by Mace H. Greenfield (written in 1994)
Okay people, you think with a title like this, I’m going to be brash, abrasive and bat everyone in the head. Just what kind of outrageous, loony stuff will be found here, right? Wait a minute, this is only a website. He is just trying to get our attention. This is just going to be a nice but blunt column with a title to get our attention. WRONG!!!
In this column you will be awakened from your deep dogmatic slumber that you have been hypnotized into by all the “politically correct” but actually inaccurate nonsense that we each get bombarded by each and everyday. Newspapers, radio ads and shows, TV ads and shows, the news, in the schools, bill boards, it never ends.
Lets touch the surface a moment, shall we? Take my hand, or just follow close behind. Stay alert, there’s going to be quite a bit flying past you. Don’t miss any of it, then think about it long and hard.
Larger than life banner in Grand Central Station, May of ‘92: “It’s Mother’s Day: $30 Billion Dollars Owed Mothers in Child Support” hung by WAC (Women’s Action Coalition) and politically correct. Now let’s look at reality: 1. Non-custodial MOTHERS who totally default on child support – 46.9%; compared to only 26.9% of non-custodial dads who totally default. 2. Non-custodial MOTHERS who pay support at any level – only 20%; compared to 61% of non-custodial dads. 3. The last Federal statistic I’ve seen shows only 14.8 billion in unpaid child support. 4. Few dads with custody you might say … 3 million dads have custody. WAC has refused all my calls in the past to answer for their propaganda that only makes the problem worse rather than work toward solution. It is now obvious to us all that it should not be stereotyped as “Deadbeat Dads” because there are plenty of Deadbeat Moms just as much or more apart of the problem. This may not be the politically correct way to think but is the reality.
But then, we should also consider the study conducted by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, who accessed over $4,000,000.00 in federal funding to look into this problem and found that it is not just a problem but is also the symptom of other problems such as interfered with or with held visitation. We must stop over simplifying.
All these wonderful solutions being thought of: automatic garnishment at time of award for example, will only work for those on a W-2 who are already either paying or being garnished. It still won’t have an effect on those working off the books or are self employed. It will only create a larger bureaucracy and tax burden for the general public. What about those who honestly have economic hardship? Many never knew to obtain a downward modification and have accrued huge arrears. Most wish they had the money to pay. How about community service for all the above and then the state could pay their support for them. Cheaper than the cost of court, enforcement & jail and the state and the tax payers get something in return for their money. Those working off the books or self employed and playing games will start to buck up to avoid the community service from interfering with their jobs. Those in true hardship will appreciate the chance to do for their children without receiving charity but a chance to work for it. Yeah, I know, a lot of details would have to be worked out but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
TV commercials about parental kidnapping make it appear as though the kidnapper is almost exclusively the father. Actual statistics, however, shows that this is the case only 55% of the time with the mother being the kidnapper 45% of the time. Keeping in mind unreported cases, unsubstantiated cases and usual statistical error, that is close enough to 50/50 to be viewed as such. The 50/50 view may not be politically correct but is the reality.
You know, if some of these women in the many women’s groups spent half as much time caring for their children and trying to earn a living as they do brain washing society and male bashing, their children would be a lot better off. Their money problems wouldn’t be as bad and their children would grow to be better citizens. Hey, men, now its your turn.
The men, what a sad story, not half as organized as the women. What are their beefs? Men don’t get custody for one. I have custody. About 3,000,000 other men have custody. Hate to tell them this but men do get custody. Okay, only 3 million men have custody compared to about 11 million women. Why? The men’s groups would have you believe that it is gender bias. That it is because of the women’s groups. Actually it’s because of the women’s groups that men have been winning custody more often. Equal rights is a two way thing. So, why are the numbers so un 50/50? Three reasons: 1. Most men don’t file for custody. 2. When the man leaves the home and leaves the child with the mother he is giving passive consent to the mother being a fit and proper custodial parent and passive consent to the mother having custody. To later go into court saying that she is not, then why has he left his children with her if she is so bad. Unless a change of circumstance can be shown, he didn’t loose, he forfeited! 3. Hypothetically, if 2,000 cases go to court a year over a ten year period and the first three years only the mother wins, the 4th year 10% of the dads win, the 5th year 15% of the dads win, the 6th year 25% of the dads win, the 7th year 40% of the dads win and 50% of the dads win in the 8th, 9th & 10th years; the results please … out of 20,000 custody cases over 10 years, 15,200 moms have custody & 4,800 dads have custody. If there were a basis for this to be an area of gender parody, then it takes time even after the tide is balanced.
What do I mean by “if there were a basis for this to be an area of gender parody”? Simple, this is about the children. Custody must be weighed on each individual case and not by men v. women. This is about parenting, family, the children, not the battle of the sexes. You can’t force some one to get custody if they don’t want it just to attain equal numbers and when one group lacks enough members who want it, this is not evidence of court bias just societal upbringing that shaped individuals to think they should or shouldn’t have custody, should or shouldn’t file.
Too many men stand up and proclaim: “Why should I have to pay child support?!” Many non-custodial moms want to know the same thing. Answer: Because they’re your children too and they did not ask to be here and the tax payer should not be burdened. Shhh … come a little closer, I want to tell you a secret … shhh. Most non-custodial dads do pay and don’t really complain, its only the loud mouths complaining, granted there are some non-custodials ordered to pay an exuberant amount and have the right to complain, but not most. As a custodial parent let me tell you this, it would cost me less money if I didn’t have custody and had to pay support. My daughter is worth even more than the money she costs me and I wish I had even more money to spend on her, I’ll just have to make up the difference with love and time together. A pleasure to do so.
I could go on forever showing you how these men’s groups and women’s groups waste all their time, money and energy trying to extol their own form of what boils down to bullshit. Men & women are each equally guilty of that which they accuse (bash) each other of and/or make claims and allegations that have no merit of actual fact but rather just sounds good and the media makes headlines out of in order to sell papers and gain viewers and listeners. Our politicians jump on the bandwagon of which ever group has the most registered voters and could care less about the actual good of society. It is time for the bashing and the nonsense to end. It is time to realize that we are only hurting our children, all children, not just those of divorce. It is time we begin to learn to stand up as mature, responsible adults and take responsibility for ourselves and our children and stop blaming everyone else and make constructive use of our time to better our circumstance for ourselves and most importantly for our children. It is our responsibility to give them proper role models and so far we are doing a lousy job. Just look at the crime rate, look at the drug use, look at the violence, look at the educational drop out rate, look, look ,look and stop blaming TV, your “x”, and everything and everyone else. Take responsibility. Teach your children and be proper role models. If you want your children to have any kind of life at all, get a life yourself.
Authors note: I have visited and communicated with many of the men’s & women’s groups and seen even more of their literature. Though there are many members who are wonderful individuals and victims of foul play or circumstance, too many are nothing more than revenge seeking, game playing bitter idiots, too many refuse to admit that they themselves are the cause of their own problems, too many refuse to take responsibility for their circumstance and do the “right” things, too many are just cry babies, too many are finger pointers and all of these make it bad for all those who truly are in need of help. Too often, too many of the groups teach its members not how to make a bad situation better, but rather how to abuse the system. Too many, while fighting for justice for themselves are teaching others how to do unto others as was done unto them. The stakes are too high for such games and they’re too thick and selfish to realize the consequences of their actions on their own children, all children and society at large. It has to stop.
About the author: Mace H. Greenfield was host of the talk radio show, “The Unfamily Hour”, had custody of his daughter and is the only custodial parent we are aware of that has defended his “X” against the errors of Family Court (Suffolk County, ‘93). He is now a family attorney, fighting for true family justice.
FYI: The stage name of “Mace in your Face” was originally conceived of for me by Fred O. Greenspan for commercial purpose in or about 1984, I have been on and off radio & TV using that stage name radio ever since.