Today’s Investigative Special Report – December 26, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “Dead Beat Moms And Dads - Child Sexual Abuse Allegations?”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Forensic Expert – Senior Author
English: Kitsap County Prosecutor Child Suppor...
English: Kitsap County Prosecutor Child Support Division, Port Orchard, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is the time of the year when a child needs to have the emotional, mental, and financial support of both parents. No matter what age a child is if at all possible the relationship between their mother and father needs to be a healthy one. If there is a separation between the mother and father a structure for where the child will reside and how the visitation will be arrange is vital to the child having a healthy life.

Sometimes parents will separate and immediately or shortly after the separation either the mother or father who doesn’t have custody is to pay the other person a specific amount of money for having the child reside with them.

This is where the problem begins. Depending on the relationship of the adults the child may find themselves being sent back and forth which is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. The transition of moving back and forth will not only affect how the child lives, but their education may also become a major concern. The effect of the separation and/or divorce may cause the child’s grades to be effected that the child may need tutoring in order to survive what is happening on the home front.

The court if it is involved may require a parenting plan be prepared to determine who the child will reside with, when, and other issues, such as child support. In order to survive the custodial parent may need the child support to pay his/her bills. The money is supposed to be designated for the child, but sometimes the financial demands require that the child support be used for the staples of the family needs.

If the non-custodial parent doesn’t pay the monthly child support then the family needs may not be met. If the non-payment becomes a problem, then the child may be affected by the actions of the non-custodial parent. Generally, the custodial parent attempts to work out an agreeable financial arrangement where everyone is a winner. If the non-custodial parent fails to make the agreed upon payment then the custodial parent will have no other choice but to have court support enforcement involved.
English: MANAMA, Bahrain (Feb. 10, 2010) Instr...
English: MANAMA, Bahrain (Feb. 10, 2010) Instructors from the Navy Child Development Center at Naval Support Activity Bahrain escort children on their daily morning walk on the base. The center held a grand opening in January to support Sailors who bring their families when reporting for duty at NSA Bahrain.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Court support enforcement is a division of the court and assists custodial parents in tracking down the parent who is not meeting their financial commitment. Of course the court support enforcement needs the support of the court in order to attach someone’s money e.g. paycheck, bank accounts, garnishment, and so forth.

If the parent who is delinquent of paying child support than access to the child, i.e. visitation may become an issue. This is a very complicated set of circumstances, but is generally dealt with by the court. The ruling by the court is if the non-custodial parent is incapable of paying the monthly child support then they should not be prevented from their visitation rights. This analysis is controversial as the majority of people who have family and friends in custodial and child support issues, believe the ideology should be if you don’t pay you won’t get the time with your child.

866-72-DADDY (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)
The custody of children legal structure has significantly become advanced over the past couple decades, credited by court support enforcement programs such as the Federal child support law which is titled, “Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA) which was established in 1998 to punish parents. Parents who willfully fail to make child support payments by traveling to another state to avoid making child support payments are in violation of this Act. The law provides exactly how the punishment will be enforced. The punishment which is based on the amount of money owed to the custodial parent and how many years the money has been owed to the custodial parent may determine the length of sentence he/she will receive.

The punishment is serious and the non-custodial parent may be charged criminally, apprehended, arrested, convicted, and incarcerated for six months to two years. In addition to the incarceration the court may order the parent to pay back child support. The bottom line is if the parent doesn’t pay their child support payment, than the federal court may become involved. The DPPA provides guidelines and directions on how to process a complaint against a dead beat mom or dad.
Individual States have their own laws which in addition to the Federal law can punish the parent who has refused to pay their child support payments.

In the State of Washington there is a state-wide list of deadbeat parents on the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCS). DCS takes many enforcement actions which in the end make dead beat parents lives difficult. One of the interesting and powerful tools is the custodial parent can request the suspension of the non-custodial’s drivers, professional and recreational licenses when they fail to meet their obligation.

When there is turmoil and animosity between parents sometimes allegations of criminal behavior such as child sexual assault allegations are brought forward generally by the custodial parent. The motive is generally revenge and retaliation for issues which were unresolved prior to their separation and for new issues since the separation e.g. new girlfriends or boyfriends, treatment of the child, who ba
The Custody Place Frederick MD
The Custody Place Frederick MD (Photo credit: Frederick Md Publicity)
by-sat the child during the visitation, and so forth.

The allegations of criminal behavior by either the mother or father of the child brings law enforcement into the picture as well as child protective services. Involving other agencies into an already dysfunctional situation can create further financial difficulties for both parties. Instead of paying the child support payment, the parent has to hire an attorney to have legal representation. The cost of divorces and child custody issues can cost thousands of dollars.

Law enforcement must begin the investigation with the ideology that there will be a historical aspect(s) to the criminal allegations. In some States in the courthouse the records are generally divided into several locations. The police records are housed within the records division of the police department. The civil, domestic, and administrative records are housed within the courthouse in different locations, generally in the county clerk’s office. A common problem when there are child sexual assault allegations and a custody or divorce matter has just concluded, is in progress, or soon to be an issue, law enforcement fails to check the records in other locations in the courthouse e.g. civil, domestic, and administrative records involving the custodial and non-custodial parents.

The civil, domestic, and administrative records can provide the law enforcement officer with a history of what has been happening in regards to the relationship between the parents. In some domestic relationships the allegations against one another are unbelievable. If the officer checks the records he will find the two parties accusing one another of being alcoholics, sexual addicts, having sexual affairs with prostitutes, endangering their children by being neglectful, violent, abusive, and so forth.

These true and false allegations need to be dealt with by the law enforcement officer who is responsible for investigating a child sexual assault case. Many law enforcement officers will not take the walk from their records division to the county clerk’s office where the civil, domestic, and administrative records may be kept.

Making an allegation that a parent spends time at the local bar and grill may have nothing to do with the child sexual assault allegations, but it may demonstrate a pattern by one of the parents to make allegations which have been proven to be false by the domestic court.

Using their child as a pawn to bring about disharmony and taking away someone’s freedom needs to be taken seriously. Law enforcement must do their due diligence and take that walk from their office to the next office. Records are stored because they have information and the information may be the difference between someone being criminally charged or not.
Mobile Creche Program at Habitat Centre
Mobile Creche Program at Habitat Centre (Photo credit: climbnh2003)

There are so many dead beat moms and dads in the United States with some States holding the non-custodial parent accountable for who they are. Although there is a Federal law that should make these people responsible and accountable it is unusual for the Federal government to criminally charge them. Imagine a prison full of dead beat moms and dads. If the government decided to pursue these people criminally there would not be enough space to house the serious violent criminals. There are other methods and techniques which are utilized by the different States which are effective. States work together to identify dead beat moms and dads and hold them accountable no matter what State they reside in.

Until such time the government decides that dead beat moms and dads are worth criminally pursuing these people will continue to have children which they choose not to financially support. Instead the State and Federal government are left to be responsible for children where their mother or father left and haven’t returned to take care of them emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially.

Lawrence W. Daly
Kent, WA

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