It is Father’s day and my 9 year old twins cannot call out and say “Daddy”. They cannot run to me and put their tiny arms around me to hug me. Neither can I reach out to them, hug them and father them on Father’s day. No I am not in prison. I am not abroad. I am not on parole and I am not disabled and I can travel. My kids live a few miles away. No I am not a ‘dead beat’ dad. Neither have I had even the slightest patina of criminal wrongdoing that would keep me away from my kids. Well, then you say to yourself, there are tons of children without fathers. Who gives a darn and why give a darn? . Why should it matter to you? You’ve got yours. Your children are enjoying the company of their father right now. Or, you, the father, are basking in the warmth of the love your children are showering on you this day. Why then should you care about the lament of a hapless father forcibly estranged from his kids?
Before you shrug your shoulders, listen to that cry. It is the wailing of a child watching its father auctioned away in a slave auction on the steps of a courthouse not very long after the birthing of these great United States. Watch the father cast one last glance at his kid before being injected into the stream of commerce to generate revenue for the state and its inhabitants. Well, it was the law of the land enshrined in the constitutional law canon. But it was not just “the law offered by the United States Supreme Court” that deprived this child from long ago of a day with its father. Rather it was also “the law as administered by local trial court judges, masters in chancery, sheriffs, ordinaries, magistrates, justices of the peace, and other miscellaneous and now-forgotten low-level legal officials.” (See Thomas D. Russell, “South Carolina’s Largest Slave Auctioneering Firm – Symposium on the Law of Slavery” Criminal and Civil Law of Slavery,” Chicago –Kent Law Review, October 1992; downloaded on June 15, 2014 from http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2908&context=cklawreview).
The thirteenth Amendment has not wiped away that child’s tears or reassured its Dad of his parenting rights on Father’s day. The Supreme Court has opined that a parent’s right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of his or her children is a protected fundamental right. Yet, it is the “law” as administered by the judges in equity court, the lawyers, the GALS, parenting consultants, parenting supervisors, custody evaluators and other miscellaneous legal and quasi-legal officials and functionaries appears to be the “law” that now deprives kids of the care and love of their fathers and fathers the loving embrace of their kids on this Father’s day. Undergirding this secondary “law” are ends of commerce and commercial self-interest masquerading as protectors of the kid’s interests and which have teleported the hydra from the antebellum South and resurrected it in the embodiment of Title IV-D.
Title IV-D is a massive expansion of federal control over private lives through which the federal government provides states financial incentives for collection of child-support in divorce cases. The more the divorces and the higher the child-support guidelines set and enforced, even where thoroughly inequitable, the more money the state bureaucracy collects from the feds. The less time that a non-custodial parent (usually fathers) is permitted with its parent, the more child-support they must pay into the state fund and the higher the federal incentive paid to the states for collecting the money.
How does this work Before there is a child-support order and before a marriage gets into the courts of equity? Simple. The idea is to incentivize divorce and create fatherless children from the get go. Right from the moment the dad is involuntarily placed within the jurisdiction of the local system, various entities get into a race to color the dad with allegations howsoever absurd, contrived or baseless and regardless of the means or personnel harnessed. Their efforts are aimed at projecting a chimera of potential harm to the kids “interests”. The chimera must live long enough to provide the tertiary law the cover it needs to order the father to the auction block on the steps of the court house. From there on, the hydra of Title IV-D takes hold. Maximize the revenues form Title IV-D and to heck with equity or law or the child or its Dad. There is no jury. The domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction slaps back the dad’s arms as they try and reach for help from some entity outside the self-regulated mini-system.
It is almost the end of the day. I am waiting to hear from my kids. And my kids are waiting to hear from me. Can someone help me?