today in black history

May 19, 2022

Black nationalist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) was born in Omaha, Nebraska on this date in 1925.

Book Review: Deadbeat v. Deadbroke

POSTED: August 08, 2014, 7:00 am

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There is no denying that child support is a contentious issue between many separated parents. In the African-American community it has been a source of frustration and debate as female, single-headed households are prevalent among Black families. Sadly, while adults square off innocent children become collateral damage and pay a heavy penalty when resources are not available to support long-term planning, let alone sufficient to meet basic needs.

Author and child support consultant Simone Spence, having navigated the child support system, has penned a new book “Deadbeat vs. Deadbroke: A Guide to Getting All Children What They Deserve” to provide guidance to parents seeking support. The book is a step-by-step guide to help a custodial parent through what can be a very laborious, emotionally draining and daunting process to obtain support from an uncooperative or negligent partner.

According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2011 14.4 million parents had custody of children under age 21 when the other parent lived elsewhere. Among custodial parents, 25% were Black. In 2011 only 2.7 million or just 38% of the 7 million custodial parents with child support orders received the full amount of child support that was owed to them. The average yearly child support payment received by custodial parents with payments was $5,160 for mothers and $4,433 for fathers. Among Black custodial parents in 2011 40.4% were awarded child support and among those who received some child report, the average yearly payment was $4,524.

There are a myriad number of reasons why some parents do not fulfill their child support obligations. In some instances relationships that have soured results in lingering resentment between parents which leads to the neglect of children. In the Black community, child support is often complicated by long-term joblessness and incarceration among Black men. In recent years in some jurisdictions efforts have been made to find compromises to alleviate the child support obligations of the incarcerated. However, the fact remains that children who had no say in their predicament are often left in need as support payments are not made or are insufficient.

In “Deadbeat vs. Deadbroke: A Guide to Getting All Children What They Deserve” author Simone Spence makes no apologies for her dogged pursuit of child support payments. Her bottom line is that children must be the priority and non-custodial parents must meet their legal obligation. She states unequivocally “If your children are not receiving sufficient financial support from their non-residential parent, then you, as their primary caregiver, have the right to utilize any legal means necessary to get that parent to pay up.” Still, Spence recognizes the importance of children having a healthy relationship with both parents. She reminds, “What you legally cannot do, and should not do, in the best interest of your children, is to deny them the opportunity to have a relationship with their other parent.”

The book serves as a how-to, soup to nuts playbook for a custodial parent seeking child support for their children. Spence leads the reader through the process, beginning with the issue of paternity testing and establishing your child support order. There are chapters in the book that outline the steps needed to enforce a child support order, locate a non-residential parent, collecting payment from parents overseas and in the military, and from the self-employed and unemployed. Spence also provides guidance in identifying proper legal representation. In the index of the book, the author provides templates for legal documents and a helpful glossary of terms.

Deadbeat vs. Deadbroke: A Guide to Getting All Children What They Deserve” is an invaluable resource for custodial parents and a tremendous public service on behalf of children. The author has taken a very complex system and provided a practical manual on how to make certain children receive the support they are entitled. For parents navigating the child support system, the book is a must have and will greatly minimize expensive mistakes that are often made in the process. This book should be a first-step for any custodial parents because it will sufficiently prepare them to engage the legal process and empower them to advocate on behalf of their children.

This book is available through Solutions Publishing (ISBN 978-0-578-14075-9)by calling 1-888-390-1950. Author Simone Spence can be reached through her website

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