It’s been said that “greed for money is the root of all evil.” Is this any different for the family court industry? If a man, woman, or child today emphatically states that the “courts aren’t being fair to them individually or collectively as a family unit,” they are probably right. Unfortunately, many people turn against one another while in the midst of these horrific family conflicts in courtroom settings instead of uniting together to fight back against the legal systems that were designed to profit and win no matter which parent is awarded primary or sole custody.
Somewhere near 2014 or sooner, various mainstream media outlets like Fox News and non-mainstream media outlets starting to publicly report that the family court industry generates upwards of $50 billion per year for courthouse insiders, directly or indirectly, associated with just the family court profession.
The brilliant Divorce, Corp. (2014 release date) film also made note of these same $50 billion dollar annual revenues for the family court profession. The film’s most memorable line was something along the lines of “more money flows through the family court system than all other court systems combined.”
Here’s the 2:20 minute trailer for Divorce Corp. film that can be found through their main website at http://www.divorcecorp.com:
Divorce Corp. Film Trailer (Documentary)
Yet, there are others who claim that the annual family court revenues are closer to $100 billion or more. However, we will just focus on this $50 billion dollar revenue stream number to better understand how big of a number that this really is for all parties involved.
Putting $50 billion into better perspective…
Let’s take a look below at the number of years that it took for these well-known global corporations to reach $50 billion dollars in annual revenues (numbers adjusted for inflation):
Disney: 91 years
Samsung: 63 years
IBM: 60 years
Comcast: 48 years
Sony: 47 years
Intel: 42 years
Apple: 33 years
Microsoft: 30 years
Facebook: 14 years
Google: 14 years
Uber: 9 years
Sources: Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and Google
How Federal Grant Money Impacts Families
Did you know that Title IV-D (Section 458) of the Social Security Act authorizes the federal government to make “incentive payments” to all 50 states for the collection of child and spousal support payments, paternity establishment, and administration costs? Under 50/50 shared parenting, there would be less money to collect from either parent for the states. Coincidentally, most court cases award sole custody to one parent at least 83% of the time, per 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data.
To learn more about the impact of Title IV-D money on families, please watch this 1-minute film clip below:
Did you know that Title IV-B and IV-E of the same Social Security Act provides financial incentives for states and court workers to take children away from one or both of their parents prior to placing them up for adoption or into foster care? So, the families are split up while the courts split up the profits.
The Weapon of Choice for Controllers (Parents and Courts)
An estimated two (2) to three (3) million restraining orders are filed each year in the United States. Most of these restraining orders are classified as a DVRO (Domestic Violence Restraining Order). A person who requests a DVRO against another party such as their spouse only has to state they they feel “fear” to essentially automatically be awarded a temporary or longer term DVRO against their current or former spouse.
In family court, the DVRO is considered by many as the primary “weapon of choice” against the other party in a divorce case. This is especially true if there are shared children involved. Quite often, one parent will falsely claim that they are “fearful” that the other parent is a “flight risk” who may run off with the children or potentially do some other “bad” thing in the future in spite of no evidence of the targeted parent ever doing it in the past. This is somewhat akin to a “futuristic Orwellian thought crime” with no factual evidence needed.
Ironically, the “flight risk” allegation is exactly like an overwhelming “abandonment trigger” that is usually the core subliminal programming reason why the controlling parent feels a need to file the divorce first so that they may quickly gain control of the opposing parent and children by way of their “abandon or be abandoned” mentality. Or, the controlling parent blames the targeted parent for the exact same action that the controlling parent is doing by running off with the children, quite hypocritically.
Once the DVRO is granted as it most likely will be in the vast majority of cases, the family law case is essentially over at the very first hearing. Many times, the controlling parent’s attorney won’t even serve the other parent with the court documents for the first hearing. As a result, the targeted parent may not be there in the courtroom to defend the DVRO claims made against him or her. If so, the judge will usually just “rubber-stamp” or sign off on the DVRO request.
A parent who has been awarded even a short-term restraining order request most often will not be forced with paying any child or spousal support to the other parent involved in the case. In addition, they are incredibly likely to be awarded sole custody while the other parent is lucky if they are allowed any visitation time at all with their own children with or without an expensive third-party supervising children’s monitor in place to watch their every move.
Past studies have found that a parent with a children’s supervising monitor requirement usually gives up seeing their own child or children after just one year of having a monitor in place. This is partly because they may not be able to afford their legal and court fees, child support, spousal support, and children’s supervising monitor fees plus any other court mandated fees related to third-party investigation such as a Minor’s Counsel, Guardian ad Litem (GAL), or therapist’s fees.
If and when the targeted parent runs out of cash, his or her child or children may be told by the controlling parent that the targeted parent “doesn’t love them” and will not be visiting them any longer. In some cases, the targeted parent is unemployed, homeless, or even in prison for unpaid child support after fighting for years trying to spend more time with the children.
The granting of the DVRO also generates more revenues that may amount to an additional $20 billion per year for the individual states, courthouses, lawyers, third party court-appointed therapists or children’s advocate attorneys, and even the judges’ personal salaries and pensions, directly or indirectly, from sources that include the Social Security fund, VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). The DVRO filing may also provide extra state welfare benefits or money for the parent with sole custody, and these federal funds may also help pay a portion of their own personal legal fees.
The First to File Wins
In more modern times, the courts are statistically very likely to award sole custody to the first parent (woman or man) who files for divorce with an attorney by their side. Effectively, the courts are awarding their version of a “prize” to the parent who decides to end the marriage and divide up the family in the presence of complete strangers at a courthouse location instead of resolving their differences with a neutral third party such as a mediator or family therapist. The “prize” of sole custody is offered because of all of the direct and indirect income revenue streams that will be created for the legal system and state.
Per U.S. Census Bureau data released in 2013 and 2014, let’s review some of the parental and family court trends:
Custodial Parents with Sole or Primary Custody Time
- 13.42 million custodial parents in the United States (2013).
- The average annual child support paid to the custodial parent: $5,774.
- 74.1% of custodial parents received at least some of the payments.
- 82.5% of custodial parents were mothers.
- 17.5% of custodial parents were fathers.
- 31.4% of custodial fathers had a support order for the paying mother.
- 52.4% of custodial mothers had a support order for the paying father.
In 2013, non-custodial mothers who were required to pay child support to the custodial father paid almost $900 per year on average higher support amounts than the non-custodial fathers had to pay to the custodial mother ($6,435/year for paying mothers vs. $5,690 for paying fathers). However, fathers paid more combined in 2013 ($19.4 billion) than mothers ($3.1 billion) nationwide, per the U.S. Census Bureau.
Please note that the total combined child support payment amount of $22.5 billion dollars paid by both fathers and mothers in 2013 was about 45% of the total estimated $50 billion dollars paid out in financial incentives, directly or indirectly, to the national family courts, individual states, courthouses, and judges by way of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and affiliate programs like TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
Additionally, Title IV-B and Title IV-E of the same Social Security Act provide financial benefits for forced adoption and the foster care system somewhere in the tens of billions each year over and above the $50 billion received from the Title IV-D benefits. If and when the Social Security Trust Fund (America’s main retirement fund) runs out of money, the programs that financially reward the family court system for dividing families will be a major reason why.
Financially Biased Judicial Decisions
When a judge, lawyer, or third-party child advocate makes a ruling or decision about the “best interests” of the children in a High Conflict Divorce Case, their decisions are likely to be fairly biased because the awarding of sole custody and / or a requested restraining order with or without any minimal evidence generates more income for the family court industry. How is this fair to the adults or children involved in the family court process?
As more family members become aware that the true winners in a high percentage of these divorce cases work for the family court industry, then more people may later choose to work out their family conflicts outside of court with or without the help of a third party mediator. The true victims in these ongoing family conflicts that can last for years or decades in court are the children. If only more parents remembered that “greed for money” is typically the root of all evil, especially in family court settings.