Divorced father Representative Tom Pischke (R-25/Dell Rapids) is rallying the angry dad caucus again. The ten bills he is prime-sponsoring include three bills on child custody and child support for knuckleheads like him who couldn’t keep his marriage together.
House Bill 1104 would make joint physical custody the default setting for cases where joint legal custody is awarded. A parent wanting something other than equal time-sharing would have the burden of proving to the judge that joint physical custody would not be in the best interest of the child.
Equality sounds reasonable, and if kids have divorced parents who can still put their personal differences aside and focus on the welfare of their children the way they promised, equal time-sharing may be healthy. But for Pischke’s angry dad caucus, joint physical custody may just be a sneaky way to lower their child support payments:
BUT joint physical custody is being used wrongly to lower child support payments. In my home state, Virginia, for example, child support schedules define joint physical custody as having 90 overnights per year with your child (for the purpose of calculating reduced child support payments) [Robert E. Emry, “Joint Physical Custody,” Psychology Today: Divorced with Children, 2009.05.18].
House Bill 1105 is more clearly about money. Here Rep. Pischke proposes allowing judges to order a custodial parent to release a child tax credit claim to the non-custodial parent. HB 1105 would ex post facto modify previous child support orders.
House Bill 1106 would make it easier for Pischke and other angry dads to lower their child support payment. Current law allows child support payers to seek a “deviation” from the child support schedule if, among other possibilities, “the total amount of the child support obligation, including any adjustments for health insurance and child care costs, exceeds fifty percent of the obligor’s [that’s the person paying] monthly net income.” HB 1106 would drop that hardship threshold to forty percent.
HB 1105 is in House Judiciary this morning; HB 1106 goes to the same committee next Wednesday. HB 1104 awaits scheduling. All three of Pishcke’s angry poppy bills warrant scrutiny. We can only hope (?) they will get C.J. Abernathey to drive down to testify about the kidnapping of his daughter and the need to burn a flag to get her back.