My question involves child support in the State of: Colorado
I am a construction worker, or was, until the economy has left me with nearly nothing. As construction workers, we are faced with many challenges... back-breaking labor, the constant fight with Mother Nature, and the ever-changing job location. That is the nature of construction: build something and move on to build something else... most often, building something means the location is a new area of town or possible even in a rural farm community. A construction worker goes where the work takes him. Many of these areas are not within 'walking' distance, not on any bus route, and distances rarely make taking a cab a financially reasonable alternative.
I understand the need to enforce child support. I'm certain there are many who simply do not want to take that responsibility. But it seems to me, that suspending one's driver's license has little effect on those who simply refuse to pay. I've been told, that result's show that it is indeed responsible for gaining compliance, but I'm betting the compliance overwhelmingly is from those that wish to be responsible in the first place, though had some difficulties in doing so for a period of time. While those who refuse... just evade the laws in one way or another.
Which brings me to... me... I am a criminal... I drive (well used to, when I had work) without a license. In fact, I haven't had a license in nearly a decade. Suspension due to a few months of not paying, (Though there was a history of compliance beforehand.) A few months later... payments (and a job) resumed but due to the 'driving under suspension' citation just prior... license suspension continues for another year... Within that year, getting stopped for having a headlight out (absolute fact) continues the suspension for 2 more years... also, mandatory arrest and vehicle impound laws regarding those who drive without valid licenses force an already strained financial situation to worse. And once again, failure to comply with child support orders... another year of license suspension... another traffic stop (this time for 10 miles over the speed limit - yes, completely my fault)... more fines and fees and more time without a valid license. All this, WITH the undeniable intent to earn a legimate income (by this point, CS payments were automatically deducted from paychecks - not like was ducking payments even if I wanted to)... Now, after 3 consecutive traffic violations of driving under suspension, in Colorado, a driver's license is suspended for five years. Another citation, I will be labeled a habitual traffic offender and sent to prison.
A habitual traffic offender.. and yet my offenses hardly have anything to do with my actual driving skills or responsibilities... Without a license, one cannot insure a vehicle, another reason to be criminalized in the attempt to keep a job. Now a decade later, four and a half years into my 5-year suspension, a vehicle with no insurance and expired registration... I face ever-increasing problems trying to work around the legalities, and risk losing it all when I'm so close to being a valid driver, simply because I need to work again and must travel to find it. Not only for myself, but for my family, AND of course for my child's child support!
My question: This is a Federal and/or State Congressional issue it seems... How can one with little resources fight and/or find recourse to such irresponsible and ill-conceived legislation? They think they help children, yet only make the burden more difficult... If I'm imprisoned, support will be reduced to 0... period, regardless of my intent. Imprisoned, NOT for refusing to pay, but because there have been difficult times (I wonder how many people undergo times of financial difficulty), times which this legislation only made MORE difficult! Perhaps it is us, in this situation, who need to make the ones who enacted this law pay for the burdens they place on our children as well as us?
Failed to include: The great number of jobs denied and/or missed out on due to not having a valid license... "pay your child support... we don't give a damn how you do it or if you can't work to do it... " <------ congressional attitude.