In Wisconsin, the State Supreme Court made minor changes that may expedite the transfer of cases from Wisconsin Courts to Tribal Courts. This opens the door for more transfers of Native American cases to be handled in their own courts. Unfortunately, the main change that seems to be driving the move for cases from State Court to Tribal Court is that Tribal Courts are now permitted to receive Federal Title IV-D for Paternity Establishment and their operation of a child support enforcement program.
Naturally, since the Tribal courts now will be receiving funding for pursuing certain types of cases, they would naturally want to retain jurisdiction or take jurisdiction over matters that they can be paid for under US Federal Grant and Incentive Programs.
According to the Wisconsin Law Journal the following changes have been made:
First, the circuit court would have to make an explicit finding that the state court and the tribal court have concurrent jurisdiction over the matter.
Second, the court would have to send a detailed notice to the parties, explaining the consequences of failure to object to transfer.
Third, it adds a provision that, absent any objection from the parties, transfer will occur unless good cause exists not to transfer the case.
Since there are always a number of cases where one party is not known in these cases, you can expect most will transfer very quickly. The key again though is that the Native/Tribal Courts are now basically getting federal kickbacks for establishing paternity, establishing child support orders, and otherwise enforcing state created obligations against parents.
Additional Information About Title IV-D Can Be Found:
- Nationwide Child Support Enforcement Fails Needy Families
- Mounting Accountability Problems With Child Support Programs: Data Stolen
- Child Support Clerk Charged With Embezzlement: program needs oversight
- Lary Holland Explains How Federal Grants Obstruct Equal Parenting
- Nationwide Blueprint for Title IV-D Reform
- Title IV-D Overview - Original
The Child Support Enforcement program continues to be plagued over the past several years of documented fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, bribery schemes, and more. Just take a look at the snapshot below, and know that this is hardly a comprehensive look at the problems that exist throughout the nation with this "free for all welfare program."
Fort Bend Woman Guilty in Child Support Fraud Ring ~ "Fort Bend County jury has found 42-year-old Debra Hodge guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity for her part in bilking over $40,000 in fraudulent child support from the Texas Attorney General's Office."
Child Support Worker Arrested in Bribery Scheme ~ "ORLANDO, Fla. -- A former employee of the Department of Revenue's Child Support Enforcement program was arrested Thursday on bribery charges." (Local6.Com "Child Support Worker Arrested In Bribery Scheme" March 8, 2007)
Title IV-D Employee Embezzles Quarter of Million in Child Support Enforcement Money ~ "A Natomas woman stands accused of bilking the state Department of Child Support Services of more than $250,000, turning her procurement job into a means of buying a Lexus, hot tub and big-screen television, among other things."
The Weekly Standard Indicts CSE Title IV-D Welfare Program ~ "There is mounting evidence that the system now encourages marital breakup and exacerbates fatherlessness by creating a winner-take-all game, where the losing parent--commonly a father wanting to save the marriage--is unfairly penalized by the loss of his children and by a federally enforced child support obligation."
Federal Child Support Enforcement Program Makes Little "Cents" to the Taxpayer ~ "So the man, named Michael Eugene Lamb, is going into prison at the age of 49, sitting there on a federal conviction, and coming out sometime when he is almost 51 years old. The federal system will charge the taxpayers for his 1.5 year confinement at a cost between $30,000.00 to $50,000.00 depending on the facility and not including any health issues of the confined."
Child Support Clerk Charged With Embezzlement: More Government Corruption ~ "Another County employee, this one in Lauderdale County, has been indicted by a grand jury on felony embezzlement charges for allegedly stealing more than $216,000.00 of program money, paid for by taxpayers, by writing unauthorized checks to herself from January 2002 through April of 2007. This employee was released on a $10,000.00 bond, which no doubt was probably a drop in the bucket considering she has already been sitting on the $216,000.00 plus her lush salary."
Two Main Media Outlets Reprot More Thieving Title IV-D/CSE Employees ~ "Two separate reports have come out about a Maine Child Support Enforcement Worker (Title IV-D Employee) that has been stealing money orders from children the agency touts to protect. This most recent employee, who is now on administrative leave pending investigation, was reported as intercepting money orders and depositing them in her personal bank account."
Mounting Accountability Problems With Child Support Programs: Data Stolen ~ "Yuba
County scrambled this week to contact 70,000 people whose names and personal information were on a laptop computer stolen from the new
Child Support Services office in Linda. County officials said the stolen laptop contained Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s
license numbers and other private information on 70,000 people+."
Identity Theft: Opt Out of Family Court Services Before it Happens to YOU! ~ "...customers in at least three states have already experienced serious breaches in their personal information, including social security numbers being compromised and potentially handed over to hackers that might want to steal identities in the last few months alone."
Let's just hope that the Child Support programs in the Native/Tribal courts don't become nearly as damaging as they have become in US/State Family Courts. The recent rule changes in Wisconsin will likely have several issues when it comes to spousal support cases and other cases that have child support as an ancillary action, which would otherwise result in only part of the case being transferred to the Native/Tribal Courts. In the end, it is certainly all about the money and there still needs to be drastic overhauls to the family court system to better focus on the needs of children rather than on the financial performance within government controlled bureaucracies.
“Tribal Child Support Programs. The circuit court may, on its own motion or the motion of any party, after notice to the parties of their right to object, transfer a post-judgment child support, custody or placement provision of an action in which the state is a real party in interest pursuant to s. 767.205(2) to a tribal court located in Wisconsin that is receiving funding from the federal government to operate a child support program under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 654 et al.). The circuit court must first make a threshold determination that concurrent jurisdictions exists. If concurrent jurisdiction is found to exist, the transfer will occur unless a party objects in a timely manner or it is proven that there is good cause to prevent the transfer. Upon the filing of a timely objection to the transfer, the circuit court shall conduct a hearing on the record, considering all the relevant factors set forth in sub. (2).”