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Pischke Fighting Again for Deadbeat Dads

The Deadbeat Dad Brigade marches again on Pierre!

South Dakota currently blocks parents who are behind in child support by $1,000 or more from getting any “professional, sporting, or recreational license, registration, certification, or permit” or a driver license until those parents have made arrangements with the Department of Social Services to pay what they owe. The courts can revoke deadbeats’ licenses and permits.

Rep. Tom Pischke, R-25/Dell Rapids
Pischke: stop picking on deadbeat dads!

Rep. Tom Pischke evidently thinks that’s unfair. The Dell Rapids Republican, who fought increases in child support last year, proposes House Bill 1207, which repeal those pro-children accountability measures. HB 1207 would also kick the license-blocking teeth out of the debt-collection (ahem! Obligation Recovery!) the Legislature passed in 2015.

Hey, Tom! When Governor Daugaard talked about getting rid of licensure requirements for various professions, I don’t think he had the requirement of paying one’s child support and other debts to the state in mind.

Before anyone grumbles that taking licenses away from non-custodial parents means they can’t work and earn the money to pay child support, reread the law. The statutes Pischke would repeal allow state agencies to issue temporary licenses if it appears the parent is really trying to pay the necessary child support.

We just learned that South Dakota has the fastest growing unpaid support in the country. Now seems an inopportune time to make it easier for deadbeat parents to let those arrears pile higher. Vote NO on HB 1207, and tell non-custodial parents to keep up with their payments or face the consequences.


  1. grudznick 2018-01-28

    They should go after these deadbeat dads even harder, and with a stick if necessary. I find it hard to understand why Mr. Pischke would protect deadbeat dads. If they turned them over to that collection agency that can take away fishing licenses I bet there would be far fewer dads who are deadbeats. Post all their pictures on the internet, too.

  2. mike from iowa 2018-01-28

    We just learned that South Dakota has the fastest growing unpaid support in the country

    You know what this is? It is lack of oversight by one party rulers in South Dakota. It is as pervasive as chronic wasting disease in wild ungulates and still one party rulers can’t figure out how to do oversight.

    CWD has no known cure, but killing off the population in the affected area helps stop the spread. Now about that one party rule…..

  3. grudznick 2018-01-28

    I blame the libbies.
    Most of these deadbeats are libbies.

  4. leslie 2018-01-28


  5. Sam@ 2018-01-28

    If they have no drivers license or unable to get professional licenses , how are they suppose to pay child support. South Dakota is a rural state need to drive to get to work. We take CDL’s form commerical drivers and put them out of work. No work no pay.

    This forces many non custodian parents to work for cash or not pay.

    The system needs to be revised. What we have is not working

  6. grudznick 2018-01-28

    Pay your bills and you will have no problems. People should pay their bills and not freeload on the rest of us. I realize you are now making Mr. Pischke out to be the champion savior of the libbie deadbeats, and this might anger him for he seems like the sort of fellow who might be angered.

  7. Debbo 2018-01-28

    Sam@, I think you missed this from the post:
    “Before anyone grumbles that taking licenses away from non-custodial parents means they can’t work and earn the money to pay child support, reread the law. The statutes Pischke would repeal allow state agencies to issue temporary licenses if it appears the parent is really trying to pay the necessary child support.”

    It really tears at children’s hearts when their own fathers evade or ignore child support. In my extensive work with children I’ve often heard that from them, though they rarely tell their fathers. The children want to please their dad, want him to like them, so they tell him it’s okay.

    Dad’s, it’s not okay. Whatever you think of your ex or how she uses child support, your children are deeply, deeply hurt when you don’t do everything possible for them. They know if you’re dating someone and spending money there, on liquor or drugs, a fancier pickup, bigger house, vacation, etc. The children always hear things, word gets around.

    Child support is not about your former life, your anger, your losses, your changes. If their mother blows the money that’s all on her, but at least your children will know — and they Will Know — that their father is doing everything he can for them, that they have at least one parent 100% in their corner and that parent is You.

  8. Sam@ 2018-01-28


    They have the right to garnish wages? This seems to never happen. The laws are in place to collect.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29

    Sam, it seems to be the deadbeat parents who aren’t working. If they choose to circumvent the system by working off-book and hiding their income, they need to reform themselves, not the law. And what Deb said: read the whole article, notice the exceptions the state can already make for responsible parents.

    Grudz, I don’t care what political persuasion deadbeat parents may be. I agree with you that the state should continue to hold them accountable.

  10. Rorschach 2018-01-29

    Deadbeat dads need representation too. Out of 105 legislators, shouldn’t deadbeat dads have an advocate? Pischke can make that his campaign slogan. “Tom Pischke: For Deadbeat Dads”

  11. John 2018-01-29

    Dell Rapids and Moody County should be proud of this anti-family, anti-child bully they sent to the legislature.

    Want to enforce child support payments? Amend the law to take the missing balances from the state agency charged with child support enforcement. and provide it to the custodial parent. When the bureaucrats see their budget, unscheduled amounts and times, diverted to back-stop deadbeat dads — then the state will get serious about enforcement.

  12. Jenny 2018-01-29

    Grudz that is just so stupid to says that all the deadbeats are libbies. W

    I do agree that this Pischke seems like the type that is short-tempered, probably had one too many arguments with the ex-wife and now has an ax to grind with her. He’s a hero now to divorced men in SD that feel they’re paying too much in child support. Such a accomplishment to aim for in SD.

  13. mike from iowa 2018-01-29

    Are any lawmakers among the deadbeats in CS or taxes? How about fines? Just curious from iowa.

  14. Dude 2018-01-29

    Pishcke is a first term legislator. Take one look at his body of work and you can see that he has a sensitive spot for issues involving non-custodial parents. Take a look at his Facebook page and it appears that he is a non-custodial, or a sharing custody father. Clearly using his seat and voice as a tool for a personal issue, which is questionable in and of itself. Otherwise, if the issue involves guns, hunting, fishing and social conservative positions, he’s all in.

  15. Roger Elgersma 2018-01-29

    South Dakota’s shared parenting law is such a farse that it only satisfied the public’s will to have one. If we do not want to lose our kids and are forced to pay for their being raised wrong, then the courts lose all credibility. I do not care that I have not had a drivers license for twenty years. The courts did bad by my kids, they did bad by me and they kissed a deceitful promiscuous selfish woman’s rear end and now she committed suicide. So they courts can not even make a bad mom happy. Let Dad’s be Dad’s and the rest of the problems will go away.

  16. Roger Elgersma 2018-01-29

    The good Dad’s get kicked out faster than the bad Dad’s because the mother sees them as a threat to getting custody. When an excellent person sees his kids being raised wrong with bad examples, and gets kicked out of his kids life because he is ‘causing trouble’ by saying ‘the court is wrong’, then it is easy to give up on life. Half the dads that do not pay earn less than four thousand per year. I worked hard enough on my farm during the farm crisis that all my neighbors went broke before I did. We had some hail storms in our neighborhood so we all went broke. She cheated while I worked and I never cheated. So now they want me to pay for my kids to be raised to be promiscuous. NEVER. So I was homeless. That is better than paying for your kids to get molested. You have no heart for kids in bad situations when all you care about is the money. The courts put extremely good Dads through hell on earth, but the court people will go the real hell when they die.

  17. Roger Elgersma 2018-01-29

    Womens groups do everything they can to stop shared parenting laws. Women also think that if they can kill our kids by abortion and steal them in divorce with men having no rights, women call that equal rights. Normally both parents should provide for and help raise the children. But when the courts can not figure out right from wrong, no amount of laws will fix the problem. But we should have a law that there will be shared custody unless one parent is deemed unfit to parent.

  18. Dicta 2018-01-29

    How does a woman “steal” her own child through legally recognized proceedings? It’s telling how you generalized claims about what women do, and I thought I would make an assumption until you openly disclosed you were cheated on. It is completely reasonable for you to be hurt and angered by what happened to you. It’s absolutely asinine to generalize it to the entire child custody system.

    FWIW: I am sorry that happened to you. It sucks.

  19. Debbo 2018-01-29

    I’m very sorry too Roger. That must have been terribly painful.

  20. Debbo 2018-01-29

    Oh, and Dicta is right about the generalizing not helping to make the system work better for the children.

  21. Patricia Shiery 2018-01-29

    I thoroughly despise child support enforcement policies and laws. It is a corrupt, dysfunctional, failed and unequal system that causes more harm to children and families than good. It was designed to give an additional teat for states to suck more funding from the federal government. It creates a punishment system against fathers that is diabolical and pathetic!

  22. Bob Newland 2018-01-29

    Cory, it could be that child-support assignments and enforcement are unfair. You are aware that many laws and their enforcement patterns are unfair. In the past, runaway dads have gotten away with a lot, but now, perhaps, the pendulum has swung past the equilibrium point. Many of us have gotten into mommy-daddy arrangements to find that our partners are not the people we thought they were. Many of us have attempted to fulfill our parental responsibilities under unreasonable conditions. I don’t know if Pischke’s suggestions are right, but I am sure that the law could use some adjustment.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29

    Maybe my view is naïve, but no one is stopping dads from being dads. We dads be dads by sticking with moms and raising the kids together. Shared parenting is marriage. If moms and dads can’t make that work, if they can’t sustain their mutual agreement to love, honor, cherish, and put their kids first, then the state has to step in on behalf of the kids to make sure they get the support they need as best the state can determine. Every mom and dad out there has the ability to keep the state’s nose out of their child-rearing.

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29

    Patricia, I share your distaste for child support policies and laws. It’s a darn shame that we need any of them.

    But if parents never put their own selfish interests ahead of their children, we wouldn’t need any of those policies and laws. Let’s focus our disgust on the source of the problem, not the state’s inevitably imperfect response to it.

    And let’s save a little disgust for guys like Pischke, who grind their personal axes by trying to undermine the system that protects kids from deadbeats.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29

    Another view:

    You cannot imagine how many women and children are thrown into poverty simply because the responsible parent, usually the father, walks away and leaves them without any money and won’t help. This puts mothers who are trying to raise their kids under terrible pressure. A lot of women out there working two jobs, working at night, worried sick about their kids… can’t afford the child care. All of the other problems working families face are aggravated many times over by families that have a single parent raising the kids with no help from child support, every other one.

    And if you’re in a position where you’ve had these problems, trying to raise your child and work and do all these things, you know how much worse it is if child support is owed and not paid. This is a moral outrage and a social disaster [President William Jefferson Clinton, speech, Denver, CO, 1996.07.22].

    The amount of owed, unpaid child support is increasing. Our legislative priority in addressing that moral outrage and social disaster should be to collect and pay that child support, not make it easier to skip child support.

  26. Bob Newland 2018-01-29

    If you have ever dealt with a crazy mommy or daddy / partner, you know there are levels of complexity that would tax Solomon.

  27. Patricia Shiery 2018-01-29

    A system that automatically targets one parent is a failed system. The way the payment system is set up makes it similar to a banking/loan company by charging an interest on arrearages. Life happens, not all fathers shun their responsibility to their children, but in cases where there may be an accident, sickness or loss of job that prevents payments, the accrual of interest only increases the amount owed. It’s like a cork being held under water.
    There are many things that result in our current system failing the children and parents, one is found in its core concept of basing the federal incentives primarily on the money that states collect. Our states family law statutes were never intended to dispense justice or operate in “the best interest of the children.” Nor do they execute true governance over the daily operations of the courts. The states family law statutes are designed to ensure operations of family courts leverage of the maximum return from any array of federal grant sources. Many federal programs providing grant money to family law operations are major parts of our failed system. How is it in the best interest of the child for the father to lose his drivers license, business license or to be put in jail? Does this tactic work to collect back support? This only keeps him from his job and from spending what small amount of time he has with his children. It is not a proactive solution for father’s that consistently attempt to pay support and then experience a hardship later. While there is a 30 day grace period, already back support payments are increased with interest added on top. Additionally, there are women that refuse to seek employment and draw off of welfare and collect support payments while refusing visitation between their children and the father. The only option for father’s that are refused visits, is to file a contempt of court suit and take the mother back to court. It is only after a few times of doing this that punishment arises and the mother spends a few days in jail. This takes additional money from the father. Our current system does not work and needs to be over hauled in away that allows a fair and equal time share between parents with equal consequences for lack of child support payments and the attempts of mothers preventing fathers from seeing their children.

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29

    Whatever problems there may be in child support enforcement, I still haven’t heard the argument that says, “Let’s drop penalties for people who don’t pay their child support.”

  29. Debbo 2018-01-29

    Mothers are usually awarded custody and that’s not always a good thing. But regarding actual monetary support for children’s expenses, and children are Very Expensive, there is some real statistical evidence that may help.

    When a divorce happens the male’s income rises, the mother’s drops. I can’t find the cite with the Div of Labor, though that’s where it comes from. Also, children are the most numerous age group living in poverty.

    So, with the courts normally awarding custody to the mothers and her income dropping, child support from fathers needs to be rigorously enforced.

    If Pischke wants to do something good for CHILDREN, not himself in particular or men in general, then maybe he ought to introduce a resolution for a task force that includes divorced parents like Roger and Patricia and others, social workers, judges, teenage children, and others who have expertise and/or direct involvement in this aspect of the court and social services system. Throw in a legislator or two as long as the promise to keep their mouths shut and stay out of the way of the people who are actually working. Their only job would be to listen very carefully and report the task force’s recommendations to the legislature.

    The task force’s task would be to fix the system that is clearly not serving the children’s needs.

  30. Debbo 2018-01-29

    Here’s a point about Child Support that may help.

    It’s not there to make Pischke happy, please Roger or satisfy Patricia. The purpose of the Child Support System is to meet children’s needs and hopefully keep them out of poverty.

    It’s not about what mom gets, or dad gets, or what your ex gets. In fact, those issues are irrelevant. I know, that’s really going to steam some of you up. Divorce is one of the most emotion filled legalities. But it may help some of your emotion subside if you can remember this perspective:

    The purpose of the Child Support System is to meet children’s needs and hopefully keep them out of poverty.

  31. Patricia Shiery 2018-01-30

    Child support policy can avert poverty only if that poverty derives from an income loss associated with family dissolution or nonformation. If parents lack the resources to avoid poverty when together, child support alone cannot remedy the problem.
    Charging interest on child support in arrears only compounds the problem of being in arrears. If the noncustodial parent ( generally the father) has problems paying the court ordered amount then how are they supposed to pay an amount that is now inflated by interest?
    Placing parents in jail, taking away their business license or drivers licenses is not going to ensure that child support is going to get paid, it too is only going to compound the problem.
    If this was the way to solve the problem then there wouldn’t be an issue of child support not being paid. The current system is not working. What it supposedly is to do, is not what it does.

  32. Darin Larson 2018-01-30

    Some of the comments on this issue seem to conflate two separate and distinct issues: 1) child custody/visitation and 2) child support.

    Problems in the first area should not serve as an excuse for failing to meet one’s obligations in the second area.

    Everyone needs to acknowledge that there is no perfect system that will govern the relationship between people that don’t get along at a minimum or even hate each other. Then, couple this dynamic with the fact the two parties have to have frequent contact and communication during the course of transferring the children and it is no wonder that there will be major problems. Expecting that we can come up with a workable system that overcomes these interpersonal challenges in all circumstances is naïve.

    What is astounding to me is that law and order Republicans want to lessen the obligations of parents toward their children. What happened to their mantra of taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and meeting one’s obligations?

  33. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-30

    Darin, I’ll go full Republican/personal responsibility on this issue: parents, support your children. If you can’t agree on how to do that yourselves and require the state’s intervention, the state will set the amount and enforce your payment. Fail to put your kids first—try holding their support checks hostage in your custody conflict—and you get nothing from this state: no driver license, no hunting license, no teacher license, no business license, nothing but grief until you demonstrate a good-faith effort to exhibit the personal responsibility we expect of every parent (and that a whole lot of parents manage to fulfill without having to involve the state at all).

  34. Roger Elgersma 2018-01-30

    When one is going through divorce and in a custody fight, no one listens. Then a lawyer who had been in the legislature said that there was no problem because after fighting for years to get shared parenting they all quit going to the legislature when their kids grow up so the lawyers assume that it was not a bad system because they only try when they have young kids to take care of or get more visiting time. Ten years of fighting a brick wall is the lawyers method of proving they are right if you quit. Sooths their conscience if they have one. So I went to the legislature after my kids were grown and gave a speech that was good enough that all the legislators were shown it. The committee had been 5-3 in favor before and the committee chair, Craig Tiezen was always against it. But the committee went 8-0 for the shared parenting bill and Tiezen gave an emphatic yes. The whole legislature voted it through by 103 to 2. I did not realize before I got there that I would have to have a written up amendment to get it approved. So in the two weeks between the Senate and the House committee hearings I started to write something up. It was a partial job at best and one the committee members said that they thought it would get better in the future, ‘like a dough growing into a loaf’. I was still getting new good ideas as I wrote it so I knew it could get better as well. But it would be better to get real improvement rather than just pointing out how bad it is now.

  35. Debbo 2018-01-30

    Roger, I’m really grateful for your experience and point of view. It’s one I don’t have. I’ve worked with people in the midst of highly charged, highly passionate and personal situations and I do know about the deafness and it’s a real thing.

    You said, “it would be better to get real improvement rather than just pointing out how bad it is now.”

    What do you suggest? Do you think my task force is a useful plan? Would you modify it? Make a different plan?

  36. Rough Rider 2018-01-30

    I worked with a guy who had lived with a gal who had a child from a previous relationship. He was forced by the State of Minnesota to pay child support because he had put the child on his health insurance and supported her until the her mother packed up and left while he was Deployed in SE Asia.

    He moved back to South Dakota after the Deployment and got a job with a company whose headquarters was in Minnesota. She had a Social Worker who pushed hard, so the State of Minnesota garnished all of his wages to pay “Back Child Support” for a child that was not his. He had to get a second job so he could buy food and pay rent etc.

    That being said, I do not understand how any Father would not want to have a relationship with his child and financially support their child.

    M 2¢

  37. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-30

    Rough, that’s interesting—can the state demand child support from a person who is not the parent, who never adopted the child, and who never married the mother?

  38. Roger Elgersma 2018-01-31

    I do not know much about your task force but it is probably a good idea. There is an article in Jan Feb either 1994 or 1995 journal called “Social Work” about disengaged non custodial parents. It shows that the best Dad’s are far more likely to not be connected to their children five years after divorce than the Dad’s that had not participated with their children’s care before divorce. The bad Dad’s actually saw their kids more after divorce than before. The Social Worker Association had written this article because they started to see that very good Dad’s apparently got derailed real bad after divorce while others did well.
    In my speech to the legislative committee, I pointed out that after the divorce rate went high, fifty percent, that those kids, genxers and millenials have no respect for government and do not vote. This is not from apathy but from a sense that government does not see the problems, does not fix the problems and can not see their own mistakes. This was learned when the kids were in their impressionable years when they were going through divorce. They simply see government as to incompetent to ever trust anyone from any political party. Telling Craig Tiezen, chair of the committee and retired police chief, that the next generation simply did not respect for the system anymore, apparently struck a realization that he could have seen in his career in police work.
    I did not say it at the committee, but psychologists tell us that our opinion of God is closely connected to our experience of our own father. If father is harsh and strict, we see God as harsh and strict. If our father is gentle and kind, we see God as gentle and kind. But now with half the kids not seeing father there at all, and very good fathers disappearing, the younger generation is now thirty percent atheist rather than five percent atheist as former generations.
    My own lawyer told me that if there is any trouble between Dad and Mom they just kick Dad out. They admittedly did not look at who was right or wrong or who was a good person or a bad person. I asked him how that was in the best interest of the children. He got that deer in the headlights look as if that was a strange question and just told me that the kids adjust. He had absolutely no understanding of the importance of a good Dad. He had specialized in divorce for thirty years and soon after could not do divorce anymore. I had pointed out in front of the judge how bad he had been. So sometimes there is a judge that does at least something right.

  39. Roger Elgersma 2018-01-31

    Rough and Cory, the court can do absolutely anything it wants to. I met a man in a homeless shelter who had been in the news six months before. He got divorced and later found from DNA testing that his son was not his son. He was totally willing to continue visiting the boy and treating him as his own. But the court said he had to continue paying child support even though it was not his kid. It derailed his sense of justice enough that in six months he was in a homeless shelter and asking me to get him muscle relaxers, I did not. The woman that cheated on him could also take his money. The court has not conscience when it comes to kissing a whores rear end. They like to suck as much money out of a poor man as possible while making six figures themselves.

  40. Dicta 2018-01-31

    Of course the man had to continue to pay child support because removing it is not in the best interest of the child. This isn’t about you, or him, Roger. It is about the children and it is the law in most states. Set aside your bitterness for a few seconds and consider the implications of allowing the incorrectly identified dad to stop paying child support or, even worse, attempt to reacquire money already paid. Wait would that do to the life of the kid who is completely innocent and has no way of providing for him or herself? And “kissing a whores rear end?” If you have not sought out counseling already, you need to. This is not a joke or insult. Your rage is palpable and it isn’t healthy.

  41. Donald Pay 2018-01-31

    My situation was different. We figured out our own plan, which was a 50-50 joint legal and physical custody arrangement. No one paid child support, as we agreed to share costs expenses 50-50. We agreed to mediation if there was ever any disagreement. There never was. If you are sharing physical custody on a 50-50 basis, there is no need for child support. If certain expenses are going to be incurred that are out of the ordinary, you discuss it beforehand. We presented the plan to the judge and it was approved. If you put the child first, it is easy to work out the arrangements. You have to be willing to stay within easy driving distance, agree on the school, etc. When one spouse refuses to put the child first and wants to continue the problems that led to the divorce, it is impossible to make this work. In my view the spouse who puts up roadblocks to this sort of arrangement should be the non-custodial parent. There will come times when one parent will have more time in a week

    It is extremely important to have both parents involved in the child’s life, and courts should do everything they can to make that happen. Now if there is spousal or child abuse involved, or controlling behavior, then it may be better to have one parent have custody

    Roger is right about the research. I was always arguing the pros and cons with Sen. Carol Maiki. When that research came out Sen. Carol Maiki said she had changed her mind about the issue.

  42. Debbo 2018-01-31

    Donald said, “If you put the Child first…”

    That’s the first, last and center consideration. I only get the Sunday Strib now so I don’t know if it’s still running the weekly column about divorced parents, but it was very, very good. The author had a set of Rules of Ex-Etiquette. Rule Number One was Always Put The Children First. All the rest flowed from that.

    People wrote in with problems about custody, visitation, step-parenting, expenses, support, everything. She always began with Rule Number One and a reasonable, sound and practical answer followed. It works. Putting the children first works.

    It sounds like Pischke is putting the father (himself) first. Others appear to be putting personal grudges or hardships at the feet of their exes first. The author of the column, and I really wish I could remember her name and provide a link, would say you have to let those things go and Put the Children First. You don’t get to be mad. You don’t get to hold a grudge. It doesn’t matter how righteous your cause is. Put the Children First. You and your ex are the powerful adults with all the agency. They are the truly Dependent Children. Put the Children First. Period.

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