This is a hot button issue for me. I watched my father obliterate every familial financial asset in order to make sure he received custody of us children (who wanted to live with our mother for the most part), and be allowed to pay the most miserly child support ($125.[sup]00[/sup] per child each month back in ~1970).
However, your idea of confinement solely for the forced recovery of assets (back-support) treads far too much upon a slippery slope that leads to the poorhouse of old. You yourself mention the “workhouse.” I suggest you read up on debtor’s prisons and their sordid history. America was one of the first nations to abolish debtor’s prison and for very good reasons. Read Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” if you are still unclear on the subject.
Go ahead and garnish wages, expropriate income tax refunds, deny sporting licenses (I suggest including noncommercial or recreational boating registration and pilot’s licenses as well.), do all of these combined. I do not and cannot agree with revocation of driving privileges, as these can represent a vital resource in obtaining steady employment.
You have noted the self-defeating aspect of jailing someone. I suggest that denying them fundamental support and medical benefits is similarly counterproductive. A healthy person is more capable of paying you back. I’ll suggest some more effective alternatives at the end of this post.
For people who have shown a prior history of bad faith, electronic tagging or other forms of house arrest (i.e., a traceable telephone call every hour) may be a proper solution. The issues of interstate flight figure quite prominently in this discussion. The courts cannot properly deny an unconvicted person the right of free movement to another state in order to improve their own quality of life. Relocation might increase their wages and ability to pay.
Good efforts are finally being made. I’d suggest a few more:[ul][li] A federal mandate that deadbeat parents be required to undergo maximum W-2 withholdings from all earnings. This would be in conjunction with both garnishment and expropriation of annual refunds. A quarterly payout system might need to be evolved in order to better serve dependents’ needs. The monetary increased overhead to cover quarterly reporting and disbursal would come from a penalty fund paid by the offenders.[/li]
[li] In order to move out of state, convicted deadbeats should be required to register at their new locale and be subject to increased wage withholding and monitoring. The track record of deadbeats moving out of state in order to complicate recovery of funds is too dismal to be ignored.[/li]
[li] Again, recreational licenses, i.e., pilots’, boats, snowmobiles, hunting, fishing, sailing and any other sort nonessential sporting pursuit should be denied anyone who is in arrears. Being a deadbeat should involve not having much fun on a regular basis.[/li]
[li] If it were possible, there should be tracking of home purchases and sales in order to monitor an offender’s acquisition or disposal of real property. [/li]
[li] Similar tracking of business partnership and incorporation plus stocks and securities purchases might be of use as well. This could possibly include a ban on hold offshore bank accounts so as to discourage sheltering or concealment of assets.[/li]
[li] Revocation of one’s passport might also have to be a feature of such an extensive program. This would serve to hinder both flight to avoid payment and a portion of parental child abductions too. It would (as with the recreational prohibitions) serve to restrict such luxury (and expensive) activities as overseas travel. Exceptions would have to be granted on a case by case basis and the possibility of posting a bond to ensure one’s return might be needed as well. [/ul][/li][quote]
While I find this amusing I wonder is “shame” the way to go about this?
Back when “shame” had very much effect as a form of social censorship, divorce was so scandalous that deadbeat parents more often just slipped away entirely and went to another country (please refer to the travel restrictions mentioned above).
Rather well. I was abducted as a child and am fully aware of the financial blackmail imposed by the courts to reunite us children with our financially equipped and abusive father.
Not yet, but great strides have been made in the past few decades. The glacial progress may readily be attributed to the distinct lack of female politicians. Once there is any sort of reasonable gender parity in our political and legal system, big changes should be in store. This is one small reason I seek out every reason possible to vote for women candidates.