Where Have All The Fathers Gone?

July 18, 2004

by Doug Henson

Where have all the Fathers gone? Some are sitting in a jail cell for being unable to pay up to 50 or even 65% of their total income as ransom to visit their children. Some have truly “dropped out” of society after years of being slam dunked by the Family Court System. Far to many have decided that death is better than the agony of one more day without their children. Special interest groups have demonized divorced fathers into “deadbeat dads,” and then criminalized them. The result: a system that traces all newly hired employees, shifts the burden of proof to the accused, and throws fathers in jail for losing their jobs.

TV host Bill O’Reilly recently declared, “There is an epidemic of child abandonment in America, mainly by fathers.” Sen. Evan Bayh has attacked “irresponsible” fathers in several speeches. Campaigning for president, Al Gore promised harsher measures against “deadbeat dads,” including sending more to jail. The Clinton administration implemented numerous child-support “crackdowns,” including the ominously named Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act; the Directory of New Hires, which contains the name of every newly hired individual in the country so that any deadbeat among them can be tracked down; and the Federal Case Registry, a massive system of government surveillance that aims to monitor 16–19 million citizens.

Overwhelmingly it is mothers, not fathers, who are walking away from marriages and thus separating children from their fathers. Other studies have reached similar or more dramatic conclusions. The system of collecting child support is no longer one of requiring men to take responsibility for their offspring, as most people believe. The combination of “no fault” divorce and the new enforcement law has created a system that pays mothers to divorce their husbands and remove children from their fathers. “By allowing a faithless wife to keep her children and a sizable portion of her former spouse’s income,” writes Bryce Christensen, “current child-support laws have combined with no-fault jurisprudence to convert wedlock into snare for many guiltless men.”

The National Association for Child Support Action has published a “Book of the Dead” chronicling 55 cases, which they claim the official court coroner concluded fathers were driven to suicide because of judgments from divorce courts. The suicide rate of divorced fathers has skyrocketed, according to Augustine Kposowa, who attributes his finding directly to judgments from family courts. Reports by CBS, CNN, and Reuters ignored this conclusion in favor of therapeutic explanations emphasizing fathers’ lack of friends and “support networks.” One reporter told Kposowa his finding was not “politically correct.” According to one Oklahoma official, "A father is “supporting” his family if he pays by government-approved procedures to government-approved people and has “abandoned” it if he pays in any other way."

It is hardly surprising that some fathers who have been worked over eventually do disappear. Anyone who has been plundered, harassed, vilified, and incarcerated — all on the pretext of supporting children taken from him by force and whom he is not permitted even to see — will eventually reach the limits of his endurance.

There is nothing mutually exclusive about protecting the rights of parents and their children not to be separated without cause and enforcing child-support collection on those men who truly abandon the offspring they have sired. Requiring men to accept financial responsibility for their progeny has been a matter of public policy for centuries. But taking away people’s children and forcing them to pay for it, as one scholar warns, is moving us “a dangerous step closer to a police state.” The “deadbeat dad,” whom many scholars diplomatically call a myth, is really more like a hoax, the creation of groups with an interest in separating children from their fathers and criminalizing the fathers.

The 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantee that “no State shall deprive any person of … liberty … without due process of law; nor deny to any person … the equal protection of the laws”. Yet the Black robed despots, who sit at the throne of the Family Courts, routinely deny Fathers of their civil and constitutional rights without a backward glance at the devastation they leave behind. I personally believe that certain key statutes of the Texas Family Code are unconstitutional. These statutes concern post-divorce child custody and the so-called “Best Interest of the Child”. These statutes provide for substantially unequal allocations of child custody between fit divorced parents. Because they do this without requiring a showing of parental unfitness under any explicit evidentiary standard, these statutes arbitrarily, capriciously, and impermissibly diminish or enlarge fit parents’ fundamental federal rights.

This means, simply, that federal liberty rights to our children have been denied; most Non Custodial Parents have been denied due process of law; most Non Custodial Parents have been denied equal protection of the law; most Non Custodial Parent’s Freedom of Association with our children have been unconstitutionally abridged; Are you aware that the majority of Non Custodial Parent’s right to privacy in his autonomous parent-child relationship have been denied; Non Custodial Parent’s right to equal legal and physical custody of our children have been denied in conflict with the Supremacy Clause in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution; and ultimately Non Custodial Parents have been denied free exercise of our federal rights under color of state law.

In 1974, Senator Russell Long "perceived a connection" between "fathers who abandon their children" and a growth in AFDC spending. This led to the original federal child support and paternity legislation enacted in January 1975, which included the establishment of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. The Long family, including Russell's father Huey "Kingfish" Long, is probably best known for their involvement in organized crime and old fashioned "White Power" in Louisiana, and for ushering well-known organized crime figures well into the sphere of influence in national politics. Long is also regarded as one of the "heroic" figures of the neo-Nazi movement.

This event marked the beginning of an era in which the two major political parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, conspired to transform the United States of American, by destroying the checks and balances provided by the three branches and reversing the fundamental relationship between human rights and government power. Constitutionally, human rights and freedom seek their own best and highest expression in a country in which the power of government is explicitly limited. This new unconstitutional system is one in which the fundamental rights of citizens are severally limited by government powers that have no fixed boundaries. Those who hold positions in the three branches, and people in power within state governments as well as within the federal government, overwhelmingly members of the two parties, knowingly continue acting outside their legal powers, disregarding the fundamental laws of the nation, and intentionally thwarting continuing efforts of citizens to exercise basic rights. Government is under the control of the two parties, and not the Constitution of the United States.

The business of divorce is a huge institution in these United States. Almost everyone benefits from this business except the children and the parent who is bled monetarily and emotionally in a series of gender biased court hearings. In the process of building excuses for child support reforms, a collection of “experts” has knowingly created false propaganda against a large group of US citizens -- divorced and never-married fathers. This propaganda effort has enjoyed taxpayer funding from the federal government as well as states. Central management of this effort, and of much of the transformation that has taken place through child support reforms, has been directed through the Office of Child Support Enforcement with additional support from the National Center for State Courts. Simply put, for every dollar of child support collected - that state is awarded federal monies. For every dollar that is spent chasing "Dead Beat Dads," they receive an even greater monetary reward, thus beginning the Pavlovian cycle. The Attorney General's Office, being the first stop on the money train, enforces the collection efforts. The black robed thugs we refer to as 'Your Honor' work above the law with no regards to actual civil procedure. They change men and women from Parents to Visitor, Non Custodial Parent, and Possessory Conservator and quite honestly...bank account with one slap of their gavel. The more parents they can punish - the more money they can raise and ultimately they can become senators, legislators and congress people who can further abuse their power and position.

Unscrupulous attorneys, who later join the ranks of the black robed thugs, use whatever tactics necessary to line their own pockets. When representing a non-custodial parent, they do not put their heart into it. When representing the custodial parent or managing conservator, they put everything they have into getting all they can. At no time is the child actually asked what he or she wants, how they feel or if they are happy.

However, all those people in the Divorce Industry Machine are hell bent against USAFathers and what we stand for. USAFathers was founded as a “new civil rights movement…An Army of non-custodial parents”, determined to fight the injustices heaped upon us by the Family Courts. Whenever possible, we advocate an actual 50/50 custody arrangement or at the very least a strongly worded and enforced presumption of 50/50 legal and physical custody, rebutted only by clear and convincing proof of unfitness of a parent. Unfortunately, under a true 50/50 custody arrangement there would be no need for child support and the money train would come to a halt. Thus we have a great many who oppose our rights as parents. There is no correlation between child support award amounts and the needs of children, the relative ability of parents to meet those needs, and arrangements for their care. Numeric amounts found in child support guidelines, allegedly representing the "cost of raising children," do not have any valid economic or rational basis in relation to child support awards. They are intended only to “fill the coffers” of the State Treasury.

Art. 1, sec. 8 of the Constitution, the so-called enumerated powers clause, limits congressional authority to act by specifying general subject categories where Federal action is permissible. Under this clause and the Tenth Amendment, categories other than those enumerated in the Constitution, including domestic relations topics, are reserved for state action. The rationale behind this approach, especially with consideration of the 9th and 10th Amendments, is that there is a balance that must be maintained between human rights and freedom on the one hand, and the necessary or appropriate exercise of government power on the other. Too much government power is offset by minimized human rights and freedom.

Over the past twenty-five years, child support -- an area the Constitution leaves to states to deal with, and certainly not least to parents -- has been transferred to a large, expensive federal program. It is not merely support for collection efforts that is involved. Federal control moved quickly into manipulation of the legal process, control of outcomes of trials, destruction of the system of checks and balances, altering the basic constitutional

relationship between government and the people. States act as administrative units under federal control, and individuals have lost their rights completely. Within state government, the ordinary separation of powers has been abandoned. Child support laws are written and maintained by any of the three branches, and the right of due process which should have provided the mechanism for fixing child support reforms does not exist. Federal courts have supported the arbitrary treatment of child support issues and

have failed to restore order when it is within their power to do so. The overwhelming majority of the people involved in this national catastrophe are members of the two primary political parties.

It is all too obvious that the false propaganda against fathers was largely aimed at creating the impression that there is a nexus between some legitimate federal function and the reforms suggested by Russell Long. Promoters of the scheme wanted the general public to believe that a crisis existed that was costing them money, and that the cause of this problem was the poor character of fathers. This in turn was to justify a mass conspiracy against the basic rights of a large portion of the population of the United States and an equal illegitimate increase in government power and its abuse. They expected this tactic to be more effective during a period of economic weakness in the country that naturally leads to fear and frustration. Some people then superficially

and temporarily take comfort in having a clearly identified scapegoat and a promise of some revenge.

This approach is extremely well known, and associated with some of the most evil characters in world history. Anyone familiar with world history can recognize it. Even an amateur historian knows that with great consistently, such behavior by government is associated with periods of instability, rebellion, and even war. I do not see how any intelligent person can miss this point, or even mistakenly believe that better economic times might pacify the response. A large portion of the population is having their economic life destroyed, and their efforts to maintain family relationships sabotaged, along with the theft of their basic rights.

The effect of child support reform, together with the persistent will of the two parties to pursue them, to build on them, and to expand in like manner into other areas of activity, presents a clear and present Danger to the People of the United States. Citizens must ask whether centralized power, controlled by a small number of people who refuse to treat it honorably can be endured. There is of course, no reason that it should be. No nexus exists between any legitimate federal interest and the current level of manipulation by the federal government of family law.

The country is in deep trouble when people who have sworn an oath to protect its fundamental laws, and are placed in positions of trust and power, conspire against it. I am reminded of a few things known about the criminal mind, especially those with a more sociopathic bent. The more they get away with it, the farther they go. They may begin to feel invincible or even taunt people to catch them. They must take more risks to feel the thrill of what they do. Members of the Judicial and Legislative branches of our government, and the two primary political parties must ask themselves how far they are willing to go. They must do so with the understanding that they have already been caught and that a large and growing portion of the population is just wondering what is to be done about it. They should do so understanding that with each day, the public understanding of these crimes becomes clearer, and the number of people who know about them becomes greater. They must be forced to recognize the fact that the non-custodial parents of this great Nation are banding together, we will fight the corruption and injustice. Eventually we will win, or disappear.

Doug Henson

Doug Henson is the Father of a twelve-year-old daughter, who he is “allowed” to see for only 31 hours per month, after nearly four years of court battles and threats of imprisonment. He is also one of the Founders and Leaders of USAFathers; a web based group of non-custodial parents dedicated to fighting the war for our children.