Sen. Rusch Revives Child Support Revision in SB 141

Yesterday I noted the strange rejection of House Bill 1032, a mostly innocuous update to the state’s child support calculation table, a clarification of the state’s minimum work expectation, and a change in calculating primary income that will ease child support burdens on teachers and other workers whose main jobs don’t average to forty hours a week every week. But shared parenting activists led by Representative Tom Pischke complained that some parents would have to pay more money to support their children, and a whole bunch of family values Republicans said, We can’t have that! and killed HB 1032.

Sen. Arthur Rusch (R-17/Vermillion), prime sponsor of SB 141.

Sen. Arthur Rusch (R-17/Vermillion), prime sponsor of SB 141.

I suggested that legislators hurry up bring HB 1032 back… and lo and behold, they do! Today Senator Arthur Rusch (R-17/Vermillion) introduced Senate Bill 141, which appears to copy HB 1032 verbatim and numberatim.

Senator Rusch is also a member of the Child Support Commission that brought us the original proposal. In his floor remarks on January 18, Representative Pischke questioned the Child Support Commission’s reliability by pointing to its members’ ties to the Department of Social Services and the South Dakota Bar Association (that would include Senator Rusch, who is also a lawyer and former circuit court judge). Representative Pischke alleged that Senator Rusch’s fellow commission member and Judge Joni Cutler has an “outspoken bias against shared parenting and non-custodial dads.”

Yet the report the Child Support Commission prepared in December to explain the revisions it is seeking shows no apparent favoritism to lawyers, or bias toward non-custodial dads. The report explains that the changes now embodied in SB 141 are based on an economic analysis of changes in the cost of raising kids in South Dakota since the last formula adjustment in 2009. The report notes that formula assumes a state “price parity” of 88%, scaling child support obligations down to reflect South Dakota’s purportedly lower cost of living. The formula adjustment also includes new income brackets at the bottom of the scale to allow the parents in poverty a larger “self-support reserve.” The new formula thus treats South Dakota parents fairly and gives those in the most dire financial situations a break.

Finally, the report explains that the changes to the minimum work expectation and the primary-income calculation reflect the Commission’s desire to provide “a quantitative threshold that is realistic, reflective of typical employment hours, and could easily be applied.” In other words, that clarification provides clear numbers that remove one area where bias could creep into a child support determination.

Senator Rusch has recruited 26 legislators—a bipartisan crew of six Democrats and twenty Republicans—to co-sponsor SB 141. The revived child support revision goes first to Senate Judiciary, chaired by Senator Lance Russell, a Republican lawyer from Hot Springs, and vice-chaired by Senator Rusch.

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  1. So Rusch is your savior now? Shockingly another former member of the judicial branch. The commission is stacked with them.

  2. And still no mention of how the state or DSS profits from raising child support as well as minimizing fit parents in children’s lives. Federal government provides incentives to raise child support rates by raising support and providing less parenting time. The less a noncustodial parent sees his or her child, the more money in support is expected. The more money in support collected, the more money the state is awarded in federal dollars. See the problem? While we all want to provide for our kids, creating a system where one parent can barely live in the other parent be paid in order to do that is not in the best interest. I suggest you go through and do a little calculation on what should be paying your ex-wife and Child Support if you and her were to divorce. Calculate your child support with your incomes and you’re allowed parenting time in the South Dakota parenting guidelines. See how much money you would have left over at the end of the month. I challenge you to figure that amount out. That would be a stellar blog post I would love to share.

  3. Casey, if that is indeed true, then I agree that it’s a sham.
    Cory, Casey has some justified information that I think deserves a look at. If the Feds are paying states by how child support is collected – than I say WTF??

    Casey, can you get this information for us?

  4. Social Security Act Title IVD. DSS is extremely tight lipped. The child support case workers ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK TO LEGISLATORS. They fear for their jobs if they speak on these issues. I have called DasS to as aboit child support enforcement grants and how much collected. They will not tell us. Here is a documentary done on the subject that will lead you in the right direction. https://youtu.be/196XCAXfqrI

  5. Here is a particularly good link. It is from a South Dakota child support case worker who has been limited and not allowed to speak publicly on this issue. She wrote an anonymous blog post for South Dakota shared parenting to share. This is from the front lines and people who deal with these issues every day on a massive scale. https://www.google.com/amp/s/parentingtogetherlivingapart.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/a-note-from-a-dcs-case-worker-and-involving-both-parents/amp/

  6. There are two separate issues being blended here:

    1) Whether child support guidelines should be updated; and
    2) Whether laws should include a presumption for joint custody.

    Issue 1: The updates by the Child Support Commission look like good changes to me. If Sen. Rusch educates his colleagues he will probably gain a few votes in the house and get his bill passed.

    The fact is that when parents split and have to maintain 2 households on the same income(s) they used to maintain 1 household they cannot expect to have the same standard of living they had when they were together. Unless the parents are flush, money will be tight.

    Issue 2: Unfortunately because courts know that money will be tight, I think that sometimes factors into custody decisions to give one parent primary custody and to set them up with child support – instead of granting shared parenting. Maybe the reasoning is that the child will have one well-funded home instead of two underfunded homes. I don’t know. But even as I fault the shared parenting folks for not keeping the 2 issues separate, courts don’t always keep the two issues separate either.

  7. @ Casey. With all due respect, I’m very interested in seeing a credible, vetted source regarding the claims you’ve made about federal incentives, kick backs and how the state profits. A blog with an anonymous source may raise questions and be a reason for more research, but it can’t used to verify facts. Do you have any other sources regarding how the state benefits from collecting child support through DSS?

  8. @ Casey. I also looked at the YouTube video link you posted and the book put out by Divorce Corp. While the book does acknowledge several professional people who completed interviews and research for the book I do not see where there is any bibliography or references listed to verify the facts put out by these authors. If you have any other sources, please share.

  9. Rusch isn’t my savior. Rusch is just bringing back sensible, practical legislation that should have been passed in the first place but was stalled by confusion and propaganda sown by Rep. Pischke.

    If someone can document kickbacks and corruption among judges, lawyers, and DSS, bring it on! But the solution is not to block SB 141. As with Ror’s comment about improperly mingled issues, the question about corruption does not justify blocking this practical update of child support laws.

  10. How many do you want?

    “Recognizing this, the Federal Government enacted the Child Support Enforcement and Paternity Establishment Program (CSE) in 1975. This act was put in place to not only pursue a parent who was responsible for the financial support of a child, but to also establish paternity for a child who is born outside of marriage, so child support can be collected from the biological father. The Law also amended the Social Security Act (Title IV, part D), authorizing Federal matching funds for enforcement purposes—locating nonresident parents, establishing paternity, establishing child support awards, and collecting child support payments.[2]”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Child_Support_Enforcement

  11. Are you freaking kidding me!!!! How many times do these idiots we put into office need to screw up before we start making radical changes within our state House and Senate? We don’t need financial support raised! We need better laws to allow both parents equal amount of time with their children in other words “Emotional Support” needs to be increased!
    This is absolutely appalling!

  12. You cannot use the fact that the state receives funds as evidence of corruption. The state also receives money for Medicare but it doesn’t mean they are running around breaking legs.

    What you need is evidence that judges or the state is purposefully and disproportionally awarding primary custody to the parent who most likely has the lowest income. You need supporting material to show that this is done not for the benefit of the child or based upon the merits of each parent, but merely for the financial benefit of the state.

    At the end of the day, it is a judge who makes the final ruling in child support cases, therefore is there any evidence to suggest any judge has ever been compensated for ruling one way or another? Doubtful. The truth is the caseload through our courts is already higher than they can manage, and judges are not compensated higher for ruling one way or another or for ruling on more cases. So where is the incentive for them to financially punish the non-custodial parent?

    Could it be that in most cases, for the stability of the child, it makes sense for one parent to have custody more than 50% of the time? This is even more true when the parents don’t live in the same town or when the child is school age as (stability in the home is very important. Ideally if both parents are engaged and well-intentioned sure it is great to have 50/50 custody, but if you have a 10 year old kid attending school in Lennox where mom lives, but Dad lives in Sioux Falls it likely isn’t in that child’s best interests to have to be shuffled back and forth during the school week.

    I just think you need more to go on if you’re claiming there is some corruption going on here. Deep down most people are decent and when it comes to children I’m of the belief judges and social workers work hard to ensure each child has the highest chance of success. Mistakes are made, humans are humans, and there are some people with biases – but more times than not things tend to find a fair balance.

  13. No, I’m not freaking or kidding anybody, Jared. Cost of living has gone up over the last eight years more than the adjustment being proposed. If the state has to step in to ensure that kids receive enough support when parents can’t agree, then the state has an obligation to ensure the standards used to calculate support keep up with current economic data. The data say kids need financial support raised, and SB 141 satisfies our duty.

    Our Legislature needs some radical changes, but I’d hate to see radical changes away from taking care of children with evidence-based policy.

  14. Craig, you actually sound Like a judge. Did you know nearly every parent in South Dakota with standard parenting guidelines visitation already has 50-50 custody? That’s right they get equal time in the summertime with the child. So if stability is your main argument the current laws in the state or anything but stable for the child.

    No one said judges are getting paid under the table. However DSS is a bureaucracy and the largest bureaucracy in the state of South Dakota. This bureaucracy needs money to operate. In order to get that money they need to earn it off the backs of people paying child support by gaining federal incentives from the government. DSS and judges have been caught colluding several times and cases. The most recent one was judge Jeff Davis in Rapid City taking native children from their parents in 30 second hearings where the state would not even allow testimony from native parents. The state lost in federal court. The state (dss) makes more money from a native child being put in foster care than a non native child? Because native children are considered special needs. Guess which agency was taking the children? You guessed it DSS. Guess what judge Jeff Davis still sits on the bench in Rapid City. The media in the state barely covered it. I think Cory wrote an article on it. This is the exact same thing. We minimize one parent for DSS to maximize federal funding.

  15. Here is Corys article on that subject.

    So let me ask you this.

    How is minimizing a parent and the state making money off it in a divorce proceeding any different then the state seizing children and making money on it for their “welfare” any different. Either way DSS is making money and judges are helping them do it. I apologize if there’s typos I am on my cell phone…. [edited by CAH for inappropriate, offensive content] http://dakotafreepress.com/2015/03/31/judge-viken-sd-violates-icwa-in-lakota-foster-care-hearings/

    [CAH: and while I’m at it, that ICWA article was about foster care, not child support.]

    [Judges get paid paid the same whether they sit for divorce hearings, criminal cases, or anything else, don’t they?]

  16. But DSS makes more in both instances. The state makes more than n both instances.

    And Cory for the record I am Native American. Not sure what needed editing . Pointing to the fact Native children are the ones taken and the ones not allowed to testify is a fact. This is just another instance why democrats have it wrong. They point to injustices to minorities while ignoring issues aimed at nonminorities. That’s of course is my opinion and there are many other instances

  17. Here’s the “propaganda” I sent to legislators prior the vote on HB 1032:

    Short version: I live under the poverty line. Over a quarter of my gross pay already goes to my ex-wife, and that obligation would increase by 33% under HB 1032. I qualify for monthly SNAP benefits for no other reason than child support. Were I not paying child support, I would be above the income line to qualify for benefits. My ex-wife makes at least $70,000/year and lives in a six-figure household. Indirectly, SNAP benefits are being paid into a six-figure household by way of child support, and my benefits eligibility would only increase further under HB 1032 (because she’d take more from me, and my AGI would even be lower). Child support is in need of a full overhaul, considering both households and the needs of the child in BOTH households.

    Longer version (if you’re interested): I currently work as a computer technician for a locally-owned small business, with take-home pay after taxes and child support of around $530 every two weeks. My ex-wife, who has primary custody and 75% of the time with our daughter despite five years of requests from both myself and our child for 50/50 shared time, makes 4-5 times what I do and has lived for around four years in a quarter million dollar home with a man who makes more than she does. They own a second lake home in Minnesota, new vehicles, boats, campers, atvs, jetskis, etc, take multiple out of state vacations a year, and have no need whatsoever for my money. She requires me to pay to maintain control, keep me impoverished, and lessen the chance that I’ll ever have an opportunity to try and obtain equal time with our daughter.

    Where’s the break for my dire financial situation?

  18. I’ll point to the fact that the ICWA issue offers us no reason to deny thousands of South Dakota children a cost-of-living adjustment to the support the state directs their way. ICWA has no weight on the merits of SB 141.

  19. Jason, did your divorce agreement include any statement that absolved you of financial responsibility for your children if your wife’s income reached a certain threshold?

    My wife makes more than I do. Am I permitted to sock my money away and not allow any of it to be spent on my child?

  20. Mr. Beaumont, that sounds like a horrible situation and I bet it makes you wish you had either stayed married or judged that woman better at the outset, eh? I tease you, sir, but it does sound like a horrible situation. I had no idea that pastors made so much money that Mr. H’s wife can outdraw a fellow like he, but yes I say he could put his money away in his sock drawer and horde it up for some secret purpose. Not all of it but some of it.

  21. grudznick – to your first point, absolutely. And Cory seems to be completely missing the essence of every comment made, which is that if courts treated parents as equals, then financial responsibility would also become equitable. I’m not really sure how the argument can fluctuate from “Father A, you make considerably more than Mother A, who is living in poverty, so we need you to pay Mother A so that the financial situation is balanced in both households and the child feels minimal impact” to “Father B, you make considerably less than Mother B, and despite her lavish lifestyle, we still need you to pay her a quarter of your income so the child can live in luxury while she’s with Mother A, but has to live in poverty while with you” and still be considered reasonable. Money paid in absence of willingly given time, care, and attention is financial support. Money extorted under threat while being involuntarily withheld from a child is ransom.

  22. Thanks Jason, unfortunately there are thousands of fathers and mothers like Jason in the state of SD. The propaganda is from DSS, the judiciary and the bar association. This is why this bill needs opposed and many of the issues I brought up need addressed. Unfortunately no one is addressing them. They need addressed at not only a state level but a federal level as well. I appreciate the discussion.

  23. …[CAH: Hey, Casey—the offensive part is where you talk about my wife. Try again, carefully.]

  24. Wow. Sensoring comments in no part meant to be offensive (nor were they)… [CAH: Casey, if you call a black man the n-word, your subsequent statement that your words were not offensive does not change the fact that you did indeed offend that black man and other hearers. You don’t get to define reality. The rest of what you said entirely missed the point and created more distraction. Get on topic, accept I reserve the right to strike content I find offensive from my website… and take note: I’ve let stand all sorts of offensive arguments and abuses of logic and fact. I have a strong BS sensor, but I am no censor. There’s just some crap I have no obligation to take. I won’t waste your time or commenters’ with a deep explanation; I’ll just strike it and move on.]

  25. Thousands of divorced dads making poverty wages while the divorced moms are making $70K+? In South Dakota? Show me.

    Also show me how any such income disparities (a) excuse Jason from his duty to support his kids and (b) offer any reason not to pass SB 141 to adjust child support obligations for everyone based on cost of living, give poverty-income parents a break on their financial obligation, and clarify the definition of full-time primary income to remove some subjectivity and bias from the calculations.

  26. My wife makes more than I do. I know lots of men and women in the state where that is the case. You just said you are the case with your domestic partner. If Jason’s ex wife made less, his child support would be more, Cory. This would put him further in the red monthly. You are arguing my points for me.

  27. And you don’t argue fair, you mentioned your wife, but no one else can or you delete their comment

    CAH stated “My wife makes more than I do. Am I permitted to sock my money away and not allow any of it to be spent on my child?”

    I mention your wife after comment, you delete it for inappropriate content. Are you for real?

  28. Casey, is there a way to get a court order for this information to be handed over? If it would possibly have any relevance to any cases being heard, I am sure a judge would have to granthe handing over this information.

  29. Casey, I am very much for real. There many things I do related to my wife that you do not get to do.

    Your “thousands” do not appear to be real. “I know lots”—no, you said “thousands.” Either produce the evidence or admit you are arguing from baseless exaggeration. Thousands—show me.

    SB 141 remains quite for real and unrefuted. I still see no evidence that it’s a bad idea to increase child support calculations to reflect increased cost of living, to lower the obligations for low-income parents, and to clarify the definition of full-time primary employment to remove bias and lower some other parents’ obligations.

  30. Oh, now I get it! Jason doesn’t want to work; he wants a judge or the state to create “divorced dad support,” to force divorced moms to pay for their underemployed exes.

    That is the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

    Jason, why don’t you go to Pierre and look for a sponsor for “divorced dad support”, and we can debate that bill separately. Will you include a process to review the divorced dad support formula every few years and apply a cost-of-living adjustment so that inflation doesn’t erode those checks from your ex?

  31. That’s about as convoluted an interpretation as could be invented. And as I’ve explained, your “divorced dad support” already exists, except it’s being paid by the State. My money goes to my ex, and as a result, I’m paid benefits for being under the poverty line. And you’ve yet to address why it’s OK when divorced dads are forced to pay for their underemployed exes. All I can say is it’s a damn good thing the legislators did a better job of processing logical when they voted on HB 1032, and presumably, will do so under SB 131. I say presumably, because many have already shared their agreement with my situation being wrong and an overhaul of the system being long overdue. Good luck with your senseless rant.

  32. Senseless only to those like you who can’t make a good argument for opposing a cost-of-living adjustment and a more objective, bias-free definition of full-time primary income.

    The beef Jason and others have isn’t with the cost-of-licing adjustment; it’s with having to pay anything at all. Jason et al. don’t appear to want a different COLA; they want to do away with this formula and their obligation altogether. That, of course, is not in the state’s best interest, since there are apparently a lot of parents like Jason who are going to kick and scream about their selfish interests and potentially leave their kids without necessary support. The state can’t take that chance. SB 141 is a sensible, fair revision of existing statute. It will never satisfy those who want to escape their financial obligations to their children. I invite such people to reserve their argument for other bills; SB 141 is not the proper vehicle for their grievance.

  33. Precisely why if you ever run again, we will be lobbying to keep guys like you out of the legislature. You don’t understand the issue, you become entrenched in your views and can’t see what’s really best for the kids. That’s having both parents have enough financially to support the children. What you take from one house and put in another, when child spends time in BOTH households does not always help the the child.

  34. You clearly have no idea what I “want”, what I provide for my child, and what I give up out of my remaining pay to continue to provide for her while she’s in my care. If I was unwilling to pay for my child, it would be silly for me to have been spending the last six years fighting for more time with her — with her right by my side doing the same (that’s her with the pink sign she made herself).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxRC2hknK1Y

    Normally, I’m pretty in tune with what is posted on this page, but your opinion on this topic is clearly just that…your opinion. You’ve avoided in every possible way the real issues. Have you calculated yet what you’d pay in child support should your children ever be taken from you? I didn’t think so.

    SB 141 may not correlate to a direct fix for the real problem, but by making the existing situation even worse, increasing the disparities and increasing the state’s incentives to keep parents away from children, it’s not a solution.

  35. One-issue voters bore me. They derail necessary and practical policy discussions to beat their narrow issue to death, to the detriment of the general welfare. If you’re mobilizing your strength to fight one little candidate like me, you’re missing the real causes of your economic and social angst. Look beyond yourselves, look to the good of your state and country. Otherwise, you’ll get nowhere.

  36. People who dismiss fact as “your opinion” are missing the point.

    Cost of living has increased. Children have more financial needs now. Anyone advocating against meeting those needs needs to get out of practical policymakers’ way and deal with their own selfish consciences.

  37. Jason, at peril of making you think that your speculations or ill wishes toward my personal life have any bearing on the merits of this policy, let me make one thing crystal clear:

    My family is committed to staying together. We will not make bad choices that lead to the state having to intervene to tell us how to meet our obligations to each other. Now quit distracting from the issue by talking about my family and get to work supporting yours.

  38. You live in South Dakota and are getting poverty wages.
    Wingnuts fight you tooth and nail to prevent you from getting better wages.
    Cory is on the record stating Dakota workers need a livable wage.
    Wingnuts is the lege prefer to concentrate on social issues to make sure they can control women’s reproductive lives and don’t bother trying to create an environment with better paying jobs.
    Wingnuts work tirelessly to take safety net programs away from the poor, the elderly, children, military families and school kids.
    Wingnuts refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy.

    But, Liberal Cory is the problem. Got it.

  39. Mr. Beaumont, my best advice for you is to work harder. You will get more money for you and your child. I”m just sayin…

  40. Work harder at getting equal time with my daughter? That’s great advice. Thanks, I will.

    And my family was committed to staying together for eight years. 2/3 of it is still committed to staying together. Never count your chickens when 50% of the choice doesn’t belong to you.

  41. No sir, I agree you should have equal time. grudznick agrees with you on that front, sir.

  42. Jason, you just won’t stop making objectionable, irrelevant, and gratuitously insulting comments, will you? Quit avoiding the public policy issues by wishing questioning my family’s integrity.

    Jason, none of us here know what your personal problems are, and we don’t care, not from a policymaking perspective. Parents have an obligation to take care of their children. For whatever reason, the person with whom you share responsibility for children are unable to come to a clear agreement guaranteeing that you will both will fulfill your responsibilities. Thus, regrettably, the state has to step in and impose some objective standards in the interest of the children.

    Now your griping about equal time won’t be addressed by opposing SB 141. That’s a different fight, to be handled in a different venue that does not affect the general welfare of thousands of children across South Dakota. Take your personal beef to court, and get it out of the way of decent practical policy that’s good for everyone except a few cranky, malprioritizing malcontents.

    And if you think you can recruit a bunch of aggrieved divorced dads to run against every Senator and Representative who votes to support SB 141, well, you can try… but I really don’t relish a handful of angry divorcés mistaking their personal problems for a political campaign.

  43. Parents have an obligation to take care of their children. On that we agree. Parents being forced to pay ransom in exchange for access to their children? That’s already a crime. Labeling it something else doesn’t make it less wrong.

    And you’re correct on one front. I’m not going to stop. None of us are going to stop until our children and our children’s children don’t have the same issues to fight. You’re also correct that handling the situation one situation at a time in court isn’t working. It has to become public policy. There are thousands of us, and we’re never going to stop trying. I guess that gives you plenty of opportunity for disparaging comments/articles in the future.

  44. Ransom? Wow—that shows the level to which you’ve allowed your personal feelings to warp your perception of reality and morality.

    I’m glad we can at least agree on the absurdly obvious moral definition of “parent”. Now start acting like one by putting your grievances aside and prioritizing your children.

    And when you step into the Capitol, put your personal grievances (which no vote or law can resolve) aside and focus on the general welfare. SB 141 serves the general welfare, setting rules where parents have failed.

  45. Despite your best efforts, you’re never going to pigeon-hole me into the small minority of parents who don’t want to be parents. Those parents who don’t want to pay child support…don’t pay it. Raising rates on people who don’t want ANY role in their children’s lives will have a net effect of zero. SB 141 doesn’t address that problem either.

    If you did your research, you’d find that people who want to remain engaged, loving participants in their children’s lives have diligently paid their support orders for years, despite regarding them as ransom payments for the meager time they’re allowed. I think it’s best we agree to indefinitely disagree.

  46. I never agree to disagree. That phrase is a fake attempt at magnanimity disguising the fact that you can’t defend your argument but want to hold onto it anyway.

    Jason, Casey, and their crowd can’t refute that the cost of living has gone up.

    JC-et al can’t refute that children need more support.

    JC-et al can’t refute that the new formula gives breaks to the lowest-income parents.

    JC-et al can’t refute that the new definition of full-time primary employment removes room for some bias in child support decisions.

    The only perspective from which SB 141 is a bad idea is if you want child support payments to fall further behind inflation, low-income parents to face larger burdens, and full-time teachers and other workers to face a bigger hit on their paychecks from their second and third jobs. Those points fly in the face of things JC-etal have claimed to believe at very points in their statements here (when they haven’t gotten distracted and gone for personal arguments).

    If we’re making general policy, without getting into personal family squabbles, we have to agree that SB 141 is simple, good policy. I won’t accept disagreement on that point, not on the basis of the points JC et al have attempted to make here.

  47. Children need more support based on what data? How much do your children cost you on a monthly basis (excluding any expenses you’d pay with or without kids in your household)? My income is low enough to qualify for SNAP benefits, yet my child support amount would increase by 33% under the proposed changes. How low does income need to go to experience these supposed breaks? Full-time teachers currently have second and third incomes exempted — SB 141 removes that exemption if they’re not working all twelve months of the year. That exemption is removed for everyone not working over 35 hours a week, actually.

    I’m pretty sure you’re arguing what you’ve been told, not what you’ve bothered to confirm.

  48. Actually, Jason, no one has told me anything. I’ve read the bill, read the report, and studied the data. See my new post this morning:

    http://dakotafreepress.com/2017/02/06/sb-141-lowers-burdens-on-poor-parents-increases-child-support-obligations-less-than-cost-of-living/

    And you have the primary income exemption bass-ackwards. The current definition of full-time primary income is sufficiently unclear that referee Forrest Allred was able to rule last year that a full-time teacher here in Aberdeen isn’t really a full-time employee and ordered that her secondary income be counted toward child support obligation. A circuit court judge overturned that ruling, but the Child Support Commission recommended the change you see in Section 4 to clarify that specific situation and protect full-time teachers from having their secondary income included.

    Read the language in Section 4: the definition of full-time primary income goes from this—

    employed full-time at a rate of pay that equals or exceeds the state’s minimum wage

    —to this—

    has annual primary employment earnings that equal or exceed the current state
    minimum hourly wage multiplied by one thousand eight hundred twenty hours

    Under current statute, the referee can go looking for other definitions of full-time. If the referee picks “40 hours a week,” anyone working 35 hours a week is sunk. SB 141 changes that: the number of hours can’t stand alone but must be multiplied by the pay rate. If the result is more than $15,743, that’s full-time primary employment. That definition makes more workers, not fewer, able to exempt their secondary incomes. You should be all over that, actually.

  49. So taking more money from one household where the child spends a significant amount of time, and transferring it to another household where the child spends a slightly less significant amount of time makes sense to you. Sounds like a pretty stupid argument just for the state to increase their “child support enforcement incentives”. Unfortunately this is what’s wrong with government, and wrong with liberals in this country. You are not helping the child at all if you take money from one household to benefit them there only to have it be taken from the other household that they spend time.

  50. Joni cutler, and Rusch are not conservative. I said liberal. There are quite a few liberal republicans in Pierre. There are some more conservative leaning democrats. You would think a political writer would no such things.

  51. Casey Wilson blaming the child support guidelines on liberal policies is hilarious considering the fact that Republicans have super super majorities in both houses of the legislature and have had the governor’s office since what, 1974? If you don’t agree with the way the conservative Republicans have governed our state, have at her hoss, but blaming “liberals” for your woes professes a psychotic break with reality. Please consider professional psychiatric help and medication as indicated by your diagnosis.

  52. Now that Casey sees he can’t win the policy argument, he’s trying to reinforce his failing worldview by shoehorning this issue into his predigested partisan pigeonholes. It’s a lot easier to cling to a position when one can just shout meaningless labels instead of dealing with the facts. How very tiresome, deceptive, and irresponsible.

    SB 141 is simple, fair, practical policy, regardless of political labels.

  53. And deferred. Most likely killed. Not as clear cut as you see it. There are decent portions to the bill. There are also portions that make no sense at all. Pischke tried to bring his concerns to DCS. They ignored him. They can make the bed they lie in

  54. Casey: “Craig, you actually sound Like a judge. Did you know nearly every parent in South Dakota with standard parenting guidelines visitation already has 50-50 custody? That’s right they get equal time in the summertime with the child. So if stability is your main argument the current laws in the state or anything but stable for the child. ”

    Equal time in the summer doesn’t work out to be full 50/50 custody in my view if the child is with one parent the majority of the time all school year. That is my argument surrounding stability as in many cases it isn’t in the best interests of the child to be shuffled back and forth during the school year. For some families it works, but as in my example if parents live in separate cities it may not be the best situation for the child. Thus one parent may end up having less time and having to pay additional support. Specific instances aside, I don’t see that as being a problem in principle.

    Jason: “I live under the poverty line. Over a quarter of my gross pay already goes to my ex-wife, and that obligation would increase by 33% under HB 1032.”

    Quick question Jason – are you suggesting your obligation would increase by 1/3rd under HB1032, or did you mean to say your obligation would go from “over a quarter” to ~33%?

    I looked at the charts in the bills, and I didn’t see anything that was being raised as dramatically as your statement suggests. However if you are already paying over a quarter (let’s just say 27% of your gross income for example purposes) and you would need to pay 33%, that equates to you paying 6% more. I have to ask – do you feel the cost of living and thus the cost to raise a child has increased by at least 6% in the past eight years?

  55. “More recent research has examined actual parenting time as opposed to frequency of contact (less frequent transitions, but shared or equal parenting time), and has found not only that shared parenting is not harmful in high conflict situations, but shared parenting can ameliorate the harmful effects of high conflict: a warm relationship with both parents is a protective factor for children.”

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/co-parenting-and-high-conflict

    From the same article: “Rather than accepting that high conflict is inevitable in divorced families, our goal should be to reduce the conflict. Shared parenting provides an incentive for parental cooperation, negotiation, mediation, and the development of parenting plans. Most parents can successfully learn to minimize conflict when they’re motivated to do so, and shared parenting provides this incentive. A number of specialized interventions to help parents reduce conflict have been developed, including therapeutic family mediation, parent education programs, and parenting coordination. A key strategy is keeping parents focused on their children’s needs, and enhancing parents’ attunement to their children’s needs. The main therapeutic task in high conflict families is to help divorcing parents separate their previous marital hostilities from their ongoing parenting responsibilities. Parents who remain challenged in this regard also have the option of parallel co-parenting. Over time, as the dust settles, parallel parenting may become replaced by a more cooperative co-parenting arrangement.”

    From another study in 2000:

    Earlier research on younger children’s perspectives on living arrangements has demonstrated that children desire free and frequent access to noncustodial parents. For example, Rosen (1979) found that 60% of children wanted unrestricted contact, regardless of whether the noncustodial parent was mother or father. Children repeatedly insisted that being able to see the noncustodial parents whenever they wished and being able to see that parent often made their parents’ divorces tolerable for them. Kelly and Wallerstein (1977) reported that young children viewed the typical every-other-weekend visitation arrangement as severely inadequate. “The only younger children reasonably content with the visiting situation were those 7- and 8-year-olds visiting 2 or 3 times a week, most often by pedaling to their father’s apartment on a bicycle” (p. 52). They also report that older children also wanted easy access and frequent contact. These children’s feelings appeared to have some external validation in that “there were surprisingly few instances where we considered frequent visits to be detrimental to a child, or where such frequent visiting placed that child substantially at risk” (p. 54).

    http://static.squarespace.com/static/5154a075e4b08f050dc20996/t/5255774de4b055e5383d6565/1381332813823/Fabricius%20&%20Hall%202000.pdf

    From a study of 150,000 families reviewed in Time magazine:

    “That goes against some current thinking that kids in shared-custody situations are exposed to more stress due to constantly moving around and the social upheaval that can come along with that. “Child experts and people in general assumed that these children should be more stressed,” says study author Malin Bergström, PhD, researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. “But this study opposes a major concern that this should not be good for children.” The researchers wanted to see if kids who lived part time with both parents were more stressed than those who lived with just one parent. They looked at national data from almost 150,000 12- and 15-year-old students—each in either 6th grade or 9th grade—and studied their psychosomatic health problems, including sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, headaches, stomachaches and feeling tense, sad or dizzy. They found that 69% of them lived in nuclear families, while 19% spent time living with both parents and about 13% lived with only one parent. Kids in nuclear families reported the fewest psychosomatic problems, but the more interesting finding was that students who lived with both of their separated parents reported significantly fewer problems than kids who lived with only one parent.”

    http://time.com/3836627/divorced-parents-joint-custody

    And finally, from a study just published on February 2nd:

    “…adult children who went on to have the best relationships with their parents were the ones who spent equal time at both their mother’s home and their father’s home when they were very young, according to the study, published today (Feb. 2) in the journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law.”

    http://www.livescience.com/57737-children-divorce-overnight-parents.html

    The mantra of “stability” which limits a child to living in a single household with only one of his or her parents is outdated and flat-out wrong.

  56. Hee hee. Now Jason thinks links and long quotes win the argument. He forgot that the links and long quotes have to actually apply to the argument.

    Tell me how any of the above information about family stability demonstrates that we should vote against raising the child support obligations to reflect some of the increase in the cost of living.

    Tell me how any of the above information demonstrates that we should keep the current definition of full-time primary employment instead of making the definition more objective and better able to reflect the non-standard working hours of teachers and other workers.

  57. Hee hee…I was responding to Craig, not you. If the bill is “simple, fair, practical policy, regardless of political labels”, why did 6 out of 7 senators vote to defer it to an undetermined future date this morning? Shouldn’t it have been a no brainer?

  58. The reason for the deferral is obvious: enough angry cheapskate dads have called the Senators and threatened to slam them in the 2018 election that they are checking to see if they can afford to write off the angry-dad vote and get the Governor to save their hides.

  59. Jason, you appear to be misunderstanding what was meant when I referred to stability. I’m not suggesting one parent should have the child all the time. Instead, if we are talking about the school year and one parent lives in the city where the child attends school and where the child participates in after-school activities etc. vs. the other parent living 30 miles away, then it may make sense for the child to live with one parent throughout the entire school week rather than having to be shuffled back and forth to another city. This can lead to confusion for the child as they have no set routine.

    I won’t argue against the idea that both parents should have time with the child as that is simply good policy. I would hope both parents would want as much time with the child as possible and that both parents would agree that is in the best interests of their kid(s). However we all know that isn’t the reality. Some parents are petty, some are greedy, and some are only motivated to spend more time with their children because they feel it might help reduce their child support payments. However when talking about actual legislation we still need to think about what is best for the child, and we need to speak in general terms.

    I believe the cost to raise a child has gone up in the past eight years, but you appear to dodge that question. Now as to why some senators voted to defer the bill, you know as well as I do that such moves have little to do with the merits of a bill. Unfortunately politics comes in the way of progress far too often not only on this bill, but on almost everything.