In yet another in a long line of examples of the government wielding its power to nonsensically invade people’s private lives for the sole purpose of unnecessarily making them more difficult – the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that cooperating parents who make agreements to modify child support orders on their own are not permitted to do so. So much for the best interests of the children (again).
The case before the Massachusetts Supreme Court involves a case between Anthony Laura and Ericka Scott. Due economic troubles and Anthony Laura’s job loss two years ago, they cooperated together for the benefit of the children and altered their child support order down to $50/month from $57/week.
The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the lower court’s ruling that the agreement between two cooperative parents is invalid because the Family Court did not “approve” it, and now Anthony Laura is on the hook for roughly $5,000 in back child support payments. See the Associated Press article: Court Must Approve Child Support Change.
From the article:
The justices ruled that the state’s child support guidelines are in place to help guarantee adequate support for children and require that parents meet their support responsibilities based on their income and ability to pay.
“While Laura argues that his change of financial situation was sufficient to warrant the modification of the child support agreement, the statute explicitly requires judicial approval of any agreement that departs from the child support guidelines,” Justice James Duggan wrote, for the unanimous court.
Nowhere has it been reported that the children have not been adequately supported over the course of the last two years. There is every indication that the parents have managed the whole of their combined incomes to do just that and did so without the unnecessary intervention of the family court system. There are no reports of abused children, neglected children, malnourished children, nor any reports whatsoever that the children of Anthony Laura and Ericka Scott are suffering any substantial problems as a result of their cooperation. The parents made the decision on child support based on the very issues that the Supreme Court cited in its ruling. The difference? The court says the state guidelines know better than the parents working to raise the children in the aftermath of a divorce – cooperatively.
Let’s examine the host of reasons why the government is wrong on this account and allows the Family Court Cartel to rule with an iron fist and with impunity:
- It disregards the true “best interests of the children” substituting its own ignorant opinion for the decision of cooperating parents in this case.
- It’s a fact that nearly every state’s child support guidelines are unnecessarily high and consider costs well beyond that which are necessities.
- The court disregards the economic status of the parents in favor of state guidelines.
- This ruling forces parents in difficult financial circumstances, who are interested in cooperating for the best interests of their own children; to pay for lawyers, court costs, filing fees, and other costs associated with getting the “court’s approval” for something that was apparently easily handled between the cooperative parents in mere minutes.
- It further shows how the Family Court System deliberately creates roadblocks and encourages adversarial relationships between divorced parents in order to soak them for the maximum amount of money as possible. A ruling like this obviously will discourage parents who are inclined to work cooperatively in the best interests of the children to avoid doing so. The court has ruled “no-no!”
Now, the entire family is saddled with additional financial pressure in the face of our worst economy ever and the justification is that the Family Court is in full control of your life and your decision-making where the children are concerned. This should be alarming to everyone. We wonder how the children are best served by this ruling? We already know how the state of Massachusetts is served by it.
If anyone believes that what goes on with regards to child custody and child support is rooted in “the best interests of the children” – let this be reminder that it is about money first and foremost. The children are really an afterthought and are typically used as a convenient shield to turn away well-deserved criticism in the face of the usual types of absurd rulings such as this one.