Book Review: Child Support's Wacky Math

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RogerFGay

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Jul 24, 2002, 10:57:31 AM7/24/02
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Child Support's Wacky Math
http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay072402.htm

Child Support's Wacky Math is a book about the way that Virginia and
other states modify child support orders in consideration of
visitation and shared parenting. It promises two things; to prove that
the formula is grossly in error, and to show how reality gets lost and
logic muddled in the overly political process that now dominates the
child support system. It delivers on both promises with room to spare.

complete book review
http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay072402.htm

RogerFGay

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Jul 25, 2002, 7:02:31 AM7/25/02
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Anyone in the forum familiar with the "Income Shares" formula? It's
the child support guideline model used in more states than any other.
The author lives in Virginia, and picks specifically on Virginia, but
the problem exists in many other states. From what I've seen, most
states that use the percent formula are not adjusting properly either.

Dwayne Shrum

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Jul 25, 2002, 8:06:23 AM7/25/02
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Income Shares sounds good to some, but in reality... it is sharing the
income on paper, but the obligor is almost guaranteed to pay 100% of the
table-look-up for the combined income, not just their own or their percent
of the combined. The problem is that the threshold of how much time the
"lesser" parent has with their children is so high, anything less than 72
days to 122 overnights (depending upon the state) is ignored and assumed to
be 0 time... even when the parent is fit, proper, and willing to parent.

Example... I was getting 3 months each year. But I have to pay 100% of the
combined income of me and my ex for 2 children. Any time that I do actually
parent is an additional financial burden on only me, despite that I am
paying what is supposed to be the amount that both of us should be spending
on them all year.

I would like, at minimum, to see the CS laws modified to limit all fit,
proper, and willing NCP's to the guidelines for the combined income level as
if they get 1/2 year weather they are permitted by order or CP, or not.
This would reverse the financial incentive to deprive a parent of parenting
time back to the person who ultimately has the ability to permit it. In
other words, in my case I should only have to pay what the joint parenting
worksheet with 6 months parenting time would say I should pay...not 0 time.
Then if a judge or ex interferes with my parenting time, I do have "some"
money left for me to fight for my civil and constitutional rights to parent.
What is done now is nothing less than stealing children, hiding behind them,
and using that thievery for demand of dollars not deserved.

No parent should be rewarded for depriving their child from their other
parent.

Dwayne

"RogerFGay" <roge...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Jill

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Jul 25, 2002, 12:07:54 PM7/25/02
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On 25 Jul 2002 04:02:31 -0700, roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) sent
through the ether:

What do you mean by states using the percent formula are not adjusting
properly either?

I ask because in the past year, Wisconsin was ordered to stop using
the straight percentage guidelines or lose all their federal CS
funding, kickbacks, etc. They got caught out with some bad
bookkeeping or something because their monthly CS owed by fathers
fluctuated all over the place...sorry I can't recall exactly what else
was wrong but I'll ask my husband later as he's kept up on it.

Two counties in Wisconsin were the biggest violaters (Milwaukee and
Waukesha--the 2 biggest CS counties) and of course these counties
along with the State of Wisconsin went into a panic. Creating a fixed
CS monthly amount will cut into their false arrears game but not to
worry as they found a way to make up the potential differences to some
degree.

The counties now have been "converting" old percentage guideline
cases but surprise, surprise...they just come to a fixed number that
is "equal" to the old percentage "average" amount and the new number
almost always is quite a bit MORE than what fathers paid under the old
fluctuating percentage guidelines. Funny how that works, eh?

Jill

Dwayne Shrum

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Jul 25, 2002, 1:02:57 PM7/25/02
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I am sure Roger can do better explaining the details, but I know that two
biggie adjustments should be 1) the percent of combined income the NCP earns
and 2) the amount of parenting time permitted by the NCP.

In NC, they have three worksheets (formulas).

A - Sole Custody, where the NCP pays 100% of the combined income of both
parents regardless of parenting time the NCP enjoys and used for most joint
custody cases.
B - Shared Custody, where the NCP pays <100% of the guideline table based
upon their actual percentage of income compared to the combined income and
then less their parenting time.
C - Split Custody for when one parent has one or more children, and the
other has one or more children - split the kids up - both are CP's.

The shared custody worksheet B is ONLY permitted to be used when there is at
least 122 overnights enjoyed by the NCP AND the judge permits it.

On the worksheet A, joint custody parents can only pay 100% of their OWN
actual income (or imputed income) instead of the combined total income, if
their modified gross income is $800/mo or less. so if an NCP makes $1,500,
has 3 subsequent children and is given 50% of table credit for them (~$250),
then his modified gross income is still $1,250/mo - and thus an ex who makes
$607/mo in disability SSI checks is then added back to the NCP's MGI for a
combined total parental income of $1,857/mo!

The NCP has to pay 100% on for the children for 12 months that are with him
for up to 1/3 of the year. CP, in essence, is computed to not have to pay
anything and NCP, on the otherhand, has to pay CP's part too, which CP
already has in their hands when they cash their own checks.

Fuzzy logic, highway robbery, new math.

"Jill" <perspic...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3d401fbd...@news.earthlink.net...

RogerFGay

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Jul 25, 2002, 3:17:47 PM7/25/02
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"Dwayne Shrum" <spam_...@jam.rr.com> wrote in message news:<3RR%8.121478$88.19...@twister.austin.rr.com>...

>
> Income Shares sounds good to some,

It's total pathetic crap. I almost hit the floor the first time I read
the report recommending its use. Bunch of dishonest pseudo-science.
I've become an historian on the matter. You just wouldn't believe ...

>
> I would like, at minimum, to see the CS laws modified to limit all fit,
> proper, and willing NCP's to the guidelines for the combined income level as
> if they get 1/2 year weather they are permitted by order or CP, or not.

FYI press release:
http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/5910/FatherMag/visit_bsi.htm

Dwayne Shrum

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Jul 25, 2002, 5:17:23 PM7/25/02
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"RogerFGay" <roge...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4b6433c3.02072...@posting.google.com...
> "Dwayne Shrum" <spam_...@jam.rr.com> wrote in message
news:<3RR%8.121478$88.19...@twister.austin.rr.com>...
> >
> > Income Shares sounds good to some,
>
> It's total pathetic crap.

I completely agree.... I think it really is a mentality of not, "what does
it take to rear a child", but rather, "let's put all our money in one big
virtual pot and see how little I can let you keep".

frazil

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Jul 25, 2002, 8:41:16 PM7/25/02
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Jill <perspic...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3d401fbd...@news.earthlink.net...
> On 25 Jul 2002 04:02:31 -0700, roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) sent
> through the ether:
>
> >Anyone in the forum familiar with the "Income Shares" formula? It's
> >the child support guideline model used in more states than any other.
> >The author lives in Virginia, and picks specifically on Virginia, but
> >the problem exists in many other states. From what I've seen, most
> >states that use the percent formula are not adjusting properly either.
>
> What do you mean by states using the percent formula are not adjusting
> properly either?
>
> I ask because in the past year, Wisconsin was ordered to stop using
> the straight percentage guidelines or lose all their federal CS
> funding, kickbacks, etc. They got caught out with some bad
> bookkeeping or something because their monthly CS owed by fathers
> fluctuated all over the place...sorry I can't recall exactly what else
> was wrong but I'll ask my husband later as he's kept up on it.

As I recall in Georgia, also one of the few states that used the percent of
income model, the court found that the model violated the equal protection
clause of the constitution (state?) because the formula didn't consider the
CP's income.

>
> Two counties in Wisconsin were the biggest violaters (Milwaukee and
> Waukesha--the 2 biggest CS counties) and of course these counties
> along with the State of Wisconsin went into a panic. Creating a fixed
> CS monthly amount will cut into their false arrears game but not to
> worry as they found a way to make up the potential differences to some
> degree.

No doubt!

>
> The counties now have been "converting" old percentage guideline
> cases but surprise, surprise...they just come to a fixed number that
> is "equal" to the old percentage "average" amount and the new number
> almost always is quite a bit MORE than what fathers paid under the old
> fluctuating percentage guidelines. Funny how that works, eh?

Not funny at all! (yes I know you were being sarcastic)

Its completely understandable considering human nature. 1) People hate to
lose; 2) People are greedy; and 3) People are selfish.

Because people hate to lose, the government (Remember the government is just
a bunch of people. These people are just like the rest of us. Some good,
some bad, and most somewhere in between), even if it lost if court, will
find some other remedy to achieve the same outcome as the one that they
lost. Call it revenge, call it justice, whatever. Call this the "Oh Yeah,
I'll show you" response. Or Perhaps the "Be careful of what you wish for,
you might just get it" response.

Now considering that the Federal government provides a pretty handsome
incentive (percentage of CS money collected) to fund the CS collection
program that means that states can spend their tax revenue on other
programs. IOW what is not spent on Program A can be spent on Program B, so
it really dosen't matter if the incentive is tied to Program A. Call this
the "Rob Peter to Pay Paul" Principal .

Last but not least, consider each individual's role in the situation.
People generally have short memories, so the natural tendency is to take the
"What have you done for me lately view". Legislators know this and
therefore they are quite eager to propose the next new great program to make
the voters happy so they can keep there jobs the next time around. They are
equally not eager to propose controversial ideas for fear of pissing of the
large number of voters. (Notice how this election year the energy proposals
that were once a top priority even after 9/11, haven't made it out of
congress, but the new laws to fight corporate corruption sailed through
congress in the blink of an eye?) IOW, all they care about is keeping
their jobs (Sound familiar, I admit I really want to keep my job. But at
least I think my excuse is better than most peoples. It keeps me from being
threatened with loss of license, jail, etc. Yes, I know I'm being selfish)

Further since good CS collections mean good revenue for the state in the
form of Federal incentives, legislators are inclined to maximize revenue to
be able to do spend that revenue toward other programs that will ensure
their jobs next voting cycle (See: Rob Peter to pay Paul" Priciple). The
people working in the CS agency also know that the legislators are unlikely
to cut programs that bring money to the state, and since they also want to
keep their jobs they aren't going to want to lower the amount they collect
(See: "Oh Yeah, I'll show you" response)

And further (driving the point home) you can't expect CP's would fight these
natural human tendencies in the quest of justice, because they are so busy
in their noble pursuit of taking care of the children that you, loss hating,
greedy, selfish, NCPs left behind, no matter how pure they are.

Or maybe they are just as loss hating, greedy, and selfish as the rest of
us.

Naw couldn't be.

Thanks I needed that!


>
> Jill
>


RogerFGay

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Jul 26, 2002, 7:47:38 AM7/26/02
to
perspic...@yahoo.com (Jill) wrote in message news:<3d401fbd...@news.earthlink.net>...

>
> I ask because in the past year, Wisconsin was ordered to stop using
> the straight percentage guidelines or lose all their federal CS
> funding, kickbacks, etc. They got caught out with some bad
> bookkeeping or something because their monthly CS owed by fathers
> fluctuated all over the place...sorry I can't recall exactly what else
> was wrong but I'll ask my husband later as he's kept up on it.
>

I think you might be referring to Wisconsin's decision to tie the
percent to actual income -- i.e. adjusting it every month to the
actual paycheck. This was especially important to seasonal workers
like some construction workers for example, who can experience an
economic boom in the summer but be unemployed for months in the
winter. The fed, under Clinton, slammed Wisconsin for that during the
election season. Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson was thought of as
the Republican's welfare reform guru. As you know, Tompson is now
Secretary of HHS under Bush.

The OCSE (that approves plans) has never told any state that they had
to stop using the percent formula -- even though they would if they
were honest.

RogerFGay

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Jul 26, 2002, 8:01:18 AM7/26/02
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"Dwayne Shrum" <spam_...@jam.rr.com> wrote in message news:<5bW%8.180504$eF5.4...@twister.austin.rr.com>...

>
> I am sure Roger can do better explaining the details, but I know that two
> biggie adjustments should be 1) the percent of combined income the NCP earns
> and 2) the amount of parenting time permitted by the NCP.
>
>

Use of combined income such as in the Income Shares formula leads to
completely random results in relation actual standard of living,
children's needs, and the parents' relative ability to pay. There is
absolutely nothing rational about using combined income.

The percent formula has the same problem in that it produces
completely random results in relation to children's needs and the
relative ability of the parents to support them.

RogerFGay

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Jul 26, 2002, 8:05:49 AM7/26/02
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"frazil" <fra...@geospam.com> wrote in message news:<ahq4lq$qqr$1...@bob.news.rcn.net>...

>
> As I recall in Georgia, also one of the few states that used the percent of
> income model, the court found that the model violated the equal protection
> clause of the constitution (state?) because the formula didn't consider the
> CP's income.
>
>

That's correct, but the equal protection clause was not all it
violated. The court will reach the state supreme court either later
this year or early next (presumably after the election - which doesn't
amaze me particularly).

Here's a link to an article about the case, which also contains a link
to the decision. In addition, two links to debate articles against the
chair of the ABA child support committee who wrote two articles
defending the constitutionality of guidelines.

The beginning of the end of child support reform
http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay032002.htm

Laura Morgan at the Bottom of the Slippery Slope
http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay042402.htm

The Constitutionality of Child Support Guidelines Debate, Part II
http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay052202.htm

RogerFGay

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Jul 26, 2002, 8:22:38 AM7/26/02
to
QUESTION TO EVERYONE: Do you want me to invite the author of the book
(see below or first post in this thread) to make comments and respond
to questions here? He travels a lot on business, but he might be able
to stop in once a week and participate.

roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) wrote in message news:<4b6433c3.02072...@posting.google.com>...

Sunny

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Jul 26, 2002, 8:48:40 AM7/26/02
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Child support changes sought

State risks federal penalty
By TOM KERTSCHER
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Last Updated: Jan. 5, 2001

The federal agency that Gov. Tommy G. Thompson has been picked to lead
is threatening to cut millions of dollars in aid to Wisconsin unless
the state changes the way it calculates child support payments for
66,000 families.

Key Issue

Now: In 66,000 child support cases, Wisconsin calculates payments owed
as a percentage of the paying parent's income.

Future: The federal government is ordering the state to set a fixed
monthly amount for the payments.

Section: Wisconsin's transition

Besides the threat from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, the state faces paying $1.7 million of an estimated $5
million cost to reopen those 66,000 cases, with no state money yet
budgeted for the job. The federal government would pick up the rest of
the cost.

But state officials said Friday that they have begun drafting
legislation to make the change and hope to alter all of the cases by
the end of the year.

Once the change is made, "we'll do a better job collecting," said
Jennifer Reinert, secretary of the state Department of Workforce
Development, which oversees child support.

The state handles about 189,000 child support cases. In two-thirds of
them, the paying parent - usually the father - pays a fixed amount of
support every month. The amount changes only if one parent or the
other goes to court.

In the other 66,000 cases, however, the paying, or non-custodial,
parents pay varying amounts of support each month, based on a
percentage of their income. Often, these parents work seasonal jobs,
earn most of their money on commission or have fluctuating income for
other reasons.

Wisconsin is the only state that allows so-called percentage-expressed
child support orders. For years, the federal government has been
pressuring the state to drop them. Finally, with the threatened loss
of federal funding as well as possible fines, state officials have
begun mobilizing in recent weeks to change to a fixed-amount-only
child support system.

Barb DeMarco, a 47-year-old Madison mother of two, said her percentage
order worked well in theory, because her support payments were
supposed to rise automatically with any increase in her former
husband's income. But the system never seemed to work as it was
supposed to, she said.

"It was a major hassle," said DeMarco, whose younger child turned 18
last June.

Deducted from paychecks

In nearly all child support cases in Wisconsin, employers deduct
payments from the payer's paycheck and forward them to the state,
which sends them to the custodial parent. But state officials say
percentage orders have been difficult for employers to manage, and the
state often has no way of verifying that the payments are correct.

Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which
funds the lion's share of child support enforcement programs across
the country, dislikes percentage cases because it cannot determine
whether Wisconsin is collecting all the child support that should be
paid.

Now, HHS - which Thompson soon will lead if the U.S. Senate confirms
him - has indicated that it will cut at least $665,000 in federal
child support aid to the state because of the problems with percentage
cases. And it is threatening to impose millions of dollars more in
cuts, or in fines that the state would have to pay, unless the state's
66,000 percentage cases are converted to fixed monthly payments.

Because Thompson has not yet taken over HHS, he will not comment on
policy matters, his spokesman said.

Reinert, of the state Department of Workforce Development, said her
staff is drafting legislation that would force the change to fixed
payments. Then officials will begin to seek the estimated $1.7 million
- which she called a "worst-case scenario" - to pay for the
conversions.

Reinert acknowledged that because the money is not part of her
department's 2001-'02 budget request, getting it from the Legislature
"is not as simple."

State Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee), co-chairman of the Legislature's
Joint Finance Committee, said he supports having the state cover the
cost of the conversion so that it would not fall to the counties,
which enforce child support orders. But he said he could not gauge how
Republicans might view the issue.

State Rep. John Gard (R-Peshtigo), Burke's co-chairman, could not be
immediately reached.

Because the money is not already in the budget, it would be
"extraordinarily difficult" to take money from another part of the
budget, Burke said.

Although changing the percentage cases to fixed payments might be
costly, it can be relatively simple. Ozaukee and Sauk counties are
already sending letters to parents in some child support cases,
pointing out that percentage orders might soon be banned and asking
them to switch to fixed-amount orders. The counties are suggesting
fixed amounts based on the paying parents' current income.

If both parents in a given case agree, they can simply sign and return
the paperwork. Milwaukee County plans to begin mailing similar letters
this month.

But because many child support cases involve bad relations between the
parents, financial complexities or other issues, they will have to be
converted from percentages to fixed amounts in court. Milwaukee
County, which has 15,000 percentage cases, estimates it will need $1.5
million to create a temporary court for conversions.

Based on a formula

What would not change is the formula that Wisconsin uses to calculate
child support payments in all cases.

The formula generally calls for a parent supporting one child to pay
17% of the parent's gross income, depending on the time the parent
spends with the child. That percentage rises if the parent supports
more children in the same home, up to a maximum of 34% for five or
more children in a home. Courts would continue to adjust the formula
for special circumstances.

As for scrapping the percentage-payment system, parents with fixed
payments would have to go to court each time they wanted to adjust the
monthly payments. But often those adjustments can be made without
attorneys, using help from county child support enforcement agencies,
officials said.

Parents who pay support and have fluctuating incomes may find it
difficult to change to a fixed-payment system.

"That's going to be a hard thing for people, especially the ones who
pay regularly," said Rhonda Gorden, who heads Ozaukee County's child
support collections.

But John Hayes, director of the Milwaukee County Department of Child
Support Enforcement, said he expects that most custodial parents will
like being on a fixed-payment system so that they can count on
receiving the same amount of support each month. Fixed payments also
make it easier for the county to ensure that all support that is due
actually gets paid, he said.

Rachel Biittner, spokeswoman for the state Department of Workforce
Development, said that even though Wisconsin is at odds with federal
officials over the percentage-payment cases, the state ranks high in
child support enforcement. Federal figures show that in fiscal 1999,
Wisconsin ranked fourth in the nation by collecting $483,215 in
support for every full-time child support enforcement employee,
exceeding the national average of $277,818, she said.

Pam Carter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human
Services in Washington, said Wisconsin could lose not only millions of
dollars in child support funding but also up to $318 million in
federal welfare funds if it doesn't eliminate percentage cases from
its child support system. It was not known how much any fines could
be.

But the federal agency does not want to cut funds or impose fines, she
said.

"We'll try to work with them," Carter said.

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 6, 2001.


Barry Pearson

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Jul 26, 2002, 9:46:39 AM7/26/02
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"RogerFGay" <roge...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:4b6433c3.02072...@posting.google.com...
> QUESTION TO EVERYONE: Do you want me to invite the author
> of the book (see below or first post in this thread) to make comments
> and respond to questions here? He travels a lot on business, but he
> might be able to stop in once a week and participate.
[snip]

I would be interested in his views (and indeed, yours) about the mathematics of either the current UK scheme
or the new (yet to start) UK scheme.

There is obviously a problem with understanding what they are, for anyone who doesn't know already.

NEW SCHEME

The formula for the new scheme is easy, see:
"The basics of the new formula":
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/information_and_explanation/reform/new_formula.htm

CURRENT SCHEME

The current scheme (introduced by the Child Support Act 1991) is ... complicated! (I provide the spreadsheet
that many people use to help them predict their assessments, and I certainly don't know all about the
formula!) This scheme is not based on percentages - it is built from "benefit rates" (cf. welfare rates).

One way of showing the effect of the formula is to look at some graphs, which show typical percentages (there
are about 1.6 US$ per UKŁ):
"Comparisons based on housing costs":
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/comparisons/comparisons_housing_costs.htm
"Comparisons based on numbers of qualifying children":
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/comparisons/comparisons_numbers_of_children.htm

Another way is to provide a very brief & crude summary, which I'll attempt:

Incomes are net, not gross. Amounts are per week. (NRP = non-resident parent). The building blocks of the
formula are the "benefits rates", which are the amounts that government pays out to households in certain
conditions. For example, a lone parent who isn't working gets help from the government with the rent, plus an
adult allowance (about Ł54) plus a family premium (about Ł15) plus an allowance for each child (about Ł34).
The "logic" (quite good) is that if these are what the government pays out, they are suitable for working out
what children & parents need in the child support scheme.

Step 1 is to work out the "maintenance needed": this uses the above components. (It includes a controversial
"carer's allowance", based on the adult component, on the assumption that younger children need care as well
as food & clothes, etc. It falls, then disappears, as the children get older).

Step 2 is to work out the "assessible income" of each parent: this is the net income, less housing costs, less
basic cost of living using similar components to the above (which will also allow for any of the NRP's
children living with him or her). In other words, it is an attempt at identifying some sort of "disposable
income". The combined "assessible income" amount is used in step 3 to decide what each is expected to spend on
the child.

Step 3 takes up to 50% of the combined (mother's + father's) "assessible income" until the "maintenance
needed" (step 1) is covered. The parents are expected to pay this amount in the proportion of their own
"assessible income" to the combined "assessible income". (So, once their own living costs have been allowed
for, parents are each expected to spend 50% of what is left, up to the point at which the child's costs have
been met).

Step 4 applies in the minority case that the "maintenance needed" is available in less than the 50% of the
combined "assessible income". It is a sort of "share in the wealth" feature - additional amounts are expected
from each parent from their "assessible income" that hadn't just had 50% of it taken - 15% / 20% / 25% for 1 /
2 / 3-or-more children.

Step 5 applies various caps: the NRP's remaining money must not fall below what her or she would get on
benefits (which is considered to be the minimum needed in the UK); there is a cap of 30% of the NRP's net
income; and there is a cap which for tricky reasons is about Ł160 / Ł255 / Ł350 for 1 / 2 / 3 children. Then
any amount which doesn't exceed any of these caps is the liability. (Per week, remember).

According to a recent answer in Parliament: "The mean average percentage of net income ... paid by a
non-resident parent is 15% where one child is involved, 18% where two children are involved and 19% where
three or more children are involved. This excludes cases where the net income for maintenance assessment
purposes is nil". (About half of all cases have nil assessible income).

Views?

(The current scheme is so complicated that it cannot be administered - this is largely because there is too
much information & evidence needed, not because the sums themselves are hard, although in fact they are. That
is why the vastly simpler new scheme is being introduced).


Child Support Agenda for the 21st Century
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/what_next.htm
--
Barry Pearson
http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/photography/
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/

Jill

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Jul 26, 2002, 1:25:27 PM7/26/02
to
On 26 Jul 2002 04:47:38 -0700, roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) sent
through the ether:

>perspic...@yahoo.com (Jill) wrote in message news:<3d401fbd...@news.earthlink.net>...


>
>>
>> I ask because in the past year, Wisconsin was ordered to stop using
>> the straight percentage guidelines or lose all their federal CS
>> funding, kickbacks, etc. They got caught out with some bad
>> bookkeeping or something because their monthly CS owed by fathers
>> fluctuated all over the place...sorry I can't recall exactly what else
>> was wrong but I'll ask my husband later as he's kept up on it.
>>
>
>I think you might be referring to Wisconsin's decision to tie the
>percent to actual income -- i.e. adjusting it every month to the
>actual paycheck.

Yes and no. Yes that is what I mean and No, it was not Wisconsin's
*decision* to do so. They may not have been ordered to do it so much
as warned about losing the federal money but they *were* indeed told.


For example, let's say Daddy says you will loose your allowance if you
don't clean your room--you may decide to clean it but was it *really*
your decision to do so? Or was the threat of losing $$$ the deciding
factor?

Left on their own, Wisconsin would never have given up their beloved,
socialist Percentage Plan on their own.

>This was especially important to seasonal workers
>like some construction workers for example, who can experience an
>economic boom in the summer but be unemployed for months in the
>winter.

Well yes, that's the obvious and the way it was officially put.

But in reality and if you look closer, it is no different for *any*
worker who earns overtime. In fact it is no different for the *bulk*
of workers in Wisconsin which is why this was such a huge concern in
the family court system in Wisconsin.

Common sense tells us that overtime is not static from month to month.

For example many workers often experience "economic booms" due to
overtime which may or may not also be tied to seasonal factors. Many
workers see no over time in January, and February (for example) and
an abundance of overtime in July, August, September, and October.
(Think Christmas for one possible reason why this would be so. The
climate in Wisconsin is another thing that often affects overtime.)

The way CSA's (at least in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties) compute
monthly amounts of CS owed for bookkeeping purposes is to take the
Year End income (from tax returns or if need by Social Security hands
it over to them, often without the man's knowledge) and divide that
Year End Income figure it by 12 Months. (If the man is remarried,
they are supposed to remove the new wife's income and assests...but
guess what...the CSA "forgets" to do that often times. The family
court judge had a bird when she found out my income was included in
the CSA's figues on my husband...only because my husband caught it.)

Yes, I know there are 13 months in a Fiscal Year. There are 52 weeks
in a calendar year and not 48 as the Divide By 12 uses in its
calculations. That is part of the book-cooking that brings in big
time False Arrears. A man under the Percentage Plan will always be in
arrears every year just from these facts alone. Why? Because he's
got a whole month of income that fits in now concrete month. So now
it gets lumped into each month of the year starting with January. And
then there's the interest attached because of this...starting with
January. Every man in Wisconsin will be in arrears every year...

*Even if he is garnished correctly the entire time.*

Now factor in the overtime. The factoring of overtime is done by the
CSA in that same Year End Gross Income Divided By 12 that I mention
above.

Therefore, some of the overtime that the man didn't earn until August
will obviously be included in January's CS Amount Owed. He will be
found in *arrears* and penalized with interest for money he didn't
earn for another SEVEN months.

The only way to make this kind of bookkeeping work correctly and
fairly is for every man paying CS to be paid once a year on December
31.

However, the CSA and the government call this current system of record
keeping "fair." Nevermind that It amounts to the kind of bookkeeping
Enron and Worldcom are being called on the carpet for. It is nothing
but shameless and illegal book cooking. Shady bookkeeping methods of
bookkeeping designed solely to maximize the amount of mommy support
women can now collect for their entire lifetime. Women who's kiddies
have all grown up can now keep getting CS. Sweet, no?

So ok the man is in arrears according to the CSA. That means the CSA
can now add the 1.5 % interest on the Total Arrears Every Month. In
January that doesn't amount to a whole lot. BUT in November and
December it is quite a bit of interest owed on money that was never in
arrears in reality.

Add to that that the CSA does not balance accounts or books once a
year. They never balance anything unless asked to do it by a man
paying CS and then he usually must get a court order before the CSA
will do so. (More $$$ such men can't afford to spend.) And what he
gets IF he gets anything is a handwritten mumbo jumbo mess from some
CSA clerk who is not even a bookkeeper. No computer generated
reports. Certainly never a balance sheet. NEVER records of what was
paid in or WHEN or what was sent to mommy or WHEN. They claim they
don't have those records and can't keep them on their Lockheed super
computer.

Oh...and any Tax Intercepts they have taken ove the years, do not show
up on the handwritten mumbo jumbo they call an "audit." When asked
they say the intercepts were taken into account on the "audit"....just
trust them. And the family court judges do so without blinking.

If a man doesn't ask for a yearly update on his account, the CSA never
sends one. Not even once a year. No matter how much they have
generated in False Arrears. Master Card and Visa must, by law notify
you if you owe them money and if you are in default. The CSA is
exempt from such rules.

Rather the CSA allows their cooked book False Arrears to add up year
after year after year. When the average man does find out
varies...usually it is when he goes in to remove his last child and
close out the CS account. SURPRISE!!!! He finds he owes anywhere
from $5,000 to $50,000+ in False Arrears even though he was *always*
garnished. Now just try to go back and prove you don't owe it after
10 years of so. Especially when you've relied by court order on the
CSA to keep all the records.

The family court judge my husband appeared before actually said it
isn't the CSA's job to keep CS records. That's one reason he is in
the appeals court right now.

You can't tell me anything about this stuff in Wisconsin, Roger. I've
been living it for more than 5 years now. It is a holy hell. A
nightmare that doesn't make it to the public's ears.

If you'd ever like to do an article on this I'd be willing to share my
husband's info but not until the appeals are over.

>The fed, under Clinton, slammed Wisconsin for that during the
>election season. Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson was thought of as
>the Republican's welfare reform guru. As you know, Tompson is now
>Secretary of HHS under Bush.

Don't start me on Thompson. I'm no big fan of his either. He merely
got Wisconsin to lose it's title as The Welfare State by putting it
all on to private men whether or not they were fathers or whether or
not it was fair.

>
>The OCSE (that approves plans) has never told any state that they had
>to stop using the percent formula -- even though they would if they
>were honest.

No, Wisconsin was told. The Milwaukee Urinal (Journal) even printed a
lengthy article on it. Later I'll look for it in their online
archives and try to find it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they
removed it. They've done that sort of thing before. My husband may
have saved the paper article because it affected his case directly
even though he is not and never has been a seasonal worker. Anyway
the Bottom Line of the Milwaukee Urinal's story was more about their
liberal concerns regarding womenandchildren not getting as much free
moola, IIRC.

Jill

Jill

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 1:27:27 PM7/26/02
to
On 26 Jul 2002 05:22:38 -0700, roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) sent
through the ether:

>QUESTION TO EVERYONE: Do you want me to invite the author of the book


>(see below or first post in this thread) to make comments and respond
>to questions here? He travels a lot on business, but he might be able
>to stop in once a week and participate.

I'd very much like to hear what the author knows on this topic, Roger.
Thanks for offering.

Jill

Jill

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 1:29:30 PM7/26/02
to
On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 07:48:40 -0500, Sunny <mas...@facstaff.wisc.edu>
sent through the ether:

That's the article I was thinking of, Sunny! Thanks for posting it
and saving me the time. I hate getting close to the Urinal even in
cyberspace. <g> I have a personal grudge against them.

Jill

Jill

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 2:12:20 PM7/26/02
to
On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 07:48:40 -0500, Sunny <mas...@facstaff.wisc.edu>
sent through the ether:

<snip>

>Child support changes sought
>
>State risks federal penalty
>By TOM KERTSCHER
>of the Journal Sentinel staff
>Last Updated: Jan. 5, 2001
>
>The federal agency that Gov. Tommy G. Thompson has been picked to lead
>is threatening to cut millions of dollars in aid to Wisconsin unless
>the state changes the way it calculates child support payments for
>66,000 families.
>
>Key Issue
>
>Now: In 66,000 child support cases, Wisconsin calculates payments owed
>as a percentage of the paying parent's income.
>
>Future: The federal government is ordering the state to set a fixed
>monthly amount for the payments.

This is what I referred to when I said the way it eventually has
worked is that the men who were paying as a % of their income
previously now find the amount "fixed" by a judge is far more than
they were previously paying.

>
> Section: Wisconsin's transition
>
>Besides the threat from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
>Services, the state faces paying $1.7 million of an estimated $5
>million cost to reopen those 66,000 cases, with no state money yet
>budgeted for the job. The federal government would pick up the rest of
>the cost.
>
>But state officials said Friday that they have begun drafting
>legislation to make the change and hope to alter all of the cases by
>the end of the year.

If any legislation was drafted or passed, I haven't heard of it.
However, all the cases have not been altered by the end of 2001. It
is still going on and on and on. Family court judges made changes
when a case came back before them as happened with my husband. Other
fathers tell me they've received letters summoning them to come into
court. 66,000+ cases mean a lot of people and most of these cases
were in only 2 counties.

>
>Once the change is made, "we'll do a better job collecting," said
>Jennifer Reinert, secretary of the state Department of Workforce
>Development, which oversees child support.

Oh sure they will and I'll tell you why below.

>
>The state handles about 189,000 child support cases. In two-thirds of
>them, the paying parent - usually the father - pays a fixed amount of
>support every month. The amount changes only if one parent or the
>other goes to court.

I would be surprised if the numbers in this were correct. So far as I
know, the bulk of cases in the 1980's and 1990's in Wisconsin's 2
largest counties, Milwaukee and Waukesha, were almost always set as a
Percentage of Income.

>
>In the other 66,000 cases, however, the paying, or non-custodial,
>parents pay varying amounts of support each month, based on a
>percentage of their income. Often, these parents work seasonal jobs,
>earn most of their money on commission or have fluctuating income for
>other reasons.

Funny how the most common fluctuation in income...overtime...was not
directly mentioned.

>
>Wisconsin is the only state that allows so-called percentage-expressed
>child support orders. For years, the federal government has been
>pressuring the state to drop them. Finally, with the threatened loss
>of federal funding as well as possible fines, state officials have
>begun mobilizing in recent weeks to change to a fixed-amount-only
>child support system.
>
>Barb DeMarco, a 47-year-old Madison mother of two, said her percentage
>order worked well in theory, because her support payments were
>supposed to rise automatically with any increase in her former
>husband's income. But the system never seemed to work as it was
>supposed to, she said.
>
>"It was a major hassle," said DeMarco, whose younger child turned 18
>last June.

My heart breaks for her. <gag> What Barb isn't saying is that when
Mr. X Husband was laid off, or fired, under the Percentage of Income,
Barb wasn't entitled to One Red Cent in CS.

The most inept math student understands that 0% of ZERO = 0. Nothing,
nada, zip.

That was what the spokeswoman above meant about making it easier to
collect CS under the new arrangement.

When Mr. X Husband didn't work, etc. poor Barb could not claim arrears
and the CSA might try to put him in arrears, but as in my husband's
case, those 0's were the first thing to get tossed out of the CSA's
"audit." Had to. It was the law...on the books. The judge had no
discretion with that.

Women could come to court and allege "shirking" and they'd always win
but few women knew this or were about to pay for an attorney on their
own.

Now just ask me about how the CSA provides and acts as an attorney for
women in Wisconsin FREE of charge. Even when the women can afford to
pay for their own attorney. Talk about Conflict of Interest. Is the
CSA supposed to be the accurate dispenser of CS and the accurate
Keeper of the Records? OR are they supposed to be Free Attorneys for
mommies? And if they are acting for mommies, how are they nonbiased
in their other duties?

>
>Deducted from paychecks
>
>In nearly all child support cases in Wisconsin, employers deduct
>payments from the payer's paycheck and forward them to the state,
>which sends them to the custodial parent. But state officials say
>percentage orders have been difficult for employers to manage, and the
>state often has no way of verifying that the payments are correct.

Lie. The employer must send the CSA the Gross Income Earned for the
wage period along with the Net Income Earned and the Amount of Wages
Garnished. It is a report they must send in addition to the actual
money. Wisconsin employers hate the amount of payroll time and wages
they must spend doing this work for the state.

However, Waukesha County's CSA whined the same thing above...that they
don't have these records from employers. The real story is that they
simply do not enter these figures from the reports in the CSA computer
and they throw the reports out...when I don't know. Maybe weekly,
monthly, yearly, or as I suspect immediately.

>
>Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which
>funds the lion's share of child support enforcement programs across
>the country, dislikes percentage cases because it cannot determine
>whether Wisconsin is collecting all the child support that should be
>paid.

Another tear jerking moment.

>
>Now, HHS - which Thompson soon will lead if the U.S. Senate confirms
>him - has indicated that it will cut at least $665,000 in federal
>child support aid to the state because of the problems with percentage
>cases. And it is threatening to impose millions of dollars more in
>cuts, or in fines that the state would have to pay, unless the state's
>66,000 percentage cases are converted to fixed monthly payments.
>
>Because Thompson has not yet taken over HHS, he will not comment on
>policy matters, his spokesman said.

Typical Thompson.

>
>Reinert, of the state Department of Workforce Development, said her
>staff is drafting legislation that would force the change to fixed
>payments. Then officials will begin to seek the estimated $1.7 million
>- which she called a "worst-case scenario" - to pay for the
>conversions.

I haven't heard more of this. I will say that DWD is the source of
most of the evil in the county CSA's. JMO, of course.

>
>Reinert acknowledged that because the money is not part of her
>department's 2001-'02 budget request, getting it from the Legislature
>"is not as simple."

But its for the children, so I'd be surprised if she didn't have some
success. This is precisely the sort of info the Urinal and local TV
stations would never report to the public.

>
>State Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee), co-chairman of the Legislature's

Hmmm...not sure but I think he's the guy who just got into major
problems with campaign law violations. I'll have to check that out.

>Joint Finance Committee, said he supports having the state cover the
>cost of the conversion so that it would not fall to the counties,
>which enforce child support orders. But he said he could not gauge how
>Republicans might view the issue.
>
>State Rep. John Gard (R-Peshtigo), Burke's co-chairman, could not be
>immediately reached.
>
>Because the money is not already in the budget, it would be
>"extraordinarily difficult" to take money from another part of the
>budget, Burke said.
>
>Although changing the percentage cases to fixed payments might be
>costly, it can be relatively simple. Ozaukee and Sauk counties are
>already sending letters to parents in some child support cases,
>pointing out that percentage orders might soon be banned and asking
>them to switch to fixed-amount orders. The counties are suggesting
>fixed amounts based on the paying parents' current income.

Not both incomes? Gee...what a surprise.

>
>If both parents in a given case agree, they can simply sign and return
>the paperwork. Milwaukee County plans to begin mailing similar letters
>this month.
>
>But because many child support cases involve bad relations between the
>parents, financial complexities or other issues, they will have to be
>converted from percentages to fixed amounts in court. Milwaukee
>County, which has 15,000 percentage cases, estimates it will need $1.5
>million to create a temporary court for conversions.

A brand new $$$ bonanza for family law attorneys, judges, and their
lackeys. Just follow the money trail...


>
>Based on a formula
>
>What would not change is the formula that Wisconsin uses to calculate
>child support payments in all cases.
>
>The formula generally calls for a parent supporting one child to pay
>17% of the parent's gross income, depending on the time the parent
>spends with the child.

Another fib. Some parents have the visitation factor, I'm sure though
in 15 years I've never met any. The bar for meeting this visitation
break is set fairly high in Wisconsin for father.

It was, however, the prime motivation for my husband's ex using
restraining orders and PAS to run my husband completely out of his
chidlren's lives. She is not the only one by far.

>That percentage rises if the parent supports
>more children in the same home, up to a maximum of 34% for five or
>more children in a home. Courts would continue to adjust the formula
>for special circumstances.

Of course.

>
>As for scrapping the percentage-payment system, parents with fixed
>payments would have to go to court each time they wanted to adjust the
>monthly payments. But often those adjustments can be made without
>attorneys, using help from county child support enforcement agencies,
>officials said.

Hahahahahahahahah! That is soooo funny. I already pointed out who
they work for.

>
>Parents who pay support and have fluctuating incomes may find it
>difficult to change to a fixed-payment system.
>
>"That's going to be a hard thing for people, especially the ones who
>pay regularly," said Rhonda Gorden, who heads Ozaukee County's child
>support collections.

People? I guess she's worried about the handful of women who actually
pay the CS they are ordered to pay.

>
>But John Hayes, director of the Milwaukee County Department of Child
>Support Enforcement, said he expects that most custodial parents will
>like being on a fixed-payment system so that they can count on
>receiving the same amount of support each month. Fixed payments also
>make it easier for the county to ensure that all support that is due
>actually gets paid, he said.

Translation: Most mothers will like getting more CS than before.

>Rachel Biittner, spokeswoman for the state Department of Workforce
>Development, said that even though Wisconsin is at odds with federal
>officials over the percentage-payment cases, the state ranks high in
>child support enforcement. Federal figures show that in fiscal 1999,
>Wisconsin ranked fourth in the nation by collecting $483,215 in
>support for every full-time child support enforcement employee,
>exceeding the national average of $277,818, she said.

Translation: Wisconsin is better at redistributing the wealth and
taking a cut off the top than most states.

>
>Pam Carter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human
>Services in Washington, said Wisconsin could lose not only millions of
>dollars in child support funding but also up to $318 million in
>federal welfare funds if it doesn't eliminate percentage cases from
>its child support system. It was not known how much any fines could
>be.

I note that almost all the quotes from the government come from women
heading CS related agencies. I also note that Waukesha County, the
2nd biggest county and one of the biggest CS violaters, did not ring
in on any of this.

>
>But the federal agency does not want to cut funds or impose fines, she
>said.
>
>"We'll try to work with them," Carter said.

Since the feds are the state's partner in crime, that is obvious.

Jill

Sunny

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 2:06:39 PM7/26/02
to
On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 17:29:30 GMT, perspic...@yahoo.com (Jill)
wrote:

>On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 07:48:40 -0500, Sunny <mas...@facstaff.wisc.edu>
>sent through the ether:
>
>That's the article I was thinking of, Sunny! Thanks for posting it
>and saving me the time. I hate getting close to the Urinal even in
>cyberspace. <g> I have a personal grudge against them.
>
>Jill

No prob.... just did a quick googlization.

My husband would love to pay a set amount.

His ex nickle-&-dimes him to death. She has the kids spy on him and
report back if we have bought anything new, and if he so much as wears
a new shirt she threatens to take him to court for "hiding income"
from her. She even browbeats him for not living off my salary and
giving *all* of his money to her. Once in a while he pays in a blues
band for peanuts, and she is right in his face with her hand out,
demanding her percentage of the take (which sometimes amounts to a
couple of dollars after expenses). Meanwhile, she gets a full 25% of
his gross (for two kids), before tax, plus $550 a month in
"maintenance" (alimony). If he makes overtime, she gets a cut of
that, too. She actually ends up making more money than both he and I
do combined. It would not be worth it for him to work a second job to
make ends meet, because she would just cash in on that, too. It's a
good thing we don't have kids of our own, because they would be made
to suffer the brunt of the CS cash outflow.

I'm thinking that if he could pay on the set amount plan instead of
the 25% percentage taken from his paycheck, she'd at least quit
hounding him all the time for more...... but he would have to hire a
lawyer and go back to court. No guarantees, either.

Sunny

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 2:23:50 PM7/26/02
to
Jill wrote regarding the Wisconsin State Journal:

>I have a personal grudge against them.

Sounds like that might be an interesting story that you could share
with us some time! :o)

Message has been deleted

Jill

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 3:06:47 PM7/26/02
to
On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 13:23:50 -0500, Sunny <mas...@facstaff.wisc.edu>
sent through the ether:

>Jill wrote regarding the Wisconsin State Journal:

No...The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal....that's where the quoted article
came from. Better known as the Milwaukee Urinal.

>
>>I have a personal grudge against them.
>
>Sounds like that might be an interesting story that you could share
>with us some time! :o)

Not really all that interesting. Long ago when I sometimes read the
rag, I wrote letters to the editor, one was even printed unedited.

Then one day they returned a letter all marked up with editing notes
and threatened me with a libel suit. Since it was my opinion but with
facts supporting it, I fail to see how it was libel.

It was the very idea that they would threaten an ordinary citizen with
a libel suite for merely stating an opinion that really pissed me off.
They knew it would intimidate as I don't have the legal or financial
resources they do. Not to mention the time to play silly games with
them in court.

They could have just ignored or rejected my letter as they did with so
many others I sent to them. Clearly they thought I was dangerous and
wanted to silence me. All they did was put an end to my reading their
crappy newspaper. I still speak my mind but not in their forum.

The Urinal is a paper run by a gaggle of liberals and femitwits who
can't play fair, be honest, or hear the truth.

I do occasionally buy the paper when I need to wrap and pack things or
in case the dishwasher or toilet overflows. But I never read it.

Jill

RogerFGay

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 3:29:41 PM7/26/02
to
"Barry Pearson" <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message news:<Urc09.2645$Uh1.1...@news8-gui.server.ntli.net>...


> The "logic" (quite good) is that if these (benefit rates) are what the government pays out, they are suitable for working out


> what children & parents need in the child support scheme.
>

children & parents .... depends on how the amount needed by parents is
applied. From what I can see below, the benefit rates are not properly
applied.

> Step 1 is to work out the "maintenance needed": this uses the above components. (It includes a controversial
> "carer's allowance", based on the adult component, on the assumption that younger children need care as well
> as food & clothes, etc. It falls, then disappears, as the children get older).

But the benefit rates include what children & PARENTS need. What
you're saying here seems to imply that the "child support" scheme
isn't about child support. It's about supporting the custodial parent.


>
> Step 2 is to work out the "assessible income" of each parent: this is the net income, less housing costs, less
> basic cost of living using similar components to the above (which will also allow for any of the NRP's
> children living with him or her).

Definitely sounds good.


>
> Step 3 takes up to 50% of the combined (mother's + father's) "assessible income" until the "maintenance
> needed" (step 1) is covered. The parents are expected to pay this amount in the proportion of their own
> "assessible income" to the combined "assessible income".

Now we're talkin' --- that's more based on relative "ability to pay"
rather than relative income. A very good step.


>
> Step 4 applies in the minority case that the "maintenance needed" is available in less than the 50% of the
> combined "assessible income". It is a sort of "share in the wealth" feature - additional amounts are expected
> from each parent from their "assessible income" that hadn't just had 50% of it taken - 15% / 20% / 25% for 1 /
> 2 / 3-or-more children.

a. I can't see this together with the idea that adult needs have
already been included in step one. Get rid of adult needs in step one
and maybe we can talk, but b. this isn't the way to do this. Please
tell whoever is in charge that the mathematics for the standard of
living adjustment have been derived. There's no longer any reason to
throw out these whatever ya feel like percentages.


>
> Step 5 applies various caps: the NRP's remaining money must not fall below what her or she would get on
> benefits

Negativo comprehendo. She's not actually going to be paying anything
to anybody is she? Or is this where I'm supposed to realize that step
one makes sense in some way? If the latter, why can't we just take the
rational approach of figuring out what she and the children need
together to begin with. Oh, this is logically funny. Once you have
assessable income, you know whether or not she has money enough to
contribute. The rest is based on her assessible income. Maybe there's
a missing step. Does this feature kick in only when her assessible
income is negative? Something is either being considered more times
than it needs to be or it's wrong. I'm not entirely sure which yet.
But either way, the design has strange features that it doesn't need.


>
> According to a recent answer in Parliament: "The mean average percentage of net income ... paid by a
> non-resident parent is 15% where one child is involved, 18% where two children are involved and 19% where
> three or more children are involved.

What they're claiming then is that a fixed percent (depending on
number of children) is what parents spend on children above the base.
In that respect, it's like the Delaware-Melson and traditional Swedish
model. But Melson was only able to see 5% above the base rate. And
once again, it's no longer necessary to throw out these whatever ya
want guesses in percentages. The mathematics of the standard of living
adjustment have been worked out.

See: "New Equations for Calculating Child Support and Spousal
Maintenance
With Discussion on Child Support Guidelines" 1994
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5910/Alimony2/ALIMONY2.htm

Dwayne Shrum

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 3:45:26 PM7/26/02
to
that would be too cool!

"RogerFGay" <roge...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4b6433c3.02072...@posting.google.com...

Barry Pearson

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 4:42:31 PM7/26/02
to
"RogerFGay" <roge...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4b6433c3.0207...@posting.google.com...

> "Barry Pearson" <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:<Urc09.2645$Uh1.1...@news8-gui.server.ntli.net>...
>
> > The "logic" (quite good) is that if these (benefit rates) are
> > what the government pays out, they are suitable for working out
> > what children & parents need in the child support scheme.
>
> children & parents .... depends on how the amount needed by parents
> is applied. From what I can see below, the benefit rates are not
> properly applied.
>
> > Step 1 is to work out the "maintenance needed": this uses the above
> > components. (It includes a controversial "carer's allowance", based
> > on the adult component, on the assumption that younger children
> > need care as well as food & clothes, etc. It falls, then disappears,
> > as the children get older).
>
> But the benefit rates include what children & PARENTS need. What
> you're saying here seems to imply that the "child support" scheme
> isn't about child support. It's about supporting the custodial parent.

Chuckle! That is why this is controversial!

See:
"Categories of expenditure on children"
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/cost_of_children/cost
_of_children_categories.htm

It includes "care" - health-care, childcare, other care, baby sitting. Part of
the cost of children is not just food & clothes, etc, but also the cost of
getting these into & onto the child. Otherwise a young child starves & freezes.
If both parents work, there is surely no doubt here - there is a service cost as
well as a consumables cost.

Some say "this is a vital part of the cost of raising a child". Some say "this
is paying to keep the adult providing these services alive, and if that is the
lone parent, it is paying to keep the lone parent alive". Both are correct. A
payment may be genuinely for both purposes. The cost of buying ANY service
includes the cost of keeping the service provider alive. If someone other than
the lone parent provides the service, people will accept this (although they may
then say "but the lone parent could do this cheaper"). But if it is the lone
parent who provides this service, people complain that it is spousal
maintenance. Even though it is probably cheaper than paying for a commercial
service!

This cost is a genuine cost of raising a child. In fact, the lone parent is
providing cheap childcare which would otherwise have to be provided commercially
at higher cost. What sticks in people's throats is that although they are paying
for childcare which they probably know is necessary, the service provider
happens to be the ex, which they resent! Yet they would not like to pay the full
cost of commercial childcare. (I have never seen anyone propose a plausible
answer to this - they just complain!)

This is financially a correct component. But it will never be accepted
emotionally.

> > Step 2 is to work out the "assessible income" of each parent: this is the
net
> > income, less housing costs, less basic cost of living using similar
> > components to the above (which will also allow for any of the NRP's
> > children living with him or her).
>
> Definitely sounds good.
>
> > Step 3 takes up to 50% of the combined (mother's + father's) "assessible
> > income" until the "maintenance needed" (step 1) is covered. The parents
> > are expected to pay this amount in the proportion of their own
> > "assessible income" to the combined "assessible income".
>
> Now we're talkin' --- that's more based on relative "ability to pay"
> rather than relative income. A very good step.
>
> > Step 4 applies in the minority case that the "maintenance needed" is
> > available in less than the 50% of the combined "assessible income".
> > It is a sort of "share in the wealth" feature - additional amounts are
> > expected from each parent from their "assessible income" that hadn't
> > just had 50% of it taken - 15% / 20% / 25% for 1 /
> > 2 / 3-or-more children.
>
> a. I can't see this together with the idea that adult needs have
> already been included in step one. Get rid of adult needs in step one
> and maybe we can talk, but b. this isn't the way to do this. Please
> tell whoever is in charge that the mathematics for the standard of
> living adjustment have been derived. There's no longer any reason to
> throw out these whatever ya feel like percentages.

It is simply based on the known fact that on average richer people spend more on
their children than poorer people. Reality happens not to obey the mathematics
used here -

"We also found, at first sight strangely, that average spending did not vary
greatly with income of a family; about 20 per cent from the bottom quartile to
the top income quartile."
(Sue Middleton, co-researcher of Small Fortunes, in evidence to the Social
Security Select Committee)

but it does exist.

"Sharing wealth and the "Small Fortunes" research"
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/wealth_sharing/wealth
_sharing_and_small_fortunes.htm

> > Step 5 applies various caps: the NRP's remaining money must
> > not fall below what her or she would get on benefits
>
> Negativo comprehendo. She's not actually going to be paying anything
> to anybody is she? Or is this where I'm supposed to realize that step
> one makes sense in some way? If the latter, why can't we just take the
> rational approach of figuring out what she and the children need
> together to begin with. Oh, this is logically funny. Once you have
> assessable income, you know whether or not she has money enough to
> contribute. The rest is based on her assessible income. Maybe there's
> a missing step. Does this feature kick in only when her assessible
> income is negative? Something is either being considered more times
> than it needs to be or it's wrong. I'm not entirely sure which yet.
> But either way, the design has strange features that it doesn't need.

Er ... NRP is the non-resident parent who is paying. You may have got this the
wrong way round!

Re-think from the "obligor's" point of view. These are caps on the payer's
liability.

> > According to a recent answer in Parliament: "The mean average
> > percentage of net income ... paid by a non-resident parent is 15%
> > where one child is involved, 18% where two children are involved
> > and 19% where three or more children are involved.
>
> What they're claiming then is that a fixed percent (depending on
> number of children) is what parents spend on children above the base.
> In that respect, it's like the Delaware-Melson and traditional Swedish
> model. But Melson was only able to see 5% above the base rate. And
> once again, it's no longer necessary to throw out these whatever ya
> want guesses in percentages. The mathematics of the standard of living
> adjustment have been worked out.

[snip]

No, they are not claiming that. They are saying what the result is, not how the
result is derived. They have a complicated formula, which happens to yield the
above averages, over a large range (large standard deviation). (Any real number
is a percentage of any other real number, but that doesn't imply a causal
relationship).


This formula has proved too complicated to operate in the UK. So the new scheme
is a simple percentage of NRP's net income (with a few twists). Most NRP's want
to get onto the new scheme ASAP. Probably most Parents With Care think likewise.
With adjustments to the social security rules, most NRPs & most PWCs will be
favoured by the formula.

http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/faq/

James Buster

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 11:29:49 PM7/26/02
to
frazil wrote:
> As I recall in Georgia, also one of the few states that used the percent of
> income model, the court found that the model violated the equal protection
> clause of the constitution (state?) because the formula didn't consider the
> CP's income.

Since income shares is mathematically identical to a strict
percentage-of-ncp-income model, why doesn't it too violate equal
protection?

Frighteningly, some posters here say that in their states the NCP's
payment *rises* with increasing CP income. That's truly shocking.

James Buster

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 11:40:14 PM7/26/02
to
Sunny wrote:
> In nearly all child support cases in Wisconsin, employers deduct
> payments from the payer's paycheck and forward them to the state,
> which sends them to the custodial parent. But state officials say
> percentage orders have been difficult for employers to manage, and the
> state often has no way of verifying that the payments are correct.

Why not? Doesn't the state get its monthly W-2 statements from
every employer for purposes of figuring payroll taxes? Verifying
that XX% of $D was paid is *trivial*. What am I missing here?

As for the employers, their complaints are bullshit. If your
payroll office can figure out how much 7.65% of your paycheck is
(that's the employee portion of FICA, in case you didn't know) they
can figure out how much CS to deduct, if told the percentage.

> Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which
> funds the lion's share of child support enforcement programs across
> the country, dislikes percentage cases because it cannot determine
> whether Wisconsin is collecting all the child support that should be
> paid.

DHHS are obviously morons. IRS is told every cent you make. Matching
that with the deemed percentage is trivial.

> The formula generally calls for a parent supporting one child to pay
> 17% of the parent's gross income, depending on the time the parent
> spends with the child.

Which isn't how real parents spend money. In real families, the
percentage decreases with rising income.

> But John Hayes, director of the Milwaukee County Department of Child
> Support Enforcement, said he expects that most custodial parents will
> like being on a fixed-payment system so that they can count on
> receiving the same amount of support each month.

Of course. Only CP preferences matter.

James Buster

unread,
Jul 26, 2002, 11:55:57 PM7/26/02
to
Barry Pearson wrote:
> Some say "this is a vital part of the cost of raising a child". Some say "this
> is paying to keep the adult providing these services alive, and if that is the
> lone parent, it is paying to keep the lone parent alive". Both are correct. A
> payment may be genuinely for both purposes. The cost of buying ANY service
> includes the cost of keeping the service provider alive. If someone other than
> the lone parent provides the service, people will accept this (although they may
> then say "but the lone parent could do this cheaper"). But if it is the lone
> parent who provides this service, people complain that it is spousal
> maintenance. Even though it is probably cheaper than paying for a commercial
> service!

They damn well *should* complain. That a commercial service is
more expensive is *irrelevant*. The CP is a *parent*, and parents
do not deserve compensation for time and effort spent raising their
own children. That is the price of being a parent.

RogerFGay

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 5:36:59 AM7/27/02
to
"Barry Pearson" <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message news:<Rxi09.3184$7v5.1...@newsfep1-win.server.ntli.net>...

>
> This cost is a genuine cost of raising a child. In fact, the lone parent is
> providing cheap childcare which would otherwise have to be provided commercially
> at higher cost.

No. This is not a genuine cost of raising a child. It has something to
do with the cost of being a lone parent. Apply the same reasoning to
the cost of working. Deduct all the fathers expenses, including a car
to get to work, a house to live in so that he can rest up to go to
work, food to sustain himself so that he can work, and the pay for the
time he spends working. Don't forget the extra fee for filling out the
child support checks. Since it takes money to support a child, all the
above costs are directly related to the cost of raising children.
These are costs born by the non-custodial parant.

Barry Pearson

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 7:11:11 AM7/27/02
to
"RogerFGay" <roge...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:4b6433c3.0207...@posting.google.com...
> "Barry Pearson" <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:<Rxi09.3184$7v5.1...@newsfep1-win.server.ntli.net>...
> >
> > This cost is a genuine cost of raising a child. In fact, the lone parent
> > is providing cheap childcare which would otherwise have to be
> > provided commercially at higher cost.
>
> No. This is not a genuine cost of raising a child. It has something to
> do with the cost of being a lone parent.

It is a genuine part of the cost of raising the child! It makes the family worse
off in a way that wouldn't exist if the child didn't exist and/or was older. The
cost happens to increase on average in a separated family compared with an
intact family, but that is what we are dealing with here.

In an intact family, this cost still exists, but is sometimes less explicit.
Sometimes it is handled by having 2 parents to cover one-another, sometimes it
is handled by the family's lost opportunity costs of having a part time worker,
and sometimes it is handled by paying large amounts in commercial childcare. But
it is a genuine part of the cost of raising children in intact as well as
separated families, and needs to be considered in a formula that tries to
examine all costs.

Remember - this amount happens to be what the government is prepared to pay for
cheap childcare - in other words, to enable a lone parent to stay out of work to
care for a child rather than work. If that same parent got a low paid job that
needed further assistance from the government, at that point the assistance
would include an explicit childcare component - and it could be MUCH higher than
the adult allowance of an out-of-work lone parent. The adult allowance of a
non-working lone parent is about £54 per week. (This is however many children
there are, and this is spread among all the non-resident parents if there are
more than one). The government can pay out over £94 for 1 child and up to £140
for 2 or more children per week in explicit childcare assistance for a family
(separated or intact) which has taken low pay & needs help. (Childcare is
expensive & not always readily available in the UK).

> Apply the same reasoning to
> the cost of working. Deduct all the fathers expenses, including a
> car to get to work, a house to live in so that he can rest up to go
> to work, food to sustain himself so that he can work, and the pay
> for the time he spends working. Don't forget the extra fee for
> filling out the child support checks. Since it takes money to
> support a child, all the above costs are directly related to the
> cost of raising children.
> These are costs born by the non-custodial parant.

Unlike childcare costs, some of these would exist if the child didn't exist
and/or was older. They are not fundamentally part of the cost of raising the
child. If you want to claim that the marginal extra costs of needing a better
job because there is a child to be supported should be considered to be part of
the cost of raising a child - fine. That is a different argument, but if he
doesn't actually change his job, what is that cost? And, of course, you may then
have to decide what to do about costs if the PWC works too - do they get ADDED
to the "maintenance needed" for the child?

The things you mention are covered to some extent by the current formula:
- Housing costs are subtracting from net income up to half of net income or £80
per week, whichever is greater.
- Travel expenses are covered beyond a certain point, by subtracting an
allowance per mile beyond a certain mileage per week from net income.
- Food is subtracted from net income, because it is included in the adult
allowance which is subtracted.

(I don't understand the idea of subtracting the pay for the time he spends
working. He needs to work anyway).

Don't make the mistake of believing that the UK's current formula is as
illogical as some of the situations that have been described here for the US,
etc. In fact, it is an attempt to identify genuine costs & allowances in a
non-arbitrary way (using amounts that the government itself is prepared to pay
out in assistance for similar purposes). One of its problem is that this makes
it vastly too complicated to administer here, hence the reforms. (Another of its
problems is that many NRPs don't earn enough to raise children! In an intact
family, they get government assistance. Once separated, only the PWC gets such
assistance. This is one of the issues I helped raise with government).

Barry Pearson

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 7:36:34 AM7/27/02
to
"James Buster" <bit...@mac.com> wrote in message news:3D421AF...@mac.com...

Yes, it is the price of being parent - for both parents. It is one that has
financial implications, as expected for something that involves cost & effort.
One of the financial implications is that sometimes money has to be paid out for
commercial childcare!

Whether families are intact or separated, childcare has a financial implication
even if it is not always explicit. Sometimes it is handled by having 2 parents


to cover one-another, sometimes it is handled by the family's lost opportunity
costs of having a part time worker, and sometimes it is handled by paying large

amounts in commercial childcare. But it is a genuine part of the cost of raising


children in intact as well as separated families, and needs to be considered in
a formula that tries to examine all costs.

Problems with childcare are one of the issues in the way of the UK government's
programme for reducing child poverty, because they inhibit earning. These are
very real problems which won't go away by saying they are part of the price of
parenting. (And to repeat what I've pointed out before - 60% of children in
poverty in the UK live in households with both their parents - this is not just
about separated families).

frazil

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 11:06:53 AM7/27/02
to

James Buster <bit...@mac.com> wrote in message
news:3D4214D2...@mac.com...

> frazil wrote:
> > As I recall in Georgia, also one of the few states that used the percent
of
> > income model, the court found that the model violated the equal
protection
> > clause of the constitution (state?) because the formula didn't consider
the
> > CP's income.
>
> Since income shares is mathematically identical to a strict
> percentage-of-ncp-income model, why doesn't it too violate equal
> protection?
>
Because they are not mathematically identical, even though they may yield
the same result.

The percent of income model only considers the income of the NCP when
setting a CS amount. The income shares model combines both the CP's and
NCP's income and then apportions the CS amount based on the percentage of
the NCP's contribution to the combined income.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not defending the result of either model. The
income shares model has its own problems, but that model was not what the
Georgia court was asked to rule on.

> Frighteningly, some posters here say that in their states the NCP's
> payment *rises* with increasing CP income. That's truly shocking.

In theory that can be the result. But in practice, it is the exception. In
income shares states, as the combined income increases so does the amount of
combined CS, but as the CP's income increases relative to the NCP's income,
the portion of the combined income attributed to the NCP decreases. The
result is that the NCP's CS amount stays about the same.


frazil

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 11:15:11 AM7/27/02
to

James Buster <bit...@mac.com> wrote in message
news:3D421741...@mac.com...

> Sunny wrote:
> > In nearly all child support cases in Wisconsin, employers deduct
> > payments from the payer's paycheck and forward them to the state,
> > which sends them to the custodial parent. But state officials say
> > percentage orders have been difficult for employers to manage, and the
> > state often has no way of verifying that the payments are correct.
>
> Why not? Doesn't the state get its monthly W-2 statements from
> every employer for purposes of figuring payroll taxes? Verifying
> that XX% of $D was paid is *trivial*. What am I missing here?

The fact that the right hand doesn't tell the left hand what it's doing
(i.e. CS payment is handled through the CSA and payroll taxes are handled by
the Department of Revenue).


>
> As for the employers, their complaints are bullshit. If your
> payroll office can figure out how much 7.65% of your paycheck is
> (that's the employee portion of FICA, in case you didn't know) they
> can figure out how much CS to deduct, if told the percentage.

True it is not difficult to figure out how much to deduct, but becuase
payroll taxes and CS payments are handled through different State entities,
it creates more work.

>
> > Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which
> > funds the lion's share of child support enforcement programs across
> > the country, dislikes percentage cases because it cannot determine
> > whether Wisconsin is collecting all the child support that should be
> > paid.
>
> DHHS are obviously morons. IRS is told every cent you make. Matching
> that with the deemed percentage is trivial.

Only if you want the DHHS to get everything the IRS gets.


>
> > The formula generally calls for a parent supporting one child to pay
> > 17% of the parent's gross income, depending on the time the parent
> > spends with the child.
>
> Which isn't how real parents spend money. In real families, the
> percentage decreases with rising income.

Yep, that is one of the problems with guideline models to determine CS
amounts.

>
> > But John Hayes, director of the Milwaukee County Department of Child
> > Support Enforcement, said he expects that most custodial parents will
> > like being on a fixed-payment system so that they can count on
> > receiving the same amount of support each month.
>
> Of course. Only CP preferences matter.

Seems that way, doesn't it?


frazil

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 1:09:16 PM7/27/02
to

Barry Pearson <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:Rxi09.3184$7v5.1...@newsfep1-win.server.ntli.net...

I might agree with this reasoning if the service provided is a service I
actually want. As the matter stands it is a service one is required to
take. The objection is that NRP is 1) required to pay for a service that
they may not want to pay for or a service that they may not need; and 2)
precluded from using other alternatives. For example if I can change the
spark plugs on my car, why is it necessary for me to pay for the services of
a mechanic to change the spark plugs, even if I do it myself. It has
nothing to do with the service provider being the ex, it has everything to
with freedom of choice. If the NRP could choose the service provider then
one could argue it is a legitimate cost.


>
> This is financially a correct component. But it will never be accepted
> emotionally.

It is only a financially correct component, if the NRP chooses to avail
themselves of the service. For example suppose the NRP's parents are
willing to provide the service free of charge, why then should the NRP pay
for the service, when they have the alternative not to have to pay for the
service.

Ah yes the fallacy of averages. While averages may be a legitimate way to
characterize a population. It is not a legitimate way characterize the
individual members of the population. IOW, if the average height of males
in the world is 5' 8", that doesn't mean I'm 5' 8" tall. If fact,
probability theory would predict that I'm not 5' 8" tall.

Of the 3 types of averages it is the modal average that would have the most
legitimacy because that is the most frequently occurring situation.

>
> "We also found, at first sight strangely, that average spending did not
vary
> greatly with income of a family; about 20 per cent from the bottom
quartile to
> the top income quartile."
> (Sue Middleton, co-researcher of Small Fortunes, in evidence to the Social
> Security Select Committee)
>
> but it does exist.

But not frequently.

I'm not sure what you are trying to convey here. But it appears that they
are using a formula to derive the amount spent and then using the average
results of the formula justify a simplification of the formula. What it
doesn't address is the ligitimacy of the formula used to derive the initial
results upon which the simplification is based. Reminds me of the old
computer programmer's axiom. Garbage in: Garbage out.

>
>
> This formula has proved too complicated to operate in the UK. So the new
scheme
> is a simple percentage of NRP's net income (with a few twists). Most NRP's
want
> to get onto the new scheme ASAP. Probably most Parents With Care think
likewise.
> With adjustments to the social security rules, most NRPs & most PWCs will
be
> favoured by the formula.

But what they are not doing is verifying that the complicated formula yields
ligitimate results. They further compound the problem by simplifying the
formula based on the results of a formula which they can not verify. Is
this a great world or what!

frazil

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 8:51:55 PM7/27/02
to

Barry Pearson <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ODv09.21485$vN6.1...@newsfep2-win.server.ntli.net...

Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. Your system doesn't allow for it
not. Your system assumes that money must be paid out for commercial day
care. And, as you admit, that is not always true.

>
> Whether families are intact or separated, childcare has a financial
implication
> even if it is not always explicit. Sometimes it is handled by having 2
parents
> to cover one-another, sometimes it is handled by the family's lost
opportunity
> costs of having a part time worker, and sometimes it is handled by paying
large
> amounts in commercial childcare. But it is a genuine part of the cost of
raising
> children in intact as well as separated families, and needs to be
considered in
> a formula that tries to examine all costs.

Your system doesn't recognize implications. Your system only recognizes one
implicatiuon. IOW, you are arguing that the cost has nothing to do with the
situation. I'm arguing that the cost has everything to do with the
situation. Thus the legitimacy of the rule depends on the situation in
which it is applied.

Whether or not the cost of daycare is a legitimate cost, depends on the
particular circumstances.

Dwayne Shrum

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 9:12:08 PM7/27/02
to

"James Buster" <bit...@mac.com> wrote in message
news:3D421741...@mac.com...

> Sunny wrote:
> > In nearly all child support cases in Wisconsin, employers deduct
> > payments from the payer's paycheck and forward them to the state,
> > which sends them to the custodial parent. But state officials say
> > percentage orders have been difficult for employers to manage, and the
> > state often has no way of verifying that the payments are correct.
>
> Why not? Doesn't the state get its monthly W-2 statements from
> every employer for purposes of figuring payroll taxes? Verifying
> that XX% of $D was paid is *trivial*. What am I missing here?
>
> As for the employers, their complaints are bullshit. If your
> payroll office can figure out how much 7.65% of your paycheck is
> (that's the employee portion of FICA, in case you didn't know) they
> can figure out how much CS to deduct, if told the percentage.
>
> > Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which
> > funds the lion's share of child support enforcement programs across
> > the country, dislikes percentage cases because it cannot determine
> > whether Wisconsin is collecting all the child support that should be
> > paid.
>
> DHHS are obviously morons. IRS is told every cent you make. Matching
> that with the deemed percentage is trivial.

EXACTLY!!! Here, our last DSS head was a complete moron. Since he retired,
a new person took his place, is working with LA Dad's in surprisingly
supportive way, but indicates she won't be there long... she hates the
politics that interfere with her doing her commissioned tasks... getting
parents to do what she gets told the courts say.. She is a real person -
not a moron - hence her seemingly internal conflict of the unwritten duties.

I wonder if it wouldn't be better to have this position - elected, instead.

frazil

unread,
Jul 27, 2002, 10:14:47 PM7/27/02
to

Barry Pearson <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1gv09.21413$vN6.1...@newsfep2-win.server.ntli.net...

So why don't you consider that sometimes there is no cost because a family
member provides the service at no cost.

Why don't you think that no one would take care of a kid if there was
nothing to gain personally?.

What you are trying to argue is that the cost of the ex's services is
legitimate. But you won't allow that ex's service to be subject to
competition. If the ex's service can not compete, then perhaps the cost is
not legitimate.

>
> Remember - this amount happens to be what the government is prepared to
pay for
> cheap childcare - in other words, to enable a lone parent to stay out of
work to
> care for a child rather than work. If that same parent got a low paid job
that
> needed further assistance from the government, at that point the
assistance
> would include an explicit childcare component - and it could be MUCH
higher than
> the adult allowance of an out-of-work lone parent. The adult allowance of
a
> non-working lone parent is about £54 per week. (This is however many
children
> there are, and this is spread among all the non-resident parents if there
are
> more than one). The government can pay out over £94 for 1 child and up to
£140
> for 2 or more children per week in explicit childcare assistance for a
family
> (separated or intact) which has taken low pay & needs help. (Childcare is
> expensive & not always readily available in the UK).

And your first mistake is thinking that what the government is prepared to
pay has a rational basis

And if the amount the government is prepared to give out has no rational
basis, it is no more rational than any other formula. IOW, the result can
not be justified without first being able to justify the means that gets you
to the result.

One of its problem is that this makes
> it vastly too complicated to administer here, hence the reforms. (Another
of its
> problems is that many NRPs don't earn enough to raise children! In an
intact
> family, they get government assistance. Once separated, only the PWC gets
such
> assistance. This is one of the issues I helped raise with government).

Being too complicated doesn't justify simplification. In fact the
complications argue against simplifications.

Barry Pearson

unread,
Jul 28, 2002, 9:34:15 AM7/28/02
to
"frazil" <fra...@geospam.com> wrote in message
news:ai0nvj$id0$1...@bob.news.rcn.net...

> Barry Pearson <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:1gv09.21413$vN6.1...@newsfep2-win.server.ntli.net...
[snip]

> > It is a genuine part of the cost of raising the child! It makes the
> > family worse off in a way that wouldn't exist if the child didn't exist
> > and/or was older. The cost happens to increase on average in a
> > separated family compared with an intact family, but that is what
> > we are dealing with here.
> >
> > In an intact family, this cost still exists, but is sometimes less
> > explicit. Sometimes it is handled by having 2 parents to cover
> > one-another, sometimes it is handled by the family's lost
> > opportunity costs of having a part time worker,
> > and sometimes it is handled by paying large amounts in commercial
> > childcare. But it is a genuine part of the cost of raising children in
> > intact as well as separated families, and needs to be considered in
> > a formula that tries to examine all costs.
>
> So why don't you consider that sometimes there is no cost because a
> family member provides the service at no cost.
>
> Why don't you think that no one would take care of a kid if there
> was nothing to gain personally?.
>
> What you are trying to argue is that the cost of the ex's services is
> legitimate. But you won't allow that ex's service to be subject to
> competition. If the ex's service can not compete, then perhaps the
> cost is not legitimate.

Read what I said - the formula (NOT my formula) was based on identifying amounts
for various components based on research, increases for inflation, etc. Some
amounts will sometimes be too high for a particular case, some will sometimes be
too low, but that is what will happen when the detailed costs of each case are
not separately identified. And the government has decided from experience that
it can't afford to sort out the detailed costings of each case. And many parents
wouldn't want it to - they don't want that level of intrusion, nor do they want
opportunities for lawyers to get involved.

Also read what I said about commercial childcare typically costing a LOT more
than the "adult allowance". The "in work" tax credits recognise childcare costs
of up to £135 per week for one child, and up to £200 for 2 or more (then the
government will pay 70% of those amounts). But the adult allowance is £53.95,
and few non-resident parents actually end up paying it all. (The average Full
Maintenance Assessment for all non-resident parents is about £21 per week, which
is less than a third of the researched costs of raising a first child).

[snip]


> And your first mistake is thinking that what the government is prepared
> to pay has a rational basis

It is not a mistake. The govenment uses research based on "basket of goods" type
analysis, updated by inflation figures, etc. It is widely recognised that the
figures are low - they are really for temporary poverty relief, not for long
term living (and certainly not for comfortable living). For example, they tend
to include consumables, but not the replacement of durables. So they are really
designed to keep the social security bill under control while avoiding people
starving to death. It could be argued that they should be set higher for child
support purposes, to allow for the replacement of durables over childhood. But
they ARE decided rationally.

[snip]


> > Don't make the mistake of believing that the UK's current formula
> > is as illogical as some of the situations that have been described
> > here for the US, etc. In fact, it is an attempt to identify genuine
> > costs & allowances in a non-arbitrary way (using amounts that
> > the government itself is prepared to pay
> > out in assistance for similar purposes).
>
> And if the amount the government is prepared to give out has no
> rational basis, it is no more rational than any other formula. IOW,
> the result can not be justified without first being able to justify the
> means that gets you to the result.

It HAS got a rational basis, based on researched costs of living, tailored to be
as low as the government can get away with in order the keep taxes down. It has
been working with many variations for decades, typically without people starving
to death, and typically (unless you have LOTS of children, or commit fraud!)
without making a good living out of it. (The amounts per child are probably too
low, some other amounts are too high or too low depending where you live, but
with millions of people claiming benefits, it is necessary to make some
simplifying decisions then require people to adapt to them).

Then the attempt was made to fit those into a child support formula. One problem
is that it probably didn't go far enough, and there are examples where you think
"why is this in and not that" - sometimes there are subtle answers, sometimes
perhaps it just wasn't important enough, or they haven't yet got round to
fitting it into the formula. (The formula has got much more complicated over
time). Another problem is that certain features (such as the 50% rate from the
assessable income taken to build the maintenance needs, and the 15% / 20% / 25%
rates beyond that for "wealth sharing", and the exact points at which the
carer's allowance reduces) are still somewhat arbitrary. But there is no known
way of correcting those without making things even harder to administer. The
government is not going to return to using courts to judge individual cases for
the 2 million potential cases in the scope of the CSA.

The result of the complexity is that the formula yields results that can't
easily be predicted just by looking at it. A lot of my own analysis made
extensive use of my spreadsheet, and I believe I have spotted features that have
never been published before, and may not even have been known before. Sometimes
the components have a rational basis, but the results appear to defy common
sense - often because of those arbitrary numbers in the previous paragraph. This
is just one of the reasons why I believe that simplification is needed.

> > One of its problem is that this makes
> > it vastly too complicated to administer here, hence the reforms.
> > (Another of its problems is that many NRPs don't earn enough
> > to raise children! In an intact family, they get government assistance.
> > Once separated, only the PWC gets such
> > assistance. This is one of the issues I helped raise with government).
>
> Being too complicated doesn't justify simplification. In fact the
> complications argue against simplifications.

Read what I said "vastly too complicated to administer here". Note "... to
administer ..."! That DEMANDS simplification - and so do most people involved in
the system.

On my web site I have listed some important characteristics of a child support
system, which I'll quote below. They are based on my analysis over years, much
of it based on talking to mothers & fathers involved in CSA cases.
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/what_next/formula.htm

The amount should be calculated according to a formula, and not rely on the whim
of decision makers. It should also be simple with relatively little information
of personal circumstances needed to make the calculation.

- Predictable: People should be able to plan their financial affairs. This
applies to both payer and payee.

- Plausible: All concerned must be able to understand what all the features are
for. (Whether they agree with them or not). Features must be explainable, and
not be arbitrary. The features of the formula must relate to the support of
children, and be consistent with the policy objectives (eg. relieving child
poverty or whatever).

- Practical: It must be possible to administer all aspects of the system in
practice with quality achievements. There should be no features such as
discontinuities which encourage bad behaviour by the people concerned.

The formula should be freely publicised.

WHY?

All of the features above - predictable, plausible, practical - are simply
characteristics that most people want from the systems that impact their lives.
They would apply to motor cars, an examination system, the remote control for a
television, etc. By default, they should apply here too. Consider what happens
with the child support of the 1991 & 1995 Acts:

- Unpredictable: The parent with care often can't predict whether money will
arrive, or if so how much. (A given amount of money is more valuable if it is
predictable). The non resident parent often receives unexpected increases in
liability. (A give amount of money is often more affordable if it is
predictable). The "departures" scheme appears like a battle with unpredictable
consequences for both sides.

- Implausible: No one really understands what all the features are for. Few
could truly justify them, since some features (such as certain percentages) are
simply arbitrary. Some liabilities don't correspond to researched costs of
children. There are many areas where there is a valid but unanswerable question:
"if they take X into account why don't they also take Y into account?"

- Impractical: The formula is demonstrably impossible to administer in practice.
The formula is badly-behaved, with unexpected consequences that encourage
undesirable behaviour (such as leaving work, emigration, even suicide). A scheme
that takes a lot of circumstances into account will be subject to reviews more
often as circumstances change.

There are many people who don't want a simple formula. They typically claim that
a system that took more circumstances into account would be fairer (which
normally means that it would make the person concerned better off). But in
general, for the non resident parent, that is probably not true. A simple scheme
has to play safe and set a low average amount. A scheme that uses far more
circumstances about both parents need not play safe.

Many different ways of operating a child support system have been tried in the
UK, and also in the rest of the world. The perfect approach has not been found,
and commentators sometimes appear to act according to the principle "the grass
is greener over there", or "the next radical change will work, honest". Much of
the choice appears to be between "a simple scheme which can't hope to be fair in
all details, but may be implementable", and "a complicated scheme which can't
hope to be fair in all details, but which relies on very fallible human beings
and is incomprehensible to all concerned".

Hank

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Jul 28, 2002, 11:02:16 AM7/28/02
to
"Dwayne Shrum" <spam_...@jam.rr.com> wrote in message news:<IxH09.516$Yd.7...@twister.austin.rr.com>...

If you want to see a moron, all you have to do is look at ken Pangborn. What a
moron! Ken Pangborn has lied about what I have written here and when that
didn't work, he started his stupid stertourssa posts . That's fine. Ken can
spend hour after hour on the internet flaming me instead of working on his
so-called "job". He will continue to use anonymous remailers to attack me or
himself to further his platform that I am Stacy Alexander. I will proceed to
give my opinions and recommendations for a cause that I believe in: Getting
Pangscum off the net at any cost!

Hank B. Boatright
Tampa

Rob Ingalls

unread,
Jul 28, 2002, 1:49:00 PM7/28/02
to
roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) wrote in message news:<4b6433c3.02072...@posting.google.com>...
> Child Support's Wacky Math
> http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay072402.htm
>
> Child Support's Wacky Math is a book about the way that Virginia and
> other states modify child support orders in consideration of
> visitation and shared parenting. It promises two things; to prove that
> the formula is grossly in error, and to show how reality gets lost and
> logic muddled in the overly political process that now dominates the
> child support system. It delivers on both promises with room to spare.
>
> complete book review
> http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/stories/gay072402.htm

Hi. I'm Rob Ingalls, the author of the above mentioned book. Roger had
asked me to stop by and join the discussion thread. I'm in the process
of building a web site that discusses the book, along with other
pertinent information. You are welcomed to e-mail me for that web site
address (it also lists the book for sale... so I didn't want this to
come across as a sales pitch.)

The reason I wrote the book was that (1) I was going through my own
experience in divorce and realized the frustration and discrimination
that is blatantly obvious (at least to myself and those going through
the same experiences), and (2) I was absolutely astonished that basic
math and logic had been replaced by such emotionally charge agendas of
others. When I tried to voice my complaints about certain issues, I
was basically told that there were "experts" working on this for years
and that I didn't know what I was talking about. Well, in math or
science, there is something called 'proof.' Many told me I was wrong,
but when I challenged them to prove I was wrong, there was no
response. So I wrote the book to prove they were in error. I presented
my proof. I'm still waiting for theirs.

I believe in the KISS principle. Keep It Simple S-----. Step back when
things become too confusing. Get back to basics. Look at the BIG
picture. I also believe in fairness for all parties, both for the
Custodial Parent and the Non-Custodial Parent. Without fairness, then
unnecessary problems arise. In this book, all I've tried to do was to
bring some common sense down to a basic level that everyone,
hopefully, can understand.

Rob

Nemesis

unread,
Jul 28, 2002, 2:14:30 PM7/28/02
to

If you want to see a moron, all you have to do is look at Stacy
Alexander and David Moroe. What morons! David has lied about what I


have written here and when that didn't work, he started his stupid

hate campaign with his moron buddy Alexander. That's fine. They can


spend hour after hour on the internet flaming me instead of working on

important father's rights issues. They will continue to use anonymous
remaiers to attack me or themselves to further their platform that I
am Ken Pangborn. I will proceed to give my opinions and
recommendations for a cause that I believe in : Getting Davey-poo
MOORON and SPAZZ off the net at any cost!

Andre Lieven

unread,
Jul 28, 2002, 2:37:59 PM7/28/02
to
Hello, Rob.

I want to bounce an aspect of CS calculations off of you and get
your input on it. I'll preface this by saying that I have no kids,
and so CS isn't a personal experience topic for me, just one of
elementary justice.

OK, many CS regimes calculate housing costs on a 50/50 basis
( For one child, which will be the constant in this example ),
so a CP, in a two bedroom apartment, with one child, and paying
( Using Ottawa's range of prices ) around $850/mo for same.

Thus, her share of the housing cost would be $425/mo ( 1/2 of
$850/mo ), and her ex would be paying $212.50/mo ( 1/2 of the
child's presumed share of $425/mo ) in housing costs.

Yet, were we to use a default accounting of, what would this
CP's housing costs be, were they not the parent of any child,
then they'd ( most likely, to compare like to like ) be living
in a one bedroom apartment, which in such a building as the
aforementioned two bedroom at $850/mo, costing about $725/mo.

Thus, by having the child be apportioned as a half share,
relative to the CP living alone costing, this CP gets a
hidden amount of alimony in the sum of $87.50/mo, derived
by $850/2= $425+ $212.50 ( her share )= $637.50 v/ $725.
( In addition to having the NCP effectively pay 100% of the
child's actual housing costs at the CP's residence )

So, by using a 50/50 model with one child, the CP gets to
pay *less* for their accomodations than does a single person
living at the same standard of housing.

Any thoughts ?

Andre

--
" I'm a man... But, I can change... If I have to... I guess. "
The Man Prayer, Red Green.

Barry Pearson

unread,
Jul 28, 2002, 6:54:12 AM7/28/02
to
"frazil" <fra...@geospam.com> wrote in message
news:ahvb8n$9b4$1...@bob.news.rcn.net...

> Barry Pearson <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:Rxi09.3184$7v5.1...@newsfep1-win.server.ntli.net...
> > > Barry Pearson wrote ...
[snip]

> > This cost is a genuine cost of raising a child. In fact, the lone parent
> > is providing cheap childcare which would otherwise have to be
> > provided commercially at higher cost. What sticks in people's
> > throats is that although they are paying for childcare which they
> > probably know is necessary, the service provider happens to be
> > the ex, which they resent! Yet they would not like to pay the full
> > cost of commercial childcare. (I have never seen anyone propose a
> > plausible answer to this - they just complain!)
>
> I might agree with this reasoning if the service provided is a service I
> actually want. As the matter stands it is a service one is required to
> take. The objection is that NRP is 1) required to pay for a service
> that they may not want to pay for or a service that they may not need;
> and 2) precluded from using other alternatives. For example if I can
> change the spark plugs on my car, why is it necessary for me to pay
> for the services of a mechanic to change the spark plugs, even if I do
> it myself. It has nothing to do with the service provider being the ex,
> it has everything to with freedom of choice. If the NRP could choose
> the service provider then one could argue it is a legitimate cost.

The FIRST item on my Agenda is that we need to get shared parenting (call it
what you like - shared residence, joint custody, etc) sorted out. Only when both
parents have adequate rights to "parent" as well as "support" their children can
a child support system expect to be credible.

The way to exercise control of the goods & services provided while raising
children is to do so directly while they are in that parent's care. Interfering
with what the other parent does during that parent's period of care is unlikely
to work - and of course, fathers typically don't want mothers interfering
either.

I was describing the UK's current system (which will be replaced as soon as they
can get the IT sorted out). It was designed to be an administrative system able
to cater for up to 2 million cases (currently it is just over 1 million).
Therefore it didn't attempt to examine the detailed costs for each case, but
instead used standard costs (based on the benefits system). The previous
court-based systems didn't work properly either. The UK often make uniform rules
then expects people to adapt: a speed limit has to suit everyone, even though
better drivers with better cars might be safer faster; the benefits system pays
out standard amounts, even though different people may have different
preferences; etc.

> > This is financially a correct component. But it will never be
> > accepted emotionally.
>
> It is only a financially correct component, if the NRP chooses to
> avail themselves of the service. For example suppose the NRP's
> parents are willing to provide the service free of charge, why
> then should the NRP pay for the service, when they have the
> alternative not to have to pay for the service.

Good point, and one that often arises. Another point that often arises is "why
call a person "Parent With Care" if they use childcare a lot?" But these
arguments can apply both ways, especially if shared parenting can be sorted out.
The new scheme is based on the realisation that it has proved impossible to
administer a system that attempts to sort out all the details, so it applies
much simpler rules that leave non-resident parents with (on average) higher
proportions of net income, then expects all concerned to adapt. My Agenda takes
that further by trying to get more symmetry into the system.

[snip]


> > It is simply based on the known fact that on average richer
> > people spend more on their children than poorer people.
> > Reality happens not to obey the mathematics used here -
>
> Ah yes the fallacy of averages. While averages may be a
> legitimate way to characterize a population. It is not a legitimate
> way characterize the individual members of the population.
> IOW, if the average height of males in the world is 5' 8", that
> doesn't mean I'm 5' 8" tall. If fact, probability theory would
> predict that I'm not 5' 8" tall.
>
> Of the 3 types of averages it is the modal average that would
> have the most legitimacy because that is the most frequently
> occurring situation.

See above - attempts to use courts to examine individual cases and make
judgements without a formula failed. Similar cases would end up with
significantly different results. That is one of the justifications for the CSA -
to take out what were clearly arbitrary judgements, and apply standardisation.
That failed too, because it took so much into consideration that it couldn't be
administered.

However, one thing is very clear - as income falls, child support HAS to fall,
as a safety measure for the non-resident parent if for no other reason.
Therefore, the converse must also apply up to a point.

As for using the modal situation - that is "zero"! The largest category of
non-resident parents are those out of work and therefore have an assessment to
pay nothing or a minimal amount. Needless to say, no one is going to that that
category seriously as the basis for the formula!

> > "We also found, at first sight strangely, that average spending
> > did not vary greatly with income of a family; about 20 per cent
> > from the bottom quartile to the top income quartile."
> > (Sue Middleton, co-researcher of Small Fortunes, in evidence
> > to the Social Security Select Committee)
> >
> > but it does exist.
>
> But not frequently.

It frequently exists. Better off people freqently spend more on their children -
there is the evidence of your own eyes, and the evidence from research such as
the Small Fortunes research. What the Small Fortunes research showed was the
effect is not as pronounced as the government's formula would suggest, but it
certainly showed the effect exists.

[snip]

I was simply stating what the percentages were as a result of the current (1991)
formula. This answer in Parliament came years (perhaps 4 years) after the new
(2000) formula was first proposed. Read it simply as an indication of what
results the current formula yields, for comparison with other systems in the
world, and for comparison with the new system.

> > This formula has proved too complicated to operate in the UK.
> > So the new scheme is a simple percentage of NRP's net income
> > (with a few twists). Most NRP's want to get onto the new scheme
> > ASAP. Probably most Parents With Care think likewise.
> > With adjustments to the social security rules, most NRPs & most
> > PWCs will be favoured by the formula.
>
> But what they are not doing is verifying that the complicated formula
> yields ligitimate results. They further compound the problem by
> simplifying the formula based on the results of a formula which they
> can not verify. Is this a great world or what!

The current formula was a serious attempt to derive a system in which each
component had legitimacy. Yes, it used standard components rather than amounts
decided by separate examination of each individual case, but that is a
consequence of having failed to implement a satisfactory system based on
examination of individual cases (even at a time when the caseload was much
smaller). The basic components were not arbitrary - they were based on what the
government was prepared to pay out in similar circumstances, which is hardly a
recipe for extravagant amounts! So instead of trying to identify what the basic
consumables for a particular child costs, based on the child's preferences,
local shop prices, ability of the PWC to prepare meals from cheap products, etc,
it simply says "£33.50".

The new formula had different origins. Some of the principles used to derive it
were flaky indeed, but one principle that kept occurring was "if there is 1
child, the non-resident parent will have at last 85% of net income left, etc,
and this is enough to adapt to". Some of the thinking was based on what the NRP
has left, as well as what the NRP pays. That is why most NRPs probably want to
get onto the new formula ASAP.

Barry Pearson

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Jul 28, 2002, 7:10:56 AM7/28/02
to
"frazil" <fra...@geospam.com> wrote in message
news:ahvd7r$ea0$1...@bob.news.rcn.net...

> Barry Pearson <ne...@childsupportanalysis.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:ODv09.21485$vN6.1...@newsfep2-win.server.ntli.net...
[snip]

> > Yes, it is the price of being parent - for both parents. It is one that
> > has financial implications, as expected for something that involves
> > cost & effort.
> > One of the financial implications is that sometimes money has to be
> > paid out for commercial childcare!
>
> Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. Your system doesn't allow for
> it not. Your system assumes that money must be paid out for
> commercial day care. And, as you admit, that is not always true.

Not MY system! It is the current UK system for which the law to replace it was
passed in 2000, and which is now waiting IT problems to be sorted out.

See my other response to you - the current system uses standard amounts rather
than examining individual cases, because the government thought that was the
only way they could administer the expected number of cases. Even that approach
didn't work, so now they are simplifying things a lot more.

The current formula does NOT assume the use of commercial childcare - that would
involve much higher amounts! It uses the amount that the government is prepared
to pay out for cheap childcare - which is the "adult allowance" for a lone
parent. See the rest of my statement immediately below.

> > Whether families are intact or separated, childcare has a
> > financial implication even if it is not always explicit. Sometimes
> > it is handled by having 2 parents to cover one-another,
> > sometimes it is handled by the family's lost opportunity
> > costs of having a part time worker, and sometimes it is handled
> > by paying large amounts in commercial childcare. But it is a
> > genuine part of the cost of raising children in intact as well as
> > separated families, and needs to be considered in
> > a formula that tries to examine all costs.
>
> Your system doesn't recognize implications. Your system only
> recognizes one implicatiuon. IOW, you are arguing that the
> cost has nothing to do with the situation. I'm arguing that the cost
> has everything to do with the situation. Thus the legitimacy of the
> rule depends on the situation in which it is applied.
>
> Whether or not the cost of daycare is a legitimate cost, depends
> on the particular circumstances.

[snip]

See above - particular circumstances are not taken into account for
administrative reasons. (Except for schemes called "departures" & "variations",
which are intended to have a narrow gateway).

I believe that the simplification has gone too far. My Agenda proposes that
symmetry is needed, and that needs 2 extra variables in the formula (6 instead
of 4). Other affects could also be added, but that is my minimum set. The
minster's reason for rejecting my proposal (in a personal letter to me) is on my
web site. I disagree with her reasoning.

Jill

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Jul 29, 2002, 12:26:16 AM7/29/02
to
On 28 Jul 2002 10:49:00 -0700, wack...@cox.net (Rob Ingalls) sent
through the ether:

Hi Rob,

Thanks for writing. Is your book available at Barnes and Noble or
Amazon.com? I would like to at least have a look at the ground you
covered in the book before posing any direct questions.

My CS concerns at present have to do with the way false arrears are
generated using not so much fuzzy math as unprofessional accounting
methods...basically cooking the books while not balancing them.

It doesn't sound as though this is something your book would deal with
but for any man now paying CS, this is the next hurdle they will
likely face when their children are all adults and they seek to close
out their CS accounts.

I would be very interested in visiting your web site once you have it
up and running. Thanks for your time, Rob.

Jill

Rob Ingalls

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Jul 29, 2002, 9:27:20 AM7/29/02
to
perspic...@yahoo.com (Jill) wrote in message news:<3d44c0c4...@news.earthlink.net>...


Jill, the book is available on-line at both Barnes & Nobel (B&N) and
Amazon. I think B&N is cheaper at the moment (less than $10).

My web site address is: http://members.cox.net/wackymath/

On your concern, it's like statistics, you have to step back and think
about it from different angles to see if it is true or if the numbers
are false. And you have to ask yourself if it was an honest mistake or
manipulated to show something that isn't true.

People in politics, courtrooms, etc., are so used to dealing with
'spin' that they start believing it to be true. The deception becomes
the reality for them. I always question things, statements, even
so-called facts. I guess just my nature.

For your "false arrears" issue and the "unprofessional accounting
methods"... again, the best way is to step back, let go of the
emotions, and scrutinize each aspect of it. Usually it is a mixture of
fact and fiction. It seems people quickly accept things as fact,
especially if it comes from someone with lots of credentials. But
people are people. They make errors. They may have hidden agendas.
Even their own biases can sway them in a wrong direction
subconsciously. The key is to show why something is right or wrong,
not just state that. Like I mentioned in my previous posting, when I
tried to show why certain things were wrong, I was just told that I
was wrong, with nothing to back up their statements. It was just an
opinion of theirs. But to them, it was fact. Changing the direction of
people, especially if they have been doing it one way for so long, is
like trying to change directions of a huge ship.... it takes awhile.

Hope that helps.

Rob

Mike Barnard

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Jul 29, 2002, 4:37:24 PM7/29/02
to
On 24 Jul 2002 07:57:31 -0700, roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) wrote:

>Child Support's Wacky Math is a book about the way that Virginia and
>other states modify child support orders in consideration of

Why is this posted to a UK group? The cnances of any laws being used
in both countries is unlikely, surely.

--
Mike Barnard,
Rustington
UK.

Remove ".trousers" spamblock from email address to reply.

Barry Pearson

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Jul 29, 2002, 5:22:37 PM7/29/02
to
"Mike Barnard" <mike.t...@thunderin.co.uk> wrote in message
news:jlaaku0jbrjijtpha...@4ax.com...

> On 24 Jul 2002 07:57:31 -0700, roge...@yahoo.com (RogerFGay) wrote:
>
> >Child Support's Wacky Math is a book about the way that
> >Virginia and other states modify child support orders in
> >consideration of
>
> Why is this posted to a UK group? The cnances of any
> laws being used in both countries is unlikely, surely.

Roger often posts articles about child support to uk.gov.agency.csa . Sometimes
this is informative, because it shows global trends.

In this particular case, it is clear that the current UK system is so different
from the Virginia system that it is difficult to detect any common lessons.
Indeed, that is pretty true about US systems in general, not just the Virginia
system.

I detect a tendency on the part of people who deal with the US child support
systems to assume that the objectives, motivations, formulae, faults and lessons
of the US systems will automatically translate to the UK (and elsewhere). Those
of us who are aware of the UK system know this is not the case. In fact, the UK
has some lessons for other parts of the world - for example, the UK has
liability based on bio-parentage (since 1991), whereas some parts of the world
have yet to catch up on this. The US appears to have changed its system to move
the average liability upwards, while the UK is in the process of revising its
scheme in a way which will reduce the average liability. Etc.

Be tolerant. At least you can get an insight into what things COULD have been
like in the UK!

James Buster

unread,
Jul 29, 2002, 7:09:54 PM7/29/02
to
frazil wrote:
> James Buster <bit...@mac.com> wrote in message
> news:3D4214D2...@mac.com...
>>Since income shares is mathematically identical to a strict
>>percentage-of-ncp-income model, why doesn't it too violate equal
>>protection?
>
> Because they are not mathematically identical, even though they may yield
> the same result.

That's mathematically absurd. If "X = A" and "Y = A", "X = Y". QED.

> The percent of income model only considers the income of the NCP when
> setting a CS amount. The income shares model combines both the CP's and
> NCP's income and then apportions the CS amount based on the percentage of
> the NCP's contribution to the combined income.

That's the same thing. Really.

>>Frighteningly, some posters here say that in their states the NCP's
>>payment *rises* with increasing CP income. That's truly shocking.
>
> In theory that can be the result. But in practice, it is the exception. In
> income shares states, as the combined income increases so does the amount of
> combined CS, but as the CP's income increases relative to the NCP's income,
> the portion of the combined income attributed to the NCP decreases. The
> result is that the NCP's CS amount stays about the same.

In those states I was thinking of, the NCP pays the combined total CS
amount, not the smaller amount apportioned according the the NCPs
percentage of the combined income. Thus the NCP's CS amount *rises*
as CP income rises. Rather sick, if you ask me.

James Buster

unread,
Jul 29, 2002, 7:18:58 PM7/29/02
to
Barry Pearson wrote:
> It frequently exists. Better off people freqently spend more on their
> children

Of course they do, in absolute dollars, not percentage of income.
The problem with every CS scheme I've seen implemented assumes that
the amount spent, as a percentage of income, stays constant or *rises*
with increasing income.

Barry Pearson

unread,
Jul 30, 2002, 5:49:45 AM7/30/02
to
"James Buster" <bit...@mac.com> wrote in message
news:3D45CE88...@mac.com...

At low incomes that is to be expected. Think about what should happen as
someone's income falls. Eventually, they have barely enough to live on (housing,
food), and little or nothing left for CS liability. So the liability should be a
very small percentage of the income. At this stage, it probably covers little of
the real costs of raising a child. Then as their income rises, and they have
extra money beyond bare essentials, some of this extra can be diverted to the
child, and as a percentage of income it should rise.

This should occur up to the point where the liability is perhaps somewhere in
the range half to full cost of raising a child (depending on the other parent's
circumstances). After this, it should rise much slower, because, as you say,
expenditure on children doesn't rise as a percentage of income. At some point
there should probably be a cap.

Now, this is actually how the UK's current formula works! See the graphs at the
links below. The peak occurs at higher than the researched expenditure on a
child in a (not well off) intact family, but that is partly to do with the
controversial component to cover cheap childcare that has been discussed
earlier. (Children do tend to cost more in a separated family).

"Comparisons based on numbers of qualifying children"
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/comparisons/compariso
ns_numbers_of_children.htm

"Comparisons based on housing costs"
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/comparisons/compariso
ns_housing_costs.htm

Unfortunately, this still doesn't work properly. The fast rise from the "low
income protection" stage to the "disposable income" stage is a disincentive to
earn more. The peak amount is very hard to convince people of (people here are
not convinced!) It occurs at the wrong stage - this is a person on average or
less than average income, paying 30% of net income even for one child! Even if
that is the amount a child costs, it is still too hard to find. (In an intact
family, both parents would be getting some help from the state, such as Child
Benefit, but in a separated family, only the parent with care does. I have been
doing some work with Families Need Fathers to make this clearer).

The UK schemes work on NET income, which I agree with the government makes more
sense. (I would like to hear from anyone who believes that working on GROSS
income is better - why?) But I used a tax spreadsheet to see how this worked in
terms of gross income:

"Marginal increases in total deductions as GROSS income increases"
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/analysis_and_opinion/comparisons/compariso
ns_with_income_tax.htm

What these showed is that too many problems came at once. Tax increases as a
percentage of gross income at the same time that CS does so, and the
non-resident parent may be left with 11 pence (or cents!) in the extra pound (or
dollar!) earned to spend on himself. Some just give up.

The new scheme should help with a number of these issues - it is mathematically
"better behaved". We'll see.