• Why is every dad a deadbeat?

    by Gary Huerta

    Consider this: You have an American Express card. You make your payments on time and have done so for years. You think everything’s okay. But one day, you come home from work and open a letter from AMEX saying that your payment is 15 days late. As a result, they’re going to notify every credit agency, close your account, and do a variety of things to collect what you so recklessly refused to pay.

    There is no courtesy notice. No letter saying, “Hey Mr. Customer with an excellent payment history, we noticed you forgot to pay.” All you get is an overt threat to ruin your life.

    That’s what it’s like being a non-custodial parent who must deal with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). In their eyes, we’re all just deadbeats who can be shaken down for money at any time. And there’s no escape.

    Why does the DCSS feel it’s their divine right and duty to treat me and every other non-custodial father like deadbeat dads? I have no idea.

    I pay my child support on time, and have for several years. I’ve even been ahead on payments for long periods of time. DCSS is aware of my good payment history because it’s been automatically deducts payments from my paychecks for nearly six years. But yesterday, I received a threatening letter from DCSS informing me that I owe them $1,046.59 in back support. This equals approximately 15 days worth of support. Despite being less than one month past due, their letter threatens to: seize money or assets held by financial institutions, seize and suspend my drivers license and professional licenses, and a host of other penalties.

    Yeah, I know. My problem with the DCSS isn’t very high on anyone’s list of things that are dysfunctional in government. Nevertheless, it’s a problem that plagues a lot of men who are caught in a system that classifies us as subhuman creatures with no desire to meet their obligations.

    Are there a lot of men out there who fail to meet their support obligations and deserve to be called deadbeats? Yes. But there are even more who pay support in a timely manner and make every attempt to honor their financial support to their children. They don’t deserve to be treated as the scum of the earth. I fall into the latter category.

    Aside from my monthly recurring bills — utilities, rent and such — I have no debt whatsoever. I don’t owe credit card companies, lenders or any individual one red cent. In my opinion, this, combined with years of consistently paying my child support obligation, gives me the right to demand some common courtesy from the DCSS. But like every other paying customer of DCSS, my opinion doesn’t mean jack shit. So I took it upon myself to dig into the matter.

    Upon receiving the threatening correspondence, I immediately looked at my pay stubs to see what the issue could be. I wasn’t aware that I owed any back child support and was eager to see what the issue could be.

    What I discovered was rather interesting. In August, my wages were garnished an additional $800 above and beyond the court ordered amount of support. The DCSS is not allowed to do this. They cannot, under any circumstances, take more than the court-ordered amount. This I know, because one of their representatives told me so a couple weeks ago when I called regarding a similar overpayment in the amount of $392 during the month of September.

    With those overpayments in August and September, it looks as though I am ahead of my support obligation by $145.41.

    When I tried calling DCSS to rectify the matter, I got a recording letting me know their system was down and they had no access to any records. If you’ve ever dealt with DCSS, you know this isn’t uncommon, and even if you do speak to a living person, they often don’t know your payment history. All they seem to know is what is due month-to-month.

    For the longest time, I wondered why they’re so inept at knowing account histories and so good at knowing what they are owed. Here’s why:

    DCSS is not some altruistic company serving the best interests of families. They are a for-profit organization, acting as a middleman, taking money from one party, holding onto it for awhile and then dispersing it to the other party. While they hold the money, they earn interest. To increase the amount of time they can earn interest, they disperse the money via debit cards. Any amount remaining on those cards earns them interest. Purchases made on the card likewise result in profit.

    With this vested interest in collections, it’s impossible for DCSS to treat the paying parent with anything other than contempt. When they are owed, they act like gangsters using threats and scare tactics to impose their will. Why? Because money owed equals revenues lost.

    Why else does DCSS feel they have the authority to threaten fathers and basically do everything but whack us in a dark alley? Because the state governments, which receives the revenue, not only condones their behavior, but is support via an apathetic court system.

    With that in mind, let’s revisit the original scenario: American Express sends you that threatening letter. But instead of telling them to fuck off and canceling the card, you realize you have no choice but to endure their thuggish behavior for seven more years, without any recourse or way to end the relationship.

    In the end, you can only look forward to a phone call from a representative named Guido. He’ll have a thick Sicilian accent. He won’t know what your balance is, and can only tell you to pay the money or have your legs broken.


      • sayitsnotso

      • October 21, 2012 at 4:50 am
      • Reply

      CORRUPTION IN LA COUNTY

      Hell, the City of Bell alone will account for 20% of criminal behaviors in Los Angeles County, the other 80% can be divided up between The Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

      The Los Angeles County Department of Child Support Services has been able to get away with using fraudulent accounting schemes because they factor in, and count on the poor illiteracy rate of the public. In that, Department Heads at all Los Angeles County Departments have a keen focus on the standardized test scores coming from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and surrounding academic institutions. Based on the inferior scores in mathematics and low academic acumen that Los Angeles Citizens possess, Department Heads know exactly who, how and when to dupe the public. These Department Heads can appear “ALL KNOWING AND ALL WISE” because the people they serve receive inferior education, inferior health care, inferior housing, and inferior food.

      Evidence suggests that Wendy Greuel is deficient in executing basic addition and subtraction, and is looking the other way while the City of Commerce – LA County Child Support Services Department have been bilking Los Angeles Citizens for many years.



    • Sorry for all your issues with DCSS. Gary, I have heard this story before from people dealing with government agencies. Why did you have to go through DCSS and your paycheck rather than just writing your ex a check each month? Seems so much easier. I think sometimes the court sees the situation differently but maybe you can change the payment plan to personal checks. I think this is easier than tackling an agency that has no idea what it computers send out each month. Threatening notices irk law abiding payers and I can see why you are pissed.


      • Gary Huerta

      • October 21, 2012 at 10:40 am
      • Reply

      Madge, A great question.

      Why did I have to go through DCSS? Because my ex, through the advice of her vicious attorney, knew it would create a lot of pain for a lot of years. My ex has sought every possible way to make life difficult and DCSS is more than happy to help because they make money doing it.

      The sick thing is once you are in their system, there is absolutely no way out of it with one exception – the custodial parent (my ex) has to agree that DCSS does not need to be involved. I have tried to convince my ex that it would be in everyone’s best interests to get rid of their meddling – because I could pay her in one lump sum directly. But my ex refuses because she knows the kind of shit they pull and loves it.

      Someday, some clever guy is going to write a book about the dysfunction that goes on during divorce and help other guys get through it. Sort of a survival guide for men. I predict that will be a very popular book.


      • Kelvin

      • October 21, 2012 at 11:15 am
      • Reply

      This i why I skipped the kids and went straight to grandkids. 🙂 Sorry, buddy. I’ve seen this played out many times. I know plenty of guys who pay and are treated like criminals.



    • Lots of sites on the internet for divorcing dads. Sorry your ex is being so obstinate about it. I did mediation for about 5 years with divorcing couples. So much more acceptable than using lawyers. But it is a voluntary service. I feel your pain as I did many mediated divorces and saw the wonderful results. It also makes for great relationships for everyone but. most for the kids when they see sharing among their parents. So sorry this wasn’t your experience.


      • Dorine Mathieu

      • October 21, 2012 at 11:46 am
      • Reply

      Hi Gary, Sorry for your pain with another of our broken systems! Many years a go, I was on the other end of this scenerio. The DCSS had my former husband deliquent by two months, although he was up to date. My story-filed my taxes, went to get my refund and they (government) had taken $1500 said I owed the government. Two mos. of calling (was like trying to call God), finally spoke with a guy in TN and said I owed child support. Four mos. later at my own expense DCSS said they had made a mistake and switched our Soc Sec numbers. Great, huh? I thought okay, this is done. Six years later, the only time I have ever filed for unemployment my Soc Sec number comes up as my former husband and they have been crediting him for my wages ever since that one mistake!

      You don’t sound like a deadbeat dad at all, and don’t let the system get you down! I had to go through DCSS or I would have never seen a dime. It does go both ways, depends on the integrity of the person on the other end. Sadly, when the kid(s) are eighteen it is never truly over. Just went through a wedding..and that’s another story. Chin up and a book sounds great. Would love to see the book include both genders who get taken for a ride on this bumpy road.
      -D


      • Sayitsnotso

      • October 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm
      • Reply

      Hello Gary, I fully understand the endless cycle of LA County DCSS dysfunction and the anger that comes with it!

      Hell, the City of Bell alone will account for 20% of criminal behaviors in Los Angeles County, the other 80% can be divided up between The Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department and the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

      Evidence suggests that Wendy Greuel is deficient in executing basic addition and subtraction, and is looking the other way while the City of Commerce – LA County Child Support Services Department have been bilking Los Angeles Citizens for many years. WENDY GREUEL IS ENGAGING IN NOTICEABLE CORRUPTION- AND THE BI.. WANTS TO BE MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES, GO FIGURE?


      • Jeff

      • October 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm
      • Reply

      Gary,

      Hello from Afghanistan!

      Consider this: Lets pitch a reality show, it’s a fast-paced ad-dude reality show from the network that hooked you on Mad Men …Does Dead Broke = Deadbeat? “Deadbeat” or just “Dead Broke” It will feature a Satanist, a Discordian, an Alchemist, an Astrologer and Jon Gosselin.


      • Sayitsnotso

      • October 22, 2012 at 12:11 am
      • Reply

      We need child support enforcement reform now.

      Several years ago I was engaged in an Appeal in the California Appellate system, on the very same subject. To make a long story short; evidence suggested that LA County was deficient in executing basic addition and subtraction. I paid 26 time via the LA County DCSS wage garnishment (because my ex did not like me handing her a check, go figure) not 24 times as the system is set up to understand, so I receeived the same threating letters every year, only to be told “you have overpaid and good luck good luck in obtaining your tax refunds they sent my ex.

      He.., the City of Bell alone will account for 20% of criminal behaviors in Los Angeles County, the other 80% can be divided up between The Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

      From the beginning, the Courts should enforce a shared/equal parenting time by default and both parents are responsible 50/50 for child expenses only – see 14th Amendment of Constitution – Equal protection of the Law. Too much government has created a broken Family Law system. The only winners are the Lawyers! The State should not be transferring wealth to correct the imbalance of bad decisions and lack of foresight by consenting adults. Mom and Dad are both equally liable for basic child expenses only (food, shelter), all other expenses (Day Care, Private School, Foreign Language, Sports etc.) must be consented or non-liable to the parent. Nobody gets a free ride!



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