Do Poor Fathers Deserve Debtors' Prison?


Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2002
I found it interesting that................this article was written by a "feminist". Interesting that there are so little facts available on numbers and so much rides on the courts decisions.

"The personal stories can be heartbreaking, such as those told in the suicide notes of fathers left without a means of supporting themselves. Other stories are infuriating, like that of Bobby Sherrill. Working in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion of 1990, Sherrill was taken hostage. Upon his release and return to America, he was arrested for failure to make support payments while captive."

In Illinois a couple of years ago, even the families of the fathers who could/were paying were in dire straits because it was taking the state/counties 8>12 weeks to get checks to the kids. It has now been "overhauled".

edit:for embarassing grammar

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
The whole system is wrong.

I knew someone who was working as a grad student and living on a stipend. Half of it was taken in tuition and the 15k or so left was for living expenses. Well his wife cheated on him, and left taking the daughter. There are two sides, but it was quite evident that he was the aggreved party in this case. The judge heard the evidence and it was clear what had happened. Well, the judgement for child support was based on the whole 30k, not what was he really got. When he balked at it she (the judge) said that he was the father. That makes it his fault and his responsibility, and she didnt care where it left him. He wound up with 20 dollars a week to live. Well he had to quit after putting in 4 years in his program and get a crap job to pay for it. BTW, the guy his ex ran off with was very well off, and she was too.

No call for this.


Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2002
Wow, that really sucks. From an article on the Bradley Amendment linked in the original article:

The Bradley amendment ensures that even if the court makes a mistake, "you can never get out of it," says Mike Ewing, a leader of the Virginia Fatherhood Initiative in Norfolk, who knows several men who are paying support even though DNA tests proved they weren't the children's father.


Golden Member
Oct 9, 1999
I think all men know some people who have had bad experiences with child support. I don't have any problem with children receiving support, but some of these cases are insane.

Kindof secondary, but I've always thought that all women on welfare should also be required to go on birth control (so long as that is religiously acceptable to them anyway). Wouldn't solve all the poor fathers problems, but it would decrease them imo, as well as decrease the number of children born into homes that couldn't support them. And before people start saying I'm picking on women, there is no easily reversible method of birth control available to men, so its a moot point.


Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2002
Originally posted by: tk149
Wow, that really sucks. From an article on the Bradley Amendment linked in the original article:

The Bradley amendment ensures that even if the court makes a mistake, "you can never get out of it," says Mike Ewing, a leader of the Virginia Fatherhood Initiative in Norfolk, who knows several men who are paying support even though DNA tests proved they weren't the children's father.
That really sucks.......



Sep 7, 2001
this article was written by a "feminist".
Cathy Young also has written several thoughtful and well-researched columns criticizing the utter hostility towards fathers, among other disasterous outcomes of the 'all women are victims and therefore never responsible or culpable for anything and if you don't agree with that then you obviously hate women' feminist movement.

Young has written regular columns and guest spots for The Detroit News, American Spectator, Reason and Salon Magazines, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, among others.

There's no question that heavy-handed family law and state agency policies intended to crack down on a small percentage of flagrantly defiant fathers who abandon their children and willfully refuse to support them, or attempt to punish spouses for divorcing them by willfully withholding support, have been broadly applied (abused) to shake-down and generally run rough-shod over all fathers, regardless of their intentions or ability to pay.

Add to this the fact that not all women have learned how to responsibly and maturely handle or weild their new found 'power' as an 'oppressed caste' victim group c/o the women's lib and feminist movements. Allegations of child abuse conveniently 'surfacing' for the first time during custody battles, most false according even to child welfare advocacy groups. Mothers are permitted to conduct their personal lives with flagrant levels of irresponsibility and self-indulgence without censure while fathers are threatened with jail and other legal remedies if they aren't working 60+ hours a week to subsidize the lifestyle of their child's mother.

A highly typical example of how the system has become about persecuting fathers, with zero actual concern for children motivating policies, a co-worker of mine in Michigan was paying child support to the state of Texas because his ex-wife had moved the children there and signed-up for welfare.

When she had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized, the Texas CPS told him to come get his children. So he brought them to live in Michigan with him, where they stayed for several months until their mother decided her mental health vacation was over.

He continued to pay the state of Texas child support while the children lived with him, on top of the expense of actually supporting the children while they were with him, on top of having to go buy a ton of things for them they weren't able to bring or didn't have because their mother was using her state aid to subsidize her lifestyle and support her loser male friends.

He was getting by modestly before they moved in with him, now he was sinking like a lead balloon. He called Texas to try and get relief from child support payments while the children were staying with him. No can do - because he was actually in "arrears" with the State of Texas, even though he had never missed a single payment, and nothing he could do would stop those payments until he was no longer in arrears. How did he get into arrears when he hadn't missed a single payment?

What would a bureaucracy be without incompetence? Only in this case, there was double the incompetence - Michigan and Texas.

In the system of cooperation between states to persecute fathers (but not mothers) across state lines, there were actually two systems to wrangle with. Texas filed the order with Michigan, Michigan took the steps to garnish his check, and remitted it back to Texas.

Texas retroactively imposed support from the date his ex-wife began receiving state aid. Nearly a year had transpired from the time his wife began receiving state aid and the date the first payment actually hit his check. So he was already in 'arrears' with Texas for that time, through no fault of his own.

So with no hope of getting relief from Texas, he appealed to Michigan to stop the payments, thinking that Michigan surely would have the best interests of the children in mind and be responsive to his plight because the children are now in his care. lol! Nope, sorry. We will assist other states to pursue you where ever you are on the behalf of the mother, you know, "for the good of the children", but we won't stop these payments until Texas says its ok nor will we intervene in this matter on your behalf.

So he tried to get any kind of financial assistance from the State that he could. Nope, sorry, you have a job and you make too much money. lol!

I contacted an attorney who specialized in father's rights legal issues for 15 years and helped found a father's rights support organization. His expert advice based on the vast amount of experience he has accumulated in 15 years of fighting the system?

"Your friend has three options:"

- Declare he is unable to care for the children and let them go into the state foster system

- Quit his job or get fired (he will go further into arrears, possibly risking prosecution), and hope he can collect unemployment or qualify for state assistance because he doesn't have a job

- Let himself hit rock bottom, and a few days before the sheriff comes to evict him and his children from the property, ask the media to come do a story on it and try to generate as much publicity as he can. The only time we've ever managed to get the system changed is when the media has done a story on fathers committing suicide or being forced out of their homes onto the street. Granted, this really doesn't help your friend's situation, but it will help others by increasing public awareness of how the system destroys fathers and families.

Hey now ain't those some great freaking options!

Just before he hit rock bottom, the mother decided her mental health vacation was over and wanted the kids back. He paid child support the entire time he had the children, continues to pay it to this day, maxed out all his credit cards then applied for a couple more and maxed those out, was behind on his rent, car insurance, owed dentist and doctor bills for the children, etc. and she didn't give him a penny for all the things he had bought and the kids were taking with them.