children, and in fact is harming them.
Eliminate or phase out the $20,000 disregard completely as it is an incentive NOT to earn a living for the mother.
Phase down the percentage of child support to half the current amount once all children are of school age and require the mother to work at least part-time.
Increase the time fathers can spend with their children to help them grow in ways that mothers cannot, giving mom more time to earn a living and be fulfilled and independent.
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 10:20 PM
Subject: My experience
To whom it may concern:
As you've hopefully been told many times, the Mass Child Support Guidelines have nothing to do with child support but everything to do with extortion.  The amount of child support calculated using the guidelines far exceeds the cost of raising any child other than Donald Trump's.  My complaints could fill 10 pages but I'll try to focus on a few items that are easily described, particularly outrageous, and hopefully within your intellectual capacity to grasp.  The following commentary assumes that the custodial parent is the mother and the non-custodial is the father, which we know is always the case except in rare circumstances.
Age of Emancipation:  Why is it that the father can pay child support up to age 23 in Massachusetts?  As far as I am aware, this is a 'WORST IN NATION FOR FATHERS' designation for Massachusetts.  I think that there are only a handful of states that require support beyond age 18, and those states stop at age 21 under all circumstances.
$20,000 Disregard:  To put it bluntly, what kind of crap is this?  Why is it that the father's child support payments should not drop 1 penny for the first $20,000 that the mother earns.  Again, this disregard is a 'WORST IN NATION FOR FATHERS' designation for Massachusetts.  Have you ever done a study on earnings of custodial parents?  I'll go out on a limb and guess that there are a cluster of mothers with income at or just lower than this $20,000.
The Child Support Formula:  Again, I present a challenge to you.  Assume that some couples are about to get divorced.  To ensure broad coverage of the guidelines, assume couples with the following characteristics:
    a) both parents are low-income (20k each, for example),
    b) both parents are high-income ($100k each, for example)
    c) the father is high-income and the mother is low-income
    d) the father is low-income and the mother is high-income.
Run each of these couples through the child support worksheets of all 50 states.  I'll go out on a limb once again and will declare Massachusetts to be 'WORST IN NATION FOR FATHERS'  in this exercise.  Try it out and prove me wrong.
Tax Impact on Payments:  Have you ever bothered to do a true cash-flow analysis, including a tax analysis, of these guidelines.  I did for my case.   I was earning about $95k and my ex-wife was earning about $10k.  When taxes were taken into account (child support is taxable to the father and non-taxable to the mother in case you weren't aware), my ex-wife had almost identical discretionary income, within a couple thousand dollars, as me.  And of course, if she wasn't so enriched by my payments to her, she could get off her ass and earn another $10k without affecting the extortion payments at all.  But why bother.
Most people don't have a 9.5 : 1 income ratio between the parents as I had.  For those with a smaller gap, undoubtedly the mother is always far better off than the father.  In addition, the mother can likely claim Head of Household and have other tax advantages that are afforded to low-income people.
Please take a moment and consider that these guidelines are such a boon to the mother that they actually encourage the mother to initiate divorce proceedings.  They'll have a guaranteed income stream, sometimes for life.  I stuck to my miserable 18-year marriage in part because I knew I would get financially destroyed by the process.  I must admit that if I knew I could keep my children that I love dearly, rid myself of my spendthrift wife, and get 30% or more of her gross income for 15 years I would have done that in a heartbeat.
For God's sake, do the right thing.  You'll meet your maker some day and hopefully you will have not have the stain of this immoral system on your soul.
Mike Carusi