! (LAST Qía SERIES) If the current system of I court-ordered child support I for the youngsters of divorce II needs to be overhauled - and I most people agree changes II are needed - what are some I alternatives? I Many have been offered in Ij recent years, though observ ers point out that when woII men earn as much money as II men for the same work, child I support from the fathers will I not be such a necessity. During the past year, in I fact, some Michigan women I who earn higher salaries than IHBHl their ex-husbands have been ordered by the court to pay child support and-or alimony. But until equal pay becomes universal, other proposals are being advanced. They include rather practical suggestions for compulsory payroll deductions, a new look at the way child support payments are calculated and increased personnel for more enforcement of support orders. They also include proposals for the creation of a family court system to handle all family matters, and a utopian idea for nationwide divorce insurance. As a starter, one local divorced mother suggests a new approach in determining child support schedules. First, she says, the overall economie level provided by the total earning power of both parents must be looked at, including limitations on earnings i m p o s e d by the child-care responsibilities of. the custodial parents. Secondr-IH the reasonable economie J r-needs of the child must be ij I considered. Third, the court should spell out the sibilities of both parents Is ;;. ward the child. The ■ tion of the custodial parent ■ must be recognized, she says K - both the value of the I vices and the actual dollars ? contributed toward financial p support. :; Mandatory payroll U tions for child support E; ments are advanced by many IJ'; observers as the easiest B'j tion to insure regular ■ ments. H "Eventually it's going to be II the only way," says Jane H ' Hay hoe of Ann Arbor. "It ? creases a man's hostility to [■' have to write a w e e k 1 y H check." She is convinced that 1 child support payments should Ik be deducted from the VM custodial parent's paycheck II like income tax. (A problemlK arises, of course, if the Bj custodial p a r e n t is U employed.) Bji Compulsory payroll [I tions have been endorsed by II the National Organization for II Women (NOW), along with I mandatory financial H sure. Hj Beefing up the Friend of the I Court staff in Michigan or I similar institutions in other I states to e n a b 1 e constant I enforcement of support orders I is anothcr suggestion. Local I women who believe the I Friend of the Court is not I forcing orders the way it I should think one reason is too I few staff members and too I many cases. I Ralph Keyes of the I enaw County Bar Association I agrees the workload is too I heavy. I "An almost smothering I lume of work has been I dropped into the lap of the I Friend of the Court here and I elsewhere," he says. ■ doesn't matter how many I I enforcement tools there are if I they're not used because of a I too-big volume of cases." M ■" is v ■■- v. til accent on. . III women 1 ILv ..'.'' . ' fe.-, " ;í"í '. . .. % I And with divorces on the i rise annually, the case load 1 can only grow. The Friend of the Court 1 fice should also hire persons who are divoreed - y larly women - to fill B I cies, in the opinión of Ann I Desautels, coördinator of the Marriage, Divorce and Fami- ly Relations Committee of the Y Ann Arbor ehapter of the 1 "tional Organization for 1 men (NOW). When she applied for a I caney in the office, Ann says she was told divoreed persons I are not hired by the Friend of the Court. "So anyone interested in changing the system is kept out," she complains. Moreoever, an ombudswoman to "mediate between the male-dominated, maleoriented staff, procedures, philosophy, and attitudes" of the Friend of the Court should be employed, according to a , local divoreed woman. I "It may be difficult to I come, but this office must overeóme its underlying tenI dencies to view these women as if they were merely nonproductive recipients of some man's hard-earned salary," she says. "This view is underI standable, but a nevertheless I invalid result of the fact that I the non-custodial parent's cash I payments toward child support go on record, while the J custodial parent's contribution I child support is unII documented - she merely 'receives,' as far as this ofII fice's bookkeeping and adII ministration is concerned. ■I One more distorted image of II women.'' II Washtenaw Circuit Court ímííbíbí Judge William Ager believes the creation of a Family Court to handle all familyrelated problems might be a better system. A Family Court j idge would become an expert on family problems and woiüd have more time to spend on divorce and child support cases, instead of the current situation where circuit judges handle all types of criminal and civil problems. Legislation which would allow for a Family Court system in Michigan has been proposed by the Family Law Committee of the Michigan Bar Association. A group called the National Organization To Insure Supp o r t Enforcement (NOISE) has proposed that divorce insurance be created on a nátionwide se ale. Considered a "pie-in-the sky" idea by many, Diana D. Dubroff of New York, who proposed the idea, says it would be a "long range solution . . , which would assure basic family support needs in the event of a divorce. Payment would be triggered by a judicial divorce without regard to the fault of either party, much as in Workmen's C o m p ensation Survivorship benefits - and disability insurance." Miss Dubroff suggests that divorce insurance be bought like life insurance when a couple decides to marry. "Should no divorce arise to trigger off such payment," she says, "the cash value of the insurance contract would then be converted to I tion or retirement benefits for I the parties, or to additional I life insurance." According to Miss Dubroff, I the court calenders which she I s a y s are now "hopelessly I congested" because of divorce I litigation would be opened up I because problems of alimony I and property settlement I would be worked out with the I insurance companies. For women who are I separated or divorced, NOW I has suggested training and I vocational guidance, I larly for women previously I trained only as homemakers. The Citizens' Advisory I Council on the Status of I men last year also I mended that young women be I given more facts about I ny and child support I ing the fact that alimony is I awarded in only 10 per cent of I divorces). "Many young women, I ing on the belief that I riage means financial I ty, do not prepare themselves I vocationally," the council I stated. "Parents and I lors act on this false I tion in advising girls about I their future." The council continued: "Our young women and their I parents and teachers should be appraised of the facts about alimony and child I port and the ïikelihood of I vorce in teenage marriages. I Perhaps more of them would I prepare themselves I ally and wait until they are I older for marriage."
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