Second Wives Under Attack in California

AB 2440 will allow CSE to target anyone who associates with parents owing child support

Jim Untershine, GZS of LB, 02-28-06

California Assembly Bill 2440, entitled “Klehs Child support obligations liability”, is raising many eyebrows amongst loved ones, family members, employers, customers, and landlords that come into contact with a parent owing child support in the State. “This bill would impose joint and several liability upon any person who knowingly assists a noncustodial child support obligor who has an unpaid child support obligation to escape, evade, or avoid current payment of those unpaid child support obligations”.

Since “Existing law imposes joint and several liability upon a parent or guardian for the injury done to another person by the child of that parent or guardian under certain circumstances” it is only natural that the State of California should allow Child Support Enforcement (CSE) to target and collect money from anyone who associates with a parent that CSE has under their thumb. Rather than just putting the deadbeat in jail for a year, CSE could attempt to financially attack anyone who stood in the way.

California is the only state in the nation that only receives 36% of CSE's operating costs from the Federal government while all other States receive 66% (USC 42 655 a4B) . The reduction in Federal funding cost California taxpayers $250 million last year since the accounting system used by CSE has not been approved by the Federal government for 5 years in a row. The publicized reason for Federal disapproval of the California CSE accounting system seemed to be the system's failure to track employers of parents (or non-parents) who are targeted by CSE. California has contracted IBM to design an accounting system in a few years that can be approved by the Federal government at a cost of $800 million.

The CSE agency in every state is required to comply with Federal Law in order to receive taxpayer funding for actively collecting arbitrary amounts of money from parents, or putting them in jail if they can't (USC 42 654 20). Depriving the rights and privileges of parents under the color of a Federal Law may put the State into an actionable position and may invite legal liability ( USC 42 1985 b / USC 18 242).

The power to withhold wages from a parent's income is just one of the many powers that is granted by the Federal Mandate which can be utilized by an individual, a civil attorney, or a representative of the State's CSE agency (USC 42 666 a8A). Employers withhold wages based on the amount that is ordered by a Family Court judge and can be ordered without the employee's involvement. The Family Court judge can only withhold up to 65% of a parent's wages, which is limited by Federal Law (USC 15 1673). If the 65% Federal maximum is not enough to satisfy the State's Family Court order for child support, the parent will be facing a child support arrearage that can grow with interest (at the option of the state) at the federal maximum of 6% per annum (USC 42 654 21a).

The protection granted to employees by the Federal Mandate demands that employers must withhold the money ordered by the court and must not discriminate against an employee by terminating or refusing to hire a parent due to the existence of the court's wage withholding order (USC 42 666 b6D). Employers who are forced to impoverish their employees are participating in a self-defeating activity. The employee must make drastic changes to somehow survive after this court ordered pay-cut and must maintain the same level of productivity that would allow them to keep their job. Any employer can prove a State's compliance with Federal Law by simply refusing to abide by a wage withholding order and see if they have the guts to enforce it. Family Law litigants, attorneys, or CSE agencies are reluctant to enforce wage withholding orders because it might allow the employee to seek a downward modification, if it was brought to the court's attention that this parent is currently unemployed. Successfully driving the parent targeted for collection to unemployment allows the child support arrearage to grow with interest, which explains the reluctance to allow a parent to reduce it, let alone allowing a parent to pay it.

Why should laws be changed or created if officers of the court are free to ignore them? The back room solution would be to convince the American Bar Association to allow their members to ignore the laws that drive parents attempting to pay child support into poverty or prison, and recognize and enforce the laws that protect them. The front room solution would be to round up the consultants who were paid to guarantee that a State's child support guideline and implemented system complies with Federal Law and sue them for malpractice it doesn't. The California Legislature separated the District Attorney's Office from the Child Support Enforcement Office because the Attorney General wanted to shelter his criminal prosecutors from criminal prosecution, when his Child Support Enforcement agency is prosecuted by the Federal government for racketeering, taxpayer fraud, mail fraud, consumer fraud, credit fraud, and deprivation of rights and privileges under the color of law. California’s plausible deniability rests in pointing the finger at the ‘Family Law Fall Guys’ that operate out of other States and have been paid by the taxpayers for their professional guidance and thorough understanding of the Federal law that allows the state to draw Federal funding.

Policy Studies Inc (PSI) of Denver, CO conducted the “California Child Support Guideline Review” in addition to investigating the State’s CSE accounting. The Urban Institute (UI) of Washington, D.C. conducted the “Collectability Study” in 2003 entitled “Examining Child Support Arrears in California”.

The Institute for Family and Social Responsibility (FASR) of Bloomington, IN published a survey entitled “Amount of Child Support Awarded by State Guidelines in Various Cases”. FASR is paid by the Federal government to act as the ‘Clearinghouse for Child Support Enforcement Statistics’ and has continued to misinform the US House of Representatives, Ways and Means Committee of the financial demands imposed on parents across all States (except Indiana) since 1997.

Jim Untershine, 824 E Pass Rd #3, Gulfport, MS 39507, 228.604.0156,,

Jim Untershine holds a BSEE from Mississippi State University and has 13 years experience in feedback control system design. Mr. Untershine is currently using the teachings of Werner Heisenberg and Henry David Thoreau to expose Family Law in California as the exploitation of children for money and the indentured servitude of heterosexual taxpayers who dare to raise children in this country.