The Politics of Child Support in America

By Jocelyn Elise Crowley | Go to book overview

7
Fathers' Rights Groups as Challenger Entrepreneurs

By the mid-1990s, two types of stories were circulating in the inner circles of the child support community. First, there was the story of Charles Fink, testifying before the New York State Senate in 1996 on a joint custody bill.

I also firmly believe that the least important feature a father can give his child is money. And on the subject of child support, I don't believe that a father should be forced to pay if he is being refused visitation. Personally, I paid child support for 5 years while my estranged spouse sporadically denied my visitation. In the summer of 1992, I attempted to pick up my children for summer visitation and was refused. After years of motions to the courts, psychological forensics and over $100,000 in legal fees which left me bankrupt and homeless, I decided to enact my own punishment. I have refused to pay child support for 3 years. I have been thrown in jail, where my life was threatened by hardened criminals. After all of this, if you think taking my driver's or professional licenses will coerce me to pay support without access to my children, you are sadly mistaken. I had a father. He taught me that anything worth having was worth fighting for. He taught me right from wrong. It is wrong to deny a child a father. The only way to get me to pay support will be to let me see my children.1 [my italics]

Then there was tale of Michael Dodgett in 1998.

Most days you will find Michael Dodgett hanging out in the basement of the James Weldon Johnson Housing Project in East Harlem. Here, Dodgett meets with a caseworker who helps him track down job leads. After his fourth stint in

____________________
1
Charles Fink. January 11, 1996. Hearing before the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Families and Children. Member of the National Coalition of Free Men, the Nassau County Family Law Task Force, and director of the Men's Resources Hotline.

-160-

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