Tomorrow I go to jail for child support. (self.MensRights)

416 ups - 88 downs = 328 votes

I've desperately looked for a job to no avail. A company I did contract work for owes me a LOT of money which I have no way to afford an attorney right now. How can they expect someone out if work to pay $762 a month with no income. Not even going to get started on where the money actually goes... For once I've been unable to come up with something and I have nothing. I'm supposed to have at minimum $400 paid online or brought in by tomorrow or it's jail for me with the set amount to the total past due/arrears. No spending Christmas with my son, I've got a heart condition and many other health problems, last year I lost my house, both cars and nearly everything I owned. Everything I have is pretty much in pawn and what little is in storage. I've had things up for sale for months with no luck...guess Christmas time is a bad time to sell your things. I hate the stupid laws of child support. First my son never sees a dime of it since she makes her house payment with it...I mean how does my son go without a good winter jacket when I pay her nearly 10k a year. (When I found out I got him one). How can you just be sent to jail to rack up more past due support without having an option to get a job, especially when you've gone to jail for child support and that comes up on your record. I hate this BS! Anyways, nice knowing you gentlemen. Keep fighting the good fight! Someday we'll fix these stupid laws.

Edit: please note I'm not asking anyone to help me with money. I had help once before and still struggling to pay that person back now. This is just a PSA. Thank you though.

EDIT2: woohoo !! Continued till Jan 9th!!!! Took my medication, medical records , and some proof of the company that crapped me on money they owe. The judge gave me till after the break. I am free, free at last! Well, for a few more weeks. But dang it, this crippled system needs to be changed!

209 comments submitted at 23:23:39 on Dec 18, 2013 by jasonhartsoe

  • [-]
  • carchamp1
  • 85 Points
  • 03:06:29, 19 December

Yep. Slavery.

Slavery exists in the year 2013 in the United States of America. I know for some it's hard to believe. They refuse to see the obvious truth because, you know, that sort of thing doesn't happen here.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • -60 Points
  • 05:16:10, 19 December

Does no one think this is slightly melodramatic? And I don't really mean "slightly"

  • [-]
  • TheGDBatman
  • 33 Points
  • 06:11:19, 19 December

"You pay us or we jail you. We don't care if you're unemployed and broke. And when you get out, you still owe the money plus interest."

Hm. Well, technically it's not slavery, I guess. Closer to indentured servitude, although those people had half a chance of getting out of debt.

  • [-]
  • Revoran
  • 19 Points
  • 06:44:46, 19 December

Indentured servitude is a form of slavery and I would say that "pay us child support or be put in jail" is pretty close to indentured servitude.

It's not chattel slavery, though, which is probably what you meant when you said "slavery". Chattel slavery is where you own the other person (and any children they have) as property and force them to work for you - for instance black slaves in the USA pre-civil war.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • -36 Points
  • 06:27:42, 19 December

I just find it very insensitive as an African American for child support to be compared to slavery. Just be careful. I'm not saying it's not unfair. But that is a bit melodramatic and anyone outside this community would think that's an inappropriate comparison.

  • [-]
  • band_ofthe_hawk92
  • 25 Points
  • 07:42:04, 19 December

Just because you're black doesn't mean you have a monopoly on the word slavery. I sorry to be blunt.

I feel the same way about alimony as well. Any system which forces you to unfairly financially support someone on the threat of jail time is slavery via indentured servitude.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • -17 Points
  • 08:04:01, 19 December

I disagree that child support is unfair all the time. In this man's case, yes. But at the same time, you chose to have a child. You have to be responsible for those decisions, regardless of whether or not you chose to get a divorce or wanted a divorce or whatever. If he was in credit car debt facing jail time no one would be up in arms about how credit card companies are forcing him into slavery. But, if you marry a woman, impregnate her, then chose to leave and don't get custody, you should be financially responsible if you have the necessary resources to do so. There have been many asshole men who have never once paid court mandated child support and have never gone to jail. Slavery is a gross over magnification of the unfairness at play here. That's like calling abortion clinics concentration camps to an extent. I know I don't have a monopoly of slavery because I'm black, but this circle jerk needs to calm down with the rhetoric sometimes.

  • [-]
  • Peter_Principle_
  • 4 Points
  • 14:31:10, 19 December

>But at the same time, you chose to have a child. You have to be responsible for those decisions,

Yes, responsibility for your child, NOT responsibilty for ensuring your ex wife lives a life of luxury at your expense.

BTW, do you notice how you are using langauge to obfuscate the forced nature of this arrangement?

>If he was in credit car debt facing jail time no one would be up in arms

When you go into credit card debt, that is entirely by your own choice and by your own actions. The credit card company does not force you to buy things you can't afford, and they certainly don't force you to give your money to them in return for nothing. The credit card company does not increase your payments (and the balance you owe!) based on upward changes in your income, and they certainly don't alter that amount based on absolutely dastardly criteria such as the money they think you could be making. You can delcare bankruptcy and escape credit card debt, you can deal with debt collectors. Credit card companies aren't going to take away your drivers or business license.

It seems like you really aren't that familiar with how child support operates in the US.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • 1 Points
  • 15:54:25, 19 December

Really? If you chose to go into credit card debt it's your fault? Are you delusional? What if it's like this guY, where you use the credit card just to get by and then all the sudden you lose your job, or you miss one payment because of an unforseen expense? You're really ignorant if you think credit card debt is by choice. Yes, there are some differences, but I'm sorry, this guy couldn't take care of his kid if he had custody. The mother deserves custody of his kid because she actually had a job. This guy had a kid when he clearly lacks the resources to support that kid. He doesn't deserve to go to jail, but slavery is implying that he was entirely coerced into this situation against his free will. No one made him have a child, and no one made him get married. Just like with credit cards no one made you buy things and no one forced you into debt. Unlucky circumstances caused both situations of debt, not some system intended into trapping innocent men into "slavery"

  • [-]
  • Peter_Principle_
  • 3 Points
  • 16:54:04, 19 December

>Are you delusional?

No, but it seems like you are. Please cite one instance where a credit card company threatened to put a person in prison if they didn't use their card to make a particular purchase. Show me an instance where a credit card company picked someone and said "We know you haven't made any purchases with this card, but guess what? We're going to just arbitrarily put a balance of $10,000 on your account. Now pay us, or go to jail because we're the government."

If NOTHING else, when you buy something with your credit card, you get something in return. You don't even get the satisfaction of having received some good or service with CS payments.

>where you use the credit card just to get by and then all the sudden you lose your job, or you miss one payment because of an unforseen expense?

It's unfortunate your worldview is so inexplicably limited, but there are other choices in your scenario. This is not a situation where you have no choice, and that is what differentiates family courts and CS orders from voluntarily accured debt.

>No one made him have a child

Really? How do you know? It is quite easy for a woman to force a man to have child, since the responsibility for chosing to do so rests almost entirely with her.

But the point you seem to be missing is that having a child can reasonably said to obligate him to care for the child. That does not, however, reasonably translate into obligating him to care for his ex. Their relationship is over, and she is certainly no longer beholden to him in any way. Equal treatment under the law dictates that he should no longer be beholden to her. Each parent pays for the child when the child is with that particular parent. One parent may pay more but that is the consequence of being able to spend more time with your child.

>some system intended into trapping innocent men into "slavery"

You're aware that the federal government pays the state governments to collect child support, yes? It would appear that the CS system is deliberately designed to ensure that it extracts the maximum amount of money from men as possible.

  • [-]
  • Plot_twist_man
  • 5 Points
  • 08:31:52, 19 December

I don't see why you being black gives you the right to act like you know what he's going through, and that it's not as bad. http://americancivilwar.com/authors/black_slaveowners.htm You don't have a right to judge, maybe your great grandfather does MAYBE but not you.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • -10 Points
  • 08:47:30, 19 December

Why? Sorry that I think being punished for not keeping up with your financial responsibilities (let's remember this guy is most likely not going to go to jail. It's more of a threat to scared him than an actual possibility) is no where near as bein forced against your will to pick cotton, be whipped and beaten daily, and be denied of basic human rights like freedom of movement, speech, assembly, etc. etc. yeah it sucks what he's going through, but at the heart of this comparison to slavery, that claim is over exaggerated and only a fool wouldn't recognize that.

  • [-]
  • Peter_Principle_
  • 2 Points
  • 20:17:41, 19 December

>It's more of a threat to scared him than an actual possibility) is no where near as bein forced against your will to pick cotton, be whipped and beaten daily

House slaves weren't treated that way. I guess they weren't really enslaved either!

>denied of basic human rights like freedom of movement

If the movement, speech and assembly you'd like to engage in interferes with your ability to maintain your current income, these rights are in fact denied.

I wish I could slap people like you - those who think child support isn't any big deal, and it's the right and proper thing to do - with a child support order. After a few years of being run through the family court grinder you'd be singing a different tune.

  • [-]
  • Plot_twist_man
  • 2 Points
  • 09:10:17, 19 December

Why get so upset about it though? It wasn't even a exaggeration really, merely a metaphor. Also he's going to jail, just like someone stated above (maybe you) it's the same as credit card debt, the only difference is that this is very unfair.

  • [-]
  • jpflathead
  • 2 Points
  • 17:58:38, 19 December

> I just find it very insensitive as an African American for child support to be compared to slavery.

I can understand, I think, your sensitivity with that, and I don't think anyone wants to compare child support to the cruel system that was American slavery.

However, around the world we see modern accounts of slavery. https://www.google.com/search?q=british+slavery+2011 (or 2010, 2012, 2013) and these in many ways are similar to how I and other men in the US have been "enslaved".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2038379/UK-slavery-2011-Vulnerable-men-snatched-Britains-streets-travellers.html

Slavery in 2011: Vulnerable men snatched off Britain's streets by travellers, kept in squalor, their benefits seized, and forced into hard labour

That's a pretty apt description of my life.

I hate my job, I hate the industry, and yet, I cannot change jobs to one that would be more satisfying IF it happens to pay me less. I live month to month never sure of the next month's rent. And I can be thrown in jail if I say no to this. And worse, I can be thrown in jail if I lose my job.

Describing this as modern era slavery seems pretty reasonable.

I am giving you an upvote because your comment:

> I just find it very insensitive as an African American for child support to be compared to slavery. Just be careful. I'm not saying it's not unfair. But that is a bit melodramatic and anyone outside this community would think that's an inappropriate comparison.

seems utterly reasonable to me and sounds like me when I have asked AVFM to stop posting analogies of men to Jews being killed by the Nazis.

  • [-]
  • ILoveHate
  • 2 Points
  • 17:16:19, 19 December

Black people aren't/weren't the only slaves in the fucking world you know. Here's the wiki on debt bondage. And this isn't something that happened in the past, it's happening right now.

What exactly do you see as slavery?

  • [-]
  • missssghost
  • 1 Points
  • 23:43:36, 19 December

Didn't you know this is White Men's Rights only? :/

  • [-]
  • Revoran
  • 12 Points
  • 06:40:54, 19 December

It's fairly accurate.

When people say "slavery" they're usually talking about chattel slavery (black people picking cotton for white masters etc etc). Clearly child support is not the same as chattel slavery.

But there are many types of slavery and I would argue that enforcing child support on the threat of jail is pretty close to debt-bondage or indentured servitude.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • -25 Points
  • 06:56:00, 19 December

Yeah man, I understand. Like having a credit card? Fucking slavery man. Modern day slavery

  • [-]
  • Jesus_marley
  • 4 Points
  • 17:36:18, 19 December

a credit card is a debt incurred. This is a debt imposed. When one accepts a credit card and uses it, they are entering into a contract to repay the money they borrow from the creditor.

A man has zero choice with regard to whether a child is born and yet, they are held to a standard of responsibility for the choices made by another person. To use your credit card analogy, it is holding you financially responsible to pay for my purchases. responsibility without choice is slavery. plain and simple.

  • [-]
  • Virulentt
  • -1 Points
  • 18:11:11, 19 December

"A man has zero choice" one whether the child is born or not? Are you kidding me? Are you delusional? Having protected else is as much the man's responsibility as it is the woman's responsibility. Even more, in some cases. You chose to have sex with that woman. Even if you were protected and wrapped up, by having sex you accepted the risk of having a child. Also, you chose to marry the woman. Either way, no one can make you have a child/make you marry a woman and pay child support after the divorce. The man always had some sort of choice along the way, unless he was forcibly raped and blackmailed into marrying the woman.

  • [-]
  • Jesus_marley
  • 3 Points
  • 19:28:46, 19 December

If a woman does not want a child, there is no child. even if she has it and then decides it is too much, she can adopt it away (without the need for the fathers consent), safe drop it, abandon it or kill it and face a reduced charge of infanticide assuming she is even charged at all. If she wants to keep it, he has zero say in the matter.

As for sex, consnet to sex is not consent to parenthood. This has been an established legal precedent for nigh on 50 years. Thus why abortion is legal. Marriage is not requirement for establishing child support or even alimony, in some jurisdictions. and even in cases of proven rape, the father is held responsible for the resultant child.

Every single one of your arguments is demonstrably wrong.

  • [-]
  • gprime312
  • 7 Points
  • 09:44:21, 19 December

Pay 800 dollars to a woman that doesn't spend it on your child or go to jail. That is indentured servitude, which is slavery. Your skin color has no bearing on the definitions of words.

  • [-]
  • JimHarbis
  • 9 Points
  • 08:55:49, 19 December

Pretty fucking annoying how the moment someone responds passionately it becomes 'melodramatic'

Fuck you.

  • [-]
  • sammurabi
  • -56 Points
  • 04:08:37, 19 December

It's actually not slavery. That's a different thing, fyi.

  • [-]
  • carchamp1
  • 48 Points
  • 04:11:54, 19 December

Debtor's prison is, in fact, a form of slavery.

  • [-]
  • sammurabi
  • -42 Points
  • 04:21:18, 19 December

Is this "debtor's prison"? Or just the same jail that we'd all go to if we broke the law by not paying child support?

  • [-]
  • carchamp1
  • 33 Points
  • 04:29:40, 19 December

Actually, most of the people (that is men) in the local and county jails that house "child" support debtors are incarcerated for ... non-payment of "child" support, alimony, or some other type of "support". These places are for all intents and purposes debtor's prisons that happen to house a few ordinary criminals.

  • [-]
  • sammurabi
  • -31 Points
  • 04:38:30, 19 December

Ok, fair enough.

But it's not slavery. Well, at least not in my definition of slavery, which includes something about being owned by another human being.

  • [-]
  • nick012000
  • 29 Points
  • 04:48:57, 19 December

They are owned by another human being: their ex-wives.

  • [-]
  • Hikikomori523
  • 19 Points
  • 04:59:05, 19 December

they are owned by the state, and can work for the state making license plates, military gear, carpentry, electronics, and other various tasks. Essentially slave labor.

  • [-]
  • sammurabi
  • 2 Points
  • 17:53:12, 19 December

Are all prison inmates slaves?

  • [-]
  • Hikikomori523
  • 2 Points
  • 17:55:59, 19 December

they are once you're able to use them for labor. you can cut out all competition by paying them pennies on the dollar, federal/state wage laws do not apply to them.

  • [-]
  • sammurabi
  • 0 Points
  • 17:37:55, 19 December

Um, sure, but you do realize that this "ownership" was entered into voluntarily and willingly, right?

The slavery I'm referring to is the kind that doesn't allow for free will or choice.

  • [-]
  • DinoDonkeyDoodle
  • 1 Points
  • 20:08:05, 19 December

That's a pretty sweeping statement? What about sperm jackers, contraceptive liars, serial support seekers, and female rapists who do it to get pregnant? That is imposing someone else into debt slavery completely against their will in all accounts.

You can focus on those men who were naive enough to believe in love or dumb enough to knock a girl up, but that ignores quantifiable portions of this prison population who are subject to a much more sinister and well-established trend.

Not allowing a man to leave a profession to seek something he loves without child support having no chance to go down because this was a "voluntary" drop in income is a crime in of itself. It assumes that all men will just deliver pizza to avoid child support and precludes from discussion the notion that the man has feelings, goals, and ambitions, or was simply fired in the worst economy since the Great Depression. In effect he is denied personhood and is jailed if circumstances change.

  • [-]
  • sammurabi
  • 1 Points
  • 21:44:44, 19 December

Which is the sweeping statement?

I'm just saying it doesn't make sense to compare the very first world problem of "sperm jackers" with the great and foul national stain of slavery.

  • [-]
  • nick012000
  • 1 Points
  • 00:19:57, 20 December

I doubt that they realised that they were being enslaved when they signed that marriage certificate.

  • [-]
  • oneiorosgrip
  • 12 Points
  • 05:11:07, 19 December

What is the significant difference between indentured servitude, serfdom, and slavery?
Semantics.
And a semantics argument doesn't make the state imposing a debt on an individual (often based on another individual's choice, as the majority of divorce is initiated by women) under threat of jail for nonpayment anything less than a claim of ownership conferring a "right" to force labor upon the individual. Seeking out another word or phrase to make the concept more palatable for you isn't going to change that.

  • [-]
  • kennywu1005
  • 3 Points
  • 05:36:48, 19 December

serfdom allowed you many more freedoms than indentured servitude or slavery. In serfdom you were your own and could have your own finances as long as you paid your share to your local lord. It was much more mutually beneficial than indentured servitude or slavery. Indentured servitude is how England got away with enslaving the Irish folk and slavery is as old as time. I would say on a scale of less to more shitty , it would go, Serfdom, indentured servitude, debtors prison, slavery. Indentured servitude you were still relatively free, just all money you earned went to whoever you owed the debts to but they also had to pay for your well being. Slavery, you have no protection under the law. Serfdom you are protected under the law and can keep what you make after taxation, but you are a second class citizen.

  • [-]
  • HeallunRumblebelly
  • -4 Points
  • 05:29:52, 19 December

indentured servitude is often optional, barring coercion.

  • [-]
  • carchamp1
  • 5 Points
  • 06:01:56, 19 December

There is no meaningful difference between the way modern day "child" support and marriage/divorce works and how debtor's prisons and other forms of indentured servitude have worked in the past. If you owe your ex child support or alimony, for example, you are REQUIRED to work and pay this debt under the threat of prison. We really do have forced labor today through our "family" courts. For all intents and purposes your ex DOES own you.

  • [-]
  • Revoran
  • 3 Points
  • 06:47:39, 19 December

>Ok, fair enough. But it's not slavery. Well, at least not in my definition of slavery, which includes something about being owned by another human being.

There is many different forms of slavery. There are more slaves in the world today than there was 200 years ago.

For instance forced marriage, child labour, sex-slavery, serfdom, debt-bondage/indentured servitude and chattel slavery (the latter one is what you're thinking of when you say "slavery") are all kinds of slavery. Obviously not all are exactly the same - not all are equal.

Jailing child support owers is pretty similar to indentured servitude which as I said above is a form of slavery.

  • [-]
  • gprime312
  • 2 Points
  • 09:45:14, 19 December

Your definition is incomplete.

  • [-]
  • Hikikomori523
  • 13 Points
  • 04:57:34, 19 December

if you do not have the money to pay you go to prison, if you do not have the money within 30 days of being out of prison, you will go back to prison.

In some places there isn't even a 30 day limit, once your sentence is up if you cannot pay support plus back pay for the support you missed while in prison, your sentence is lengthened. It is essentially a life term. This has happened to Dave Foley from The Kids in the Hall and he talks very openly about how he cannot return to Canada because if he does, he will be arrested and imprisoned for life.

  • [-]
  • jasonhartsoe
  • 8 Points
  • 05:18:51, 19 December

Wow I had no idea about Dave and this. Going to go read up on him. Also you are exactly right. Tomorrow I'll face the judge and be sentenced until I can come up with the total amount owed rather than the $400. Every two months they will bring you up, knock a few hundred off the amount give or take and ask if you can pay it. When you can't they set you another court date two months away and continue this until you are at $0. All while your debt grows even more. Once you're out you are ordered right back and the cycle starts over again. I wasn't able to get mine lowered because I was told it's what I made previously and had no problem paying obviously and that's the "potential", word they kept using, to make and will not lower it even though I'm out of work. Well I can't afford an attorney so I couldn't fight it. I'm worried about my son and his future with me gone. I worry about my health: I've passed 93 kidney stones, have mild kidney disease, I've had atrial fibrillation since the marines 9 years ago, blockage in my right external carotid that needs a check up, last EKG showed my bundle branch block had worsened to .12 on my qrs, I'm anemic, hypoglycemia, low b12, iron and T, swelling in my legs and feet and the list goes on. I'm on toprol xl, rythmol, aspirin, b12, iron, potassium and lasix(when needed). Only thing I don't have yet is cancer, but I know it's inevitable since I've had over 20ct scans in my lifetime...mainly from stones. I'm a fighter and hate losing a fight, but this one I just can't win.

  • [-]
  • assemblethenation
  • 2 Points
  • 13:11:09, 19 December

Hey they might let you go if you end up costing them a ton of $$$ to support your medical conditions.

They will take care of you healthwise won't they? I know there are prisons where folks are left to rot, but maybe you can go in prepared with whatever documentation you need to show your medical requirements.

  • [-]
  • FloranHunter
  • 5 Points
  • 05:47:53, 19 December

What on earth do you think debtor's prison is?

  • [-]
  • kennywu1005
  • 3 Points
  • 05:31:58, 19 December

You're right it's not slavery. However... under federal laws debtors prison is deemed unconstitutional.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debtors'prison#Moderndebtors.27prisons.281970-current.29

In 1970, the Court ruled in Williams v. Illinois that extending a maximum prison term because a person is too poor to pay fines or court costs violates the right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.[35] During 1971 in Tate v. Short, the Court found it unconstitutional to impose a fine as a sentence and then automatically convert it into a jail term solely because the defendant is indigent and cannot forthwith pay the fine in full.[36] And in the 1983 ruling for Bearden v. Georgia the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment bars courts from revoking probation for a failure to pay a fine without first inquiring into a person’s ability to pay and considering whether there are adequate alternatives to imprisonment.[37]

State laws still allow it, however technically a state law cannot supersede a federal law but nobody seems to care in this situation.

  • [-]
  • CUN7D3S7R0Y3R
  • 1 Points
  • 15:21:35, 19 December

I think what you're thinking about is the distinction between share-cropping and slavery bc this rings a bit closer to share-cropping. share-cropping was was essentially slavery with a different name, it was mean to keep a person perpetually in debt and make it impossible for them to pay the debt back so that you could own their labor forever.

And OP, I'm really sorry :( stay safe.