The national divorce rate is approximately 57 percent, but those stats do not include California. Using California statistics from years 1996 through 2003, the average divorce rate in California is around 70 percent.

As of 2009, California’s child support system is the biggest in the nation. Representing 1.6 million cases. More than 10 percent of the federal caseload of 15 million. Los Angeles county alone serves more child support cases than the state of Georgia.

Parents are asking that legislation be introduced to make child support tax deductible. They aren’t asking to stop paying, they are asking for help so they can continue to pay. Fathers that I have spoken to are good parents, actively involved in their children’s lives. Let’s provide a tax break to the hundreds of thousands of good parents who are stepping up to the plate and meeting their child support obligation.

Currently child support is not tax deductible. Parents are now struggling to meet their child support obligation because of the economy. Fewer jobs, and those who have been let go of their current jobs are worried that they will fall behind on payments and the penalty for doing so can be swift and harsh. Penalties include loss of your drivers license, tax liens against your property, you can lose your professional licenses, and jail. National fathers and men’s rights columnist Glenn Sacks has complained that “such harsh treatment of fathers only hounds them into hiding”, and he is correct. Fathers who would be willing to pay are in financial hardship. He said in one interview that “many non-custodial parents want to pay child support, but they are down on their financial luck.”

The Federal Agency for Child Support Enforcement reports that about 70% of all child support arrears is owed by men earning less than $10,000 a year. But there are hundreds of thousands of fathers/mothers in California who are paying their child support and need help. While we are concerned about jail and prison costs, by giving non-custodial parents paying child support a tax break, we could further reduce jail and prison costs. Fathers are incarcerated solely for non payment.

Stats from 2002 say 84% of child support providers are men.

Parents must pay child support even though they are not able to exercise their visitation rights. To enforce an existing visitation order, a parent must file a show cause motion against the parent withholding visitation. The duty to support is separate from the right to access and have visitation.

 Fathers I have been speaking have legitimate concerns, that they have zero control over how child support is used by the custodial parent. They are concerned that it doesn't benefit the children, but the mother's newest boyfriend or that it goes to buy drugs or alcohol. None of the non-monetary support counts, even if the mother and father want it to count and even if they agree in writing that it should count.

We need to provide a tax break to the hundreds of thousands of good parents who are stepping up to the plate and paying their child support obligation by making child support tax deductible. It's the right thing to do.

Please contact Assemblyman Bill Berryhill and let him know that you support this important legislative idea. Contact legislative director- Matt Roman at 916-319-2026. Or you can contact his field rep John Freeman at 209-473-6972.

Linda Taylor.

Let's help parents by making child support tax deductible.

The Stanislaus County Insider

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