By Dr. Leon Koziol, Director
Parenting Rights Institute
Author’s Note: The following column is based on two decades as a trial lawyer, twenty years as a parent and twelve years as a court reform advocate
When one thinks of child support, it’s generally a duty that parents have to pay a fair share of child rearing expenses. And despite tremendous strides in achieving equal rights over the years, child support continues to be predominantly a male obligation. Census Bureau reports still show that fathers are as much as 85% of all parents subject to a child support order.
Regardless of the gender disparities, the support of children should rank high among society’s priorities. But unfortunately, that priority has been abused well beyond its logical scope to line the pockets of lawyers, service providers and the support bureaucracy to result in bankruptcies, the raiding of college funds and a recent phenomenon known as parental alienation.
The realities demonstrate that our antiquated child custody framework is no longer committed to the so-called “best interests of the child” but a means for growing a trillion-dollar industry. And women are no longer immune from the consequences as we find countless moms today feeling the abuse which dads have long endured. Severe parental alienation has yielded a loss of contact with the children they are supporting over the holidays.
During the 1980s, Dr. Richard Gardner popularized that condition as a psychological disorder but his conclusions were rejected by his profession and never included among the 300 disorders recognized in the DSM-5 manual for insurance purposes. In my own reports since then, I have similarly rejected such a condition and preferred to treat it more accurately as a human rights violation.
A federal funding law is the “elephant in the courtroom” in that regard. As originally drafted, Title IV-D of the Social Security Act targeted absentee fathers through incentive funding to the states (and by extension their domestic relations judges). Such revenues were based on the number and size of support collections that could be documented. This, in turn, created a systemic bias among support judges.
But over time, a little-known adjustment to this funding law from absentee to “noncustodial parent” aggravated that bias through a revenue stream that grew many times over. The mere condition of career mom or gender status was now sufficient to place an adequate provider into a classification that destroyed the overriding assumption of parenthood and an existing willingness to support offspring without a state mandate.
From there, without any investigative reporting or public accountability, it was off to the races on the tactics employed to elevate obligations beyond a parent’s income and self-support capacities. It resulted in debtor prisons, child abandonment and unprecedented violence contrary to stated objectives. A new form of evil was born from the fires of hell.
The examples of carnage erupting from this corruption are countless: a mother who killed her two-year old daughter rather than give her up to a custody change (2018 Gabriella Boyd), a father who killed his girl only to burn himself along with her in his home (2016 Kyra Franchetti), a mother who obtained a gun overnight following a child support dispute to kill the father and children (2019 Damyrra Jones).
They include veterans and law enforcement: a father who left his eight-year old boy in a freezing garage resulting in homicide charges (ex-NYPD officer Michael Valva – 2020), a war veteran, Thomas Ball, who burned himself alive in front of a New Hampshire courthouse to protest child protection abuses, and a police investigator who killed his ex-spouse with a common kitchen knife after exiting support court to leave four children without parents, see Pearce v Longo, 766 F. Supp. 2d 367 (NDNY 2011).
This is only a sampling of real life horrors that attorneys, media and oversight entities are purposely ignoring due the immense influence of special interest groups. In our peaceful protests over the years, most recently the 2019 Parent March on Washington, we have demanded a federal investigation and congressional oversight hearings to address the human rights violations and rampant abuse of federal funds in this silent epidemic.
In Chapter 12 of my newly published book, Whistleblower in Paris, I outline some highly suppressed techniques concocted over the years in support proceedings to maximize profits and court revenues. You should obtain this valuable read at any Barnes and Noble store, Amazon, publisher Author House or major bookseller on-line. You can also join our live talk program, Leon’s Library, daily, Monday thru Friday at 7:30 pm EST on YouTube.
Here is my relevant book excerpt:
Chapter 12- No Place Like Home at pg. 193-195
To advance funding goals, state legislatures have enacted laws that require courts to name a “custodial parent” as a condition for a valid divorce or support agreement. Typically, an opt-out clause allows parents to by-pass the mandatory support formula, but to do so requires them to engage in a comparative analysis which often dilutes the reality of this option.
There is also collaborative law, but such processes are similarly diluted by additional attorneys who cannot be used later if agreement fails. More lawyers are added to a two-tiered process to support the adage that any community which cannot support one lawyer can always support two.
Here is a partial listing of fictions, in addition to those provided earlier, that were orchestrated over the years to maximize funding at the expense of judicial impartiality and due process:
- Service of a support violation petition can be achieved by simple mailing. These petitions typically contain boldface, capital letter warnings of arrest and incarceration. If this type of service is challenged on due process grounds, it can incur the cost of personal service unlike criminal counterparts which these proceedings resemble.
- Expedited case management rules can provide a mere thirty days for defense preparation between a first appearance and trial. All too often, a jail term for contempt of a support order is the standard outcome conditioned on a purge or payment amount. Satisfaction is routinely coerced from relatives, employers or friends.
- The case for a violation and jail term is easily made by a single non-party witness, typically a social services employee offering a delinquent support summary into the record. Intent is presumed from its mere production without any other proof.
- The burden of proof is wrongfully shifted to the defending party to prove innocence. The standard for conviction is the lowest of all forms of litigation despite the stigma and incarceration which are at stake. There is no jury or indigent right to counsel.
- Support judges have invented an evidentiary substitute known as imputed income which assures the highest support obligation possible, often well beyond the realistic income capacities of the targeted debtor. Defending parties are treated at higher levels of income based on past employment reports even when wrongfully terminated.
- Support obligations continue to accrue at regular intervals during incarceration for violations or any other reason. They also accrue when a father is later found not to be a biological parent and despite frauds used to deny him child access. They also accrue until a petition for recourse is actually filed despite its futility in a biased process.
- The state has expanded its tyrannical power beyond the original objective of recouping welfare costs for abandoned mothers on public assistance. It now acts as representative for self-sufficient support seekers to create a serious imbalance in the scales of justice. Attorney fees and other costs are made a part of the final judgment.
In my case, all but the actual incarceration was used against me. But the many processes employed were also fraught with serious error, gender prejudice and whistleblower retaliation. At what point, then, is a victim pushed to such an extreme that our Constitution confers upon him a legal right to fight back or take the so-called law into his own hands?
You be the jury.