Part-one of a two-part exposé on absentee parents aka “Deadbeats”
A Profile in Selfishness: Deadbeat Parents
There is a terrible plight that plagues approximately 18 million children across the United States. It’s both a physical and psychological condition that is commonly known to cause malnutrition, homelessness, bursts of anger and low self-esteem. In extreme cases and over long periods of time “it” can even cause premature death.
This terrible malady born from narcissistic selfishness affects both wealthy and poor children, routinely triggering an exhausted parent to involuntarily cry. Often overwhelmed by the reality of escalating bills, limited income and a broken judicial system, the child’s ‘good-parent’ looks skyward, hoping with a broken heart and tear-stained-face for divine intervention.
So what exactly is this curious and nefarious disorder that robs children of their health and happiness? In every day jargon this dreaded affliction is called “Deadbeat Parents” and most people who read this article know of at least one child that has been unfairly affected by an absentee parent whose profile in selfishness has created an unbalanced life for both their former lover and their child(ren).
Deadbeat parents unabashedly detach their self from their parental responsibilities and leave behind countless trails of broken-families; while living smug and comfortably in their role as a self-emancipated ‘bad-parent’.
For the absentee parent it’s almost a game; the telling of lies, the breaking of promises, missing court-ordered child support payments and of course the ‘regrettable’ forgetting of birthdays and important holidays. It’s a heartbreaking reality that unfortunately happens every day around the globe.
In 2010 the total amount of child support that was demanded by U.S. courts from “estranged” parents totaled over $32 billion. Of that $32 billion, more than $20 billion or 62 percent was collected and distributed. So what eventually happens to the countless families that are defrauded by $12 billion in child support payments? In two words; “They suffer”.
It’s not rocket science, without consistent financial assistance from their child’s absentee father or mother, life for the ‘good parent’ and their child(ren) becomes increasingly painful.
So what’s a ‘good parent’ to do when the ‘economic walls’ around them begin tumbling down? How does a ‘good parent’ convince the mortgage company not to foreclose on their home? Will the utilities company even care that the reason why you’re two months past due is because a saturated and understaffed court system that’s been severely crippled by budget cuts cannot muster the resources needed to motivate your deadbeat ex-spouse to pay their fair share of the bills?
With the price of gasoline continuously rising; while having an understanding that your monthly paycheck buys less and less food at the supermarket; what’s a ‘good parent’ to do? And just when you think life can’t get any worse, your piece of (expletive) car has just broken down on you in the pouring rain.
Again, what’s a ‘good parent’ to do? First of all it’s going to be OK, take a deep breath and count slowly to ten. Believe it or not, behind every storm cloud there are rays of sunshine waiting to burst out and ‘paint’ a rainbow that melts away the sadness of the rain. It’s important to remember that hope comes in a variety of forms.
From the birthplace of Jazz Music emerges a Heroine
If helping single-parents and the courts in their effort to collect child support payments from absentee / deadbeat parents can be compared to crime-fighting, then New Orleans, Louisiana has a new crime fighting heroine and her name is Simone Spence.
Simone Spence is the president and founder of Child Support Solutions, LLC, an organization that is dedicated to assisting parents collect unpaid child support payments via Louisiana’s child support system. Since CSS’ founding, Ms. Spence’s clients have been able to collect nearly $12 million in past due child support.
Ms. Spence is uniquely able to ‘connect’ to the challenges of her clients because she too was once a victim of a deadbeat / absentee ex-spouse.
Her focused approach to collecting what she and her children were entitled [by the courts] to receive from her ex-husband enabled Ms. Spence to financially support her children.
Empowered by Simone’s triumphs over an evasive and wily ex-husband, other parents who were unable to find success on their own began paying closer attention to what this supercharged mom had to say.
Ms. Spence: “I know how difficult it is to navigate the legal system; it was my own experiences that gave me the ability to help other parents in similar situations. I find it incredibly rewarding to help parents legally claim their delinquent support payments and ultimately be able to adequately provide for their children.”
“We empower our clients by giving them the information and tools they need to recover outstanding child support payments.”
“We have an 83% success rate which we attribute to our understanding of both the child support collection process and comprehensive knowledge of an individual’s rights.”
Simone Spence is the author of “Deadbeats, What Responsible Parents Need to Know about Collecting Child Support”. First published in 2000 by Sourcebooks Publishing, it’s now in its third printing. “Deadbeats” presents a thorough roadmap for parents seeking recovery of unpaid child support. The chapter topics range from establishing paternity to finding an attorney to collecting from the military, the self-employed, the unemployed, a Federal employee and collecting funds internationally.
As a subject matter expert, Ms. Spence has appeared on Fox News Channel’s Morning Show, WOR-TV, Channel 9, TV Channel 21, News-talk TV and regularly makes appearances on talk radio. She is a sought after expert on child support and has written for Heart & Soul magazine and Essence magazine. She served as talk-radio hosts on both WEVD and WGHT and for two years, wrote a weekly column “Diary of a Single Mom,” for the North Jersey Herald & News. Simone Spence is as an advocate, private child support consultant, trainer and coach.
Ms. Spence is a graduate of New York Institute of Technology, where she majored in journalism and communications. She has addressed congressional hearings for the Administration for Children & Families.
New Jersey Governors McGreevey and Corzine have also honored Simone Spence with Proclamations for ending the cycle of hunger for families through her advocacy for child support enforcement.
Part-two of this exposé which will be published later in the week will examine via a one-on-one interview, the trials and tribulations of a New Orleans single mother whose ex-husband is not only a deadbeat father but also an influential New Orleans banker.
Ms. Spence and Child Support Solutions has accepted the challenge of helping this local mother and her disabled son in their struggle to receive delinquent child support payments from an evasive absentee father / ex-husband who has forsaken his responsibilities as a father and as a role model for the bank he represents. For the sake of anonymity the local mother will be referred to as Ms. Shelly and her disabled son will be referred to as “Big Worm”.
As always the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Are absentee parents aka “Deadbeats” largely responsible for dysfunctional one-parent households? And does the lack of financial and emotional support from an absentee parent permanently leave psychological scars on both the child(ren) and the ‘good parent’? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.
Until the next time, Good day, God Bless and Good Fishing.