Make the Jerk Pay: Tracking down a Deadbeat Dad/And Getting Child Support

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This book takes a hard look at the reasons why the government bureaucracy has failed as the nation's bill collector for child support....and how families get their money in only about one in five cases.

It's a national scandal that millions of fathers don't pay and get away with it. Their ex-wives and children often end up on welfare at taxpayers' expense. Nationally, $50 billion is owed in back support.

This book is valuable to single parents ...

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This book takes a hard look at the reasons why the government bureaucracy has failed as the nation's bill collector for child support....and how families get their money in only about one in five cases.

It's a national scandal that millions of fathers don't pay and get away with it. Their ex-wives and children often end up on welfare at taxpayers' expense. Nationally, $50 billion is owed in back support.

This book is valuable to single parents who need help in getting the child support they are entitled to. It offers help on how to obtain support, so that your family won't end up victims of a deadbeat dad, or in some cases, a deadbeat mom. The book is also meant for grandparents, who often must help support their daughter's children.

Make The Jerk Pay goes beyond just explaining how to use the child support enforcement system. It tells how you can track down a missing spouse by using your own skills and available public records and the Internet. Beyond that, you will learn how to do some sleuthing to uncover money, property and other assets of the deadbeat.

Men may take offense at the book's title. But we consider it justified because nine out of ten deadbeats are men. For the custodial fathers trying to collect from deadbeat moms, this book is for you too.

Many men don't want the responsibility of being a father, so they end up divorcing their children as well as their wives. They run off, often moving from state to state. Some create new identities for themselves by changing their names and getting new Social Security numbers, new credit cards and driver's licenses.

They go to great lengths to conceal their assets from the families they abandon, sometimes putting property in the names of others. Many arrange to be paid under the table so their earnings cannot be traced or attached. Often they will flout court orders to pay child support-knowing they're likely to get away with it. The tactics of deadbeat dads add up to a nightmare, financially and emotionally, for the mothers and children. Too often the mothers are left to fend for themselves at a time when they are least able to cope.

Many women will not even seek child support. They may fear hostility from their ex-husbands, or feel that asking for child support is like asking for a handout. Others shy away because they fear it will be costly, time-consuming and too much of a hassle to deal with the bureaucratic child support system. If you are such a victim, you may feel abandoned and cheated. That's natural. Some women strike back by denying visitation rights to the father. That's a mistake. It hurts the child and gives the absent father an excuse for not paying child support.

But you need not feel that you are powerless. There are laws and state and county agencies which are supposed to help you. It's the responsibility of prosecutors and judges to aid you in getting support orders and enforcing them. You can turn to support groups whose members know exactly what you are going through and can help you cope with the system.

In the end, it's up to you to help find him and make him pay. Because you have the most at stake, you may have to become a squeaky wheel and pester child support officials to get your case moving.

There are countless mothers who have made the system work for them. You will read vignettes about some of those women and how they triumphed, often by the force of their will.

About the Author:

Co-authors Lou Rose and Roy Malone are retired investigative reporters at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who have won awards for stories involving public corruption and social issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Feminist Bookstore News
Tells readers how to extract overdue money....included are stories of mothers who wouldn't give up, who beat the odds and collected child support.
Lynn Woolsey
It's high time women had a resource for collecting what they and their family are due. We certainly can appreciate the efforts of these two authors.... it is also important for children to know that both parents care about them.
MidWest Book Review
.... for single parents who need help in getting child suppport, who've been frustrated by caseworker inattention or inefficiency. Parents receive insights on how the system works, how it fails, and how to individually pursue a case.
National Enquirer
Victims of deadbeat dads have a new weapon in their fight for justice-an information-packed book that can help them get the money that is coming to them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780960684632
  • Publisher: Albion Press MO
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Why Would A Father Turn His Back On His Child?

There's no single reason. Many men don't know what it means to be a good father because their own fathers-if they even knew them-treated them shabbily and were poor role models. Some men never really develop any relationship with their children, so they don't feel guilty about not supporting them.

Sexual Jealousy

Jealously may prompt a father to refuse to make payments when his ex-wife lets a boyfriend move in with her and the children. He resents the man having sex with his former mate while he feels he is subsidizing them. Even if the woman is merely dating another man, the father oftens seeks revenge by not paying.

Some Dads Simply Can't Pay

Most men can pay more in child support than they are required to, studies show. But there are many fathers who simply cannot afford it, because they either are unemployed or earn so little.

These fathers seldom fit the stereotype of the "deadbeat dad" who enjoys an affluent lifestyle while their former families struggle to get by. Many are poorly educated, lack job skills, or can't work because they are ill or disabled. Their work history may be so erratic that they can't qualify for jobs that pay enough to support themselves and their children. Frequently, they need help in finding work.

Our Definition Of A Deadbeat

We use the term "Deadbeat Dad" to describe a father who can afford to pay child support, but won't. We don't apologize for calling fathers deadbeats for abandoning their children financially and emotionally. It so happens that about 90 percent of deadbeat parents are men. Working fathers, and even mothers, who purposely shirk their duty should be ashamed to go bed each night without first assuring that their children have adequate food, clothing, shelter and care that day. Calling such a person a deadbeat may be too charitable. Jerk would be better.

Let's Not Keep Dads From Kids

We agree with many men who complain it's unfair for a mother to get child support and deny the father visitation rights. If judges can enforce court-ordered support payments, they should also enforce visitation rights spelled out in court orders. How can a father be a real father without seeing his children? A mother who hurts her kids by keeping them from having contact with their father is also a jerk.

So He's Flown The Coop

If he's gone, you'll have to help the CSE agency locate him. You may wind up having to do the job yourself.

That's what this part of the book is about-tracking him down.. It may require an extra effort to get your case moving. It's important to deal with CSE workers in a positive way. Avoid criticizing them without real cause. You want their cooperation, not their anger. Let them know how urgently your children need help. Show them pictures of your children and also of the non-paying dad.

Find Him Yourself

You may be unhappy with the agency's efforts to find your child's father-and fear your case will be among the 80 percent in which support goes uncollected. But don't give up. You can find him on your own. It will take determination, hard work, a search plan, help from others, your own knowledge, memory, imagination, and a little luck. It could be a long-term project.

Think about recruiting a relative or friend to help in the search and reach your goal. Another person could do some of the research and legwork and may have good ideas and contacts. Also important is the support a helper can provide in keeping your morale up. You'll be less likely to quit.

Keep a special section in your notebook for the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of sources who have helped you, or might be able to. List social workers you talked to, law enforcement contacts and court clerks-almost any employee could become your ally.

Things Only You Know

You know things about your quarry that a seasoned detective would love to know: his character, organizations he belongs to, his work history, hobbies, skills, education, experience, habits, past friends, relatives, and his preferences, whether it be in foods, sports, sex or climate.

In one section, jot down his vital statistics-date and place of birth, Social Security number, parents, and his children and their ages. Write down a physical description of him that includes not only his height, weight, color of hair and eyes, but any special markings such as tattoos or scars from injuries. Does he wear eyeglasses or contact lenses?

You might never use this information, but it could become valuable in helping law authorities identifying him if he denies who he is. Get a copy of his most recent driver's license, with his photo. While you're at it, collect other pictures of him and make copies that you can distribute during your search.

Uncovering His assets

We have grouped assets into six categories:

  • Land and Property
  • Bank Accounts, Investments and Securities
  • Cars, Boats, and Planes
  • Jewelry, Furnishings, Other Personal Property
  • Ownership in Businesses
  • Income and Earnings
We suggest ways to identify assets your runaway dad may own-either in his own name, a relative's name, or a straw party.

How To Make Him Pay

Here are some of the things you or the CSE agency can do. Get his credit and financial data. Have his wages withheld. Dog him if he works for cash. Slap a lien on him. Seize his assets. Hire a private collector. Threaten prosecution. Report his child support debt to credit bureaus. Yank his professional license, if he has one. If he dies, get what's left.

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Table of Contents

Part 1

America's Shame: Children Abandoned
1 - Non-Support is a National Disgrace Children Get Support In Only One Of Five Cases Some Mothers Who Beat The Odds:
Belinda McGrath. Nancy Sissons, Geraldine Jensen, Pat Bennett, Lynn Woolsey
2 - Jerks Run - Their Kids Suffer
The Costs of Abandonment
The Deadbeat Dad Mentality
On The Run
Why Would A Father Turn His Back On His Child?
Sexual Jealousy
Some Dads Simply Can't Pay
National Statistics
Pat Bennett: Finds Deadbeat After 15 years
3 - Dads Challenge Deadbeat Stigma
Conflicts Over Visitation, Custody Hurt Kids
Our Definition Of A Deadbeat
Let's Not Keep Dads From Kids
Fathers' Rights Groups Growing
Dads Scorned As "Walking Cash Registers"
Some Wary of Fathers' Groups
What's Best For The Kids?
Many Children Never Know What A Father Is
David Levy Hates The Deadbeat Label
4 - How it's Supposed to Work
The Government As Collector
The Four Key Steps:
1. Finding The Father
2. Establishing Paternity
3. Getting The Support Order
4. Enforcing the Support Order
Get This Valuable Handbook
The Child Support Laws
U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey: A Voice For Reform
5 - The System's a Mess
Deadbeats Head For The Border
Brokaw: Computers Gone Haywire
A Bunch of Flunk Outs
Ranking State Collections
Laying The Blame
It's Not All Bad
Geraldine Jensen: Out of Anguish, Starts ACES
Part 2

Finding Deadbeat Dads
6 - So He's Flown the Coop
Electronic Posse
Phantom Head Counts?
Find Him Yourself
Things Only You Know:
Physical Clues
His Past, Family and Friends
School Days
Work History
Habits Die Hard
Leah Haub: She Puts Them In Jail
7 - Getting Others to Help You
Putting People At Ease
Hunting Him By Phone
When All Else Fails... Get Sneaky
Long Distance Sleuthing
Check Those City Directories
8 - Finding His Tracks
From Birth To Death We Leave A Paper Trail Find His Footprints In Things He Does:
Attends School, Reads, Works, Drives, Plays, Joins Groups, Buys Things, Pays Bills, Votes, Breaks The Law, Marries, Divorces, Owns Property Jim Schweppe: Cop Catches Deadbeat Ex
9 - His Property May Rat on Him
A World Of Givers And Getters
Records Are Revealing
Belinda McGrath: How She Nailed Her Ex
10 - Clone Him
Creating His Profile
A Secret Hideaway?
Driver's Records Are Great
Places To Look
11 - A Magic Bullet May Find Him
Try A Quick Database Search
A Good First Choice: Motor Vehicle Records
Using CD-ROMS and Computerized Databases
Doing Your Own Search
Or They'll Do It For A Price
Records Of Organizations
12 - Using the Internet to Track Him
His E-mail Address May Lead You To Him
What The Internet Can Do For You
How To Get On-Line, Maybe Even Free
Computerized "People Finders"
Useful Web Sites
13 - If He's in the Military
Checking Service Records
His Discharge May Be On File Locally
Where The Records Are
Military Locator Systems You Can Use
14 - Getting Expert Help
At Times You May Need A Pro
Who To Hire
What Can A Private Eye Do For You?
Charlene Dunbar: Bounty Hunter

Part 3

Making Him Pay
15 - You Have an Important Role
Helping The System Collect
You May Have To Raise Hell!
Carol LeDuc: Complaint Got Case Moving
16 - Uncovering His Assets
Finding His Secret Ownership
Maybe The IRS Can Help
Six Kinds Of Assets:
Land And Property
Bank Accounts, Investments, Securities
Cars, Boats, Planes
Jewelry, Furnishings, Other Personal Property
Ownership In Businesses
Income And Earnings
17 - Getting the Money
Ways To Go After His Income And Assets:
Wage Withholding
Interstate Collecting
Dogging Him If He Works For Cash
Seizing His Assets
Slapping A Lien On Him
Getting A Withhold And Deliver Order
Getting Children's Medical Support
Modifying Support Orders
Threatening Prosecution
Yanking His Professional License
Reporting Him To Credit Bureaus
If He Dies, Get What's Left
Nancy Sissons: Hires A Pro, Gets $37,000
18 - Should You Hire Outside Help to Collect?
The Pros And Cons
Private Collectors Thrive When Government Fails
Casey Hoffman: Bureaucrat To Hired Gun

Part 4

What Will it Take to Help the Children?
19 - Kids Need Champions
National Enquirer Targets Deadbeats
Sorry Record By Government and Media
ACES-A Grassroots Champ
John Blosser: Writer Targets Deadbeat "Bums"
20 - There Has to be a Better Way
Fixing The Child Support Mess
Is IRS The Answer?
Chronic Flaws: Will Somebody Do Something?
Huge Caseloads
Get those Computers Working
Assuring Support For Each Child
The Visitation Conflict
Deadbeats Begone
Irwin Garfinkel's Goal: Keep Kids Out Of Poverty
Appendix 1 -- List of all regional child support enforcement offices
Appendix 2 -- List of all state child support enforcement (CSE) offices

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2000

    If you need to locate a deadbeat, here's how to do it!

    Rose and Malone give us great, easily usable guidelines for tracking down anybody. These authors know their stuff. From schools to property to driving records to work records, we all leave tracks. Now we know how to make those tracks work for us! Deadbeat parents, look out now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    run of the mill

    Very disappointing would expect some new things are in here..but it's the same old thing. You'd be better off just hiring Jerry Springer's staff.

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