LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After running our story on deadbeat parents being rounded up in Lake Charles and taken to jail for non payment of child support, we received numerous emails, phone calls and facebook notes. With that, we took to the streets to get both sides of the coin.
First up, American Coalition of Fathers and Children's Michael McCormick. McCormick argues that he read our online story and wants people to know that most of the money that was collected the other night during the "dialing for dollars", was most likely collected and given to the state of Louisiana. He went on to say that this is the case if a person has been receiving welfare benefits.
Mark Bowling, Attorney for the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) does not deny that the state will recoup monies it has paid out in support of the child. Bowling adds that this is the case for any type of public assistance grant given to the custodial parent (foster care grant, kinship care grant). He says that since 1996, the vast majority of Louisiana child support cases are not public assistance cases so most of the monies recouped here will be given to the child.
While child support laws do vary from state to state, in the state of Louisiana child support is not based off of percentages. There is a child support guideline with very specific amounts. The amount of child support to pay is determined by the total grossed from both mother and father. It is not the net amount. (Gross is what you make before taxes. Net is the amount you take home.)
McCormick: "Of the 70% of the money that is owed in arrears, some 70 billion dollars, two thirds of those individuals earn less than 10k a year. Those very same people can't support a child nor themselves. Punishing the poor. The child support system is driven by ideology rather than practical real life situations."
Bowling: "I hear attorneys say it is not fair for their client all the time. And maybe not but it is certainly fair to the state, to the child and to the mother."
McCormick: "No wonder we have so many issues recouping child support payments when you separate fit parents from their child and reduce one parent to visitor's status in their child's life."
To hear more from both sides, watch both the aired video then the web extra. Let us know what side you fall on via Facebook.