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Levi Johnston and the Myth of the Deadbeat Dad

If you really want to witness injustice in America, spend a day in family court.  As the blog's tagline reminds us: Everything you know about family law is a lie.  Let's start with deadbeat dads.

Levi Johnston sired a child with the white-trash daughter of Sarah Palin.  Even though Sarah Palin is taking care of the daughter, and even though Sarah Palin is rich, the 20-year-old man-child has been ordered to pay nearly $2,000 a month in child support.

This $2,000 is not tax deductible.  Moreover, it's not taxable income to the baby's mama.  Although Johnston is paying child support, he is not even allowed to claim the child-tax credit on his tax return.  He pays for everything, and receives nothing.

What was this massive child support payment based on?  Child support payments are based on a combination of truth and judicial magic-making.

Child support is calculated as a percentage of Johnson's six-figure income.  How is that fair?  It might make sense if a child had become accumsted to a certain lifestyle that Johnston had provided.  But the baby never lived with Johnston.  If Johnston only earned $10,000 a year, the child support obligations would be much less.  How is taking a straight percentage of Johnston's income fair to him?  

And what justifies this windfall to Johnston's baby's mama?  Sarah Palin's daughter has a nearly $40,000 a year annuity (the income to her, while a net ascension to wealth, is non-taxable) for allowing a high earn to impregnate her.  Talk about jackpot justice!

It gets much more interesting.  The child support obligation was based on Johnston's 2009 windfall earnings.  In 2009, Johnston earned a substantial amount of money posing for Playgirl.  What if he doesn't earn as much money in 2010?

A man who loses his job runs into the brick walls of imputed income and the Bradley Amendment.

Under family law, a judge may, in her discretion, conclude that Johnston isn't earning enough money or looking hard enough for a job.  Even if Johnston only earns $50,000 in 2010, the judge may impute $100,000 or more in earnings to him.  She then has the power send Johnston to jail as a deadbeat dad.  The decision whether to impute income rests in the sound discretion of the trial court.  If you draw an unfriendly judge, pack a toothbrush.

Then there is the Bradly Amendment (Wiki) to consider.

What if Johnston's loses his job on May 1, 2010.  He asks for a hearing to reduce his child support payments.  Sarah Palin's high-paid and well-connected lawyers can delay a child support hearing for months.

Every day that the Palin's lawyers delay the hearing, child support obligations accrue.  The trial judge may not retroactively reduce accrued child support payments.

Even if in August, 2010, the trial court reduces his monthly payments, Johnston remains liable for $2,000 each month that the hearing was delayed.  With child support payments, the meter is always running, and the fee can never be reduced.

It's easy to see how a man acting in good faith could easily fall behind on his child support obligations.  Could you afford $2,000-a-month child support payments?  Could you fight against well-connected family lawyers?  What if you're ignorant of the Bradley Amendment, unable for afford a lawyer, and fall for the trap of taking the "first available court date"?  

Soon enough you'd have five- or six-figure debts without any way of paying them.  If sent to jail, you'd have an even harder time finding work.  The Bradley Amendment has no exceptions, and would mean that while in jail you'd be gut punched with even more debt.

How would you ever dig yourself out of such a hole?

And so we see that most dead beat dads are not what a anti-male media portrays them to be.  Many deadbeat dads are simply unsophisticated men who lose jobs and then lose in court before being shipped off to jail.  

How is this fair?  How is it misogynistic of me to slay these myths?  

If I'm a misogynist for opposing debtor's prisons: What shall we start calling those of you who support them?