On September 23rd, 2017, Memphis Legislator , Antonio Parkinson, held a “Block Party For Peace” event featuring a Townhall meeting with the Child Support Enforcement Agency. Onlookers had the chance to address concerns with the agency and lawmakers directly. In attendance was, Kenya Rahmaan, founder of the child-support reform organization known as the “Child Support Hustle”, with radioshow host, Marcus Echols, on deck. The CSEA sparred with Rahmaan and Echols regarding Child Support Issues. After an intense debate, a moderator opened the floor to the audience.
(Marcus Echols, Kenya Rahmaan, and Randell Stroud of Nalini-Global)
I had the chance to approach the stand and ask several questions. I asked the following questions…
“If homosexual couples divorce, there is no man vs woman scenario. The courts are forced to look at the situation equally as far as custody goes. Why can we not treat heterosexual divorces with the same eye?”
“Why don’t fathers receive representation and case workers to assist them? Under Civil law, we are not entitled to representation, however, with so many criminal sanctions being threatened, why not make an exception?”
“Why is there a child support enforcement agency but no Child Visitation enforcement Agency?”
The CSEA responded by saying that they are a “IV-D” federally funded agency, whereas custody issues were not important to them. The representative from the CSEA said, “I know this sounds bad but, child support has no bearing on custody issues..we are a IV-D Agency”
(see video above)
What is Title IVD of the Social Security Act? The law states that, for ever dollar received in child support, the federal government agrees to pay the state with a matched amount in the form of a grant. More or less— They are making money from child support! Thus there is no incentive for shared parenting without child support being needed.
I tried to follow up with more questions but was quickly ushered away.
Afterward, I had an opportunity to speak with Rep.Parkinson. I handed him a copy of my shadow report, “Global Human Trafficking in the Family Law Courts.”
(Stroud and Rep.Parkinson)
Mr.Parkinson did his best to remain neutral, but did agree that reform was needed. In fact, Mr.Parkinson himself sponsored a bill just last year that reduced retroactive support from indefinitely to 5 years. A major step at reducing criminal arrearages for new child support cases.
Our dream is to eventually see a norm of default 50/50 custody. There should be no presumption that women are more qualified to be custodial parents based solely on gender. Default 50/50 custody with no order of child support, unless otherwise warranted, should be the standard.
Regardless of where you stand, nearly everyone can agree that the family law system is in need of a serious update!
-Randell D Stroud