Letters — 28 October 2014
Dealing with deadbeat dads!

Dear Editor,

I heard the understatement of the year this morning when one of the panelists on the Talk Show declared: “Our women are overwhelmed!” During the discussion of Sexual Abuse of Children, one of the main causes seemed to be the economic deprivation of women and children which leads to various other abuses too. The inability to prosecute perpetrators is a problem that needs national attention. But such prosecution is related to cure and we should be looking to prevention as much as cure. Our laws and our practice must pay keen attention to find practical ways to deal with the root causes. Take, for instance, the widespread economic deprivation that occurs because many fathers won’t pay child support. One woman told me the problem is the court says she has to get DNA proof that the guy is the father because he denies that the child is his. The woman, of course, can’t find the $900.00 (her quote) to pay for the test so the guy walks free! I believe the following, properly girded by legal firewalls, is a practical solution that should be considered:

a) The woman must first be counselled and cautioned that, if there is a possibility that another man might be the father, she needs to declare it up front. This is not a game.

b) The State would pay for the test. The “accused” would be brought in and told so and that he better ‘fess up if the woman is telling the truth, because if she is, the cost of the test would be passed on to him and any leniency with regards to his paying of the “backpay” that is due the mother would depend on his cooperation. I think at this point, 90% of these deadbeat dads would own up and the way would be cleared for them to be held responsible for maintaining their children.

This is a simple mechanism: essentially you’re trading a minimum of $23,000.00 (at $25.00/week for 18 years) for a $900.00 investment – and the reduction in human misery is priceless! We need to focus on our women because they ARE overwhelmed, and the system too often makes it difficult to get justice when they are inclined to seek it. IF WE GET JUSTICE FOR OUR WOMEN, THE CHILDREN WILL GET THE PROTECTION THEY NEED and the State will stop paying the dues of Deadbeat Dads!

Dwight Tillett

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