Stickman Readers' Submissions November 17th, 2003

A Reply To Child Support Custody

Reply To Child Support And Custody

By An Old Codger

I feel compelled to provide a comprehensive response to the issues raised by ABC in his article entitled: Child Support Custody – A Reply To Pregnancy And Child Support / Maintenance. I hesitate doing such as I really dislike getting into a pissing match with anyone, especially in a forum such as this. However, I do feel compelled to make every effort to ensure that information provided to others is factual as opposed to reactionary and full of suppositions.

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Initially, my knowledge of the subject matter is first hand knowledge which has been learned over the past dozen years as the Owner / Managing Director of a highly successful private child support enforcement agency located in the United States. I have been featured on CNN, Court TV, numerous news shows, Time Magazine, Smart Money, Wall Street Journal and numerous other periodicals in both the United States and a number of other countries. I have also been qualified as an "expert witness" in the US, Germany, UK, Japan, and Australia on child support matters and issues.

One aspect of my business has been the enforcement of child support orders both in the US and Internationally. To enforce child support orders in and on behalf of other countries, the country of residence of either party does not need to be a subscriber to the Hague Convention. The second aspect of my business has been in the area of establishment of paternity and child support orders on behalf of mothers in those instances where the putative (alleged) father is a resident of another country. In essence then, I am somewhat the equivalent of a "bounty hunter" as the services I provide I receive a fee for. In short, I am able to accomplish successful results on behalf of custodial parents in situations where government agencies are unable to obtain results.

In my initial article, I did not wish to provide all of the above information. The 12 to 18 month "window" that I refer to, and which ABC takes issue with, is a valid window. In short, after the first of the year, I will be in a position to where I will be providing paternity and child support establishment services to mothers in Thailand. And yes, the primary target will be foreign residents.

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Whilst there has not been any mention of the Thai Government's involvement or interest in these types of matters in the press, suffice to say that over the past two years the matter has been discussed with various government officials, and they do have a preliminary proposal for services before them. The services that I can provide do not necessarily need the backing or approval of the Thai Government. Similarly, participation in the Hague Convention is not a requirement. Essentially, the Hague Convention, in these particular areas only requires cooperation between two signatories, and that they adhere to specific standards to avoid conflicting approaches to child support and paternity establishment.

The potential for Thailand to adopt the same or similar laws as that of the United States in relation to child support is, in my opinion, very likely. The US State Department is extremely adept and quite persuasive in convincing other countries to do things "their way" given the amount of foreign aid that they are responsible for granting. Given the additional fact now that the US considers Thailand to be a most favored non-NATO ally, the State Department will have a significant amount of clout with the Thai Government. With and through that clout will come the realization by the Thai government, and in particular the current Thai Rak Thai government, that child support, and pursuing foreign fathers can add much needed baht to the economy. Hence, becoming a signatory to the Hague Convention will make a lot of sense. Many foreign governments would welcome Thailand as a signatory given the number of "deadbeat dads" that have gone to Thailand in an effort to escape their child support obligations. And for the record, I have approximately two dozen cases in Thailand at the current time that we are collecting child support in.

To further explain the child support calculations, I did not initially go into a lot of detail on that subject. Essentially, ABC is correct in stating that only the income of the father will be looked at in determining the child support award. The cost of living in Thailand will not be an issue or a factor.

Proving paternity — even with a bar girl being involved is not difficult at all. Each state and each country already have in place minimum probability thresholds that must be met to conclusive prove paternity. The probability factor is based upon billions of genetic make ups, which is why DNA results are considered to be the best forensic evidence possible. When paternity is proven, the results will typically be within the 98 to 99.9 percentile ranking. It is not possible, as far as I am aware to have a 100% probability. The "profession" of the mother will not alter those percentile probabilities one bit.

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Of course, the DNA results can be challenged by any lawyer. That of course is going to be an expensive proposition, and can run into tens of thousands of dollars. Any lawyer worth his exorbitant fees will typically not wish to challenge the DNA results. The most common challenges concern the method in which the DNA sample was collected for the testing. The only person that can "cheat" if you will, on a DNA test is going to be the father — not the mother or child. If, for example one wishes to claim that their twin brother also slept with the woman, in order for that argument to succeed, you would have to provide a DNA sample of your twin brother and in the final analysis, the percentile rating will then be higher for one of the twins, thus identifying him as the father.

As for the ability to win the suits, once the DNA results have been provided, if they meet the State's standards, the suit is won. The mother does not have to provide any testimony at all. Her "testimony" if you will, is the child and the DNA results. It is the child's DNA that is being compared to the DNA of the putative father. The mother is tested only to provide a full picture of the child's DNA. Technically, in the DNA testing process, the mother does not even have to be tested and paternity could be conclusively proven with just the father and the child. Since the mother does not have to provide any testimony, she is not going to "lose face" by going after a putative father in his country. She is not going to lose face in her own country / province / village by going after the father because no one is going to know what she is doing since everything is handled for her and she never has to defend herself or appear in court. In the rare cases where the father demands that she give testimony in the case, he must pay all of her transportation costs to his country.

To put your mind at ease, there are a number of "qualifications" that must be met by the mother prior to our accepting a case for pursual. We are able to "weed out" the scammers and opportunists in a number of different ways; which I am unable to share with you. Suffice to say, that having proven paternity in over 3,000 cases around the world, our success rate is 99.7%.

Your argument that the farang would have a difficult time proving that the child support is being spent for the benefit of the child and not the mother and others associated with her is an age old argument that in a legal sense has absolutely no merit, but does indeed have a moral and social component to it that cannot be ignored.

Admittedly, a father could "purchase" custody of the child from the mother. If that were to happen, and the father in fact was a decent bloke, then so much better for the child. However, and this of course raises "moral issues" — what type of "morals" does a man who frequents prostitutes have? Mind you, with this I am only playing the "devil's advocate" — just as the Immigration Department is going to do when a visa is applied for, for the child. I could drone on and on about this aspect of the subject, but shall avoid doing so.

However, just to give the "other side of the coin" — I, acting as the representative of the mother, would encourage her not to "sell custody" of the child to the father. For the father to take the child out of Thailand, and totally away from the mother is no different than the mother keeping the child in Thailand. Ultimately, the child is going to have an extremely difficult time getting to know, and benefit from a relationship with the other parent. In this context, the father is in a better financial position to travel to Thailand to visit the child than the mother is to travel to the father's country. Unless the father is willing to pay the travel costs for the mother a couple, three times a year to come and visit the child, then that would not be in the best interests of the child either.

As for Stick's comments — I can agree with the concept that a specific amount of money would be "fair" — though I would posit that 5,000 baht per month is on the slim side. As to verifying that the money is being spent on the child, the concept surrounding child support is that any money spent which the child benefits from, equates to the benefit of the child. Hence, if the mother's standard of living improves as a result of child support being paid, then that test has been met. In other words, the child support money does not have to be spent directly for the child.

We all can agree that the majority of Thais know absolutely nothing about money management. Thus, it can be difficult trying to justify the payment of child support to someone in this culture. What I do for a living is no doubt controversial. Some call me an opportunist that is only interested in money, and not giving a tinker's damn about the kids. Others believe that I provide an invaluable and necessary service. It all depends on whose ox is being gored. Hence, I could then posit that I am a mere "Saintly Ass Hole."

But, stop and consider this: Today in Japan there are over 4,000 children of American fathers who have abandoned them. In Germany, there are over 80,000 such children under the age of 18. Any place that the United States has either a permanent or temporary military base; or where the military goes on extended maneuvers, the number of children that are abandoned by their fathers increases dramatically.

The best way that anyone can avoid having to deal with me, or others like me, is to simply take all the possible precautions that they can to avoid becoming a father. Don't put the responsibility on the woman — because there is a possibility that transfer of responsibility during your visit to Thailand or any place else in the world — can end up being transferred back to you. Bear in mind also that I can guarantee you that if I am on the case, either independently or with the backing of the Thai government (or any other government), my pockets are a hell of a lot deeper than yours are. By the time everything is said and done, you will end up paying all the attorney fees and costs of court that are incurred. If the DNA says that you are the father, your options are dramatically limited.

A few grams of latex — or for you older folks, a couple of snips (it is reversible these days too…) can save you, and your partner a lot of aggravation. Of course, the latex option can also go a long way to saving your life as well.

If you have additional questions, I will be more than happy to respond to them. Ultimately, my goal is to spare everyone unfortunate consequences. My ultimate motivation is found in the orphanages in Thailand.

Stickman says:

Good luck with what you are doing… Just be careful with some of these deadbeat Dads. If you are successful in taking a percentage of some Pattaya based fellow's meager monthly income, he might be interested in taking a piece of you. But yeah, what you are doing is a good thing, but seriously controversial given the Thais and money…

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