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Child Support and Custody

November 25, 1987

I am writing in response to George Morgan's letter regarding child support/custody (Nov. 7). Morgan's notion that our child support system is slanted in favor of mothers is fantasy.

He need not worry about incurring the wrath of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner. In the last two years, roughly 1,200 arrests have been made in highly publicized sweeps. However, there are over 240,000 child support cases in the county district attorney's office which means that 99% of all fathers in L.A. have not been criminally prosecuted for failing to support their children.

Instead of worrying about the 1% of fathers who are arrested (but not necessarily forced to pay), Morgan ought to be concerned with the millions of innocent children who are forced onto welfare because their fathers don't pay an adequate amount of child support and countless others who are not on welfare, but living just above the poverty line because they also do not receive their court-ordered child support.

Child support enforcement should take place every day of the year, and a few highly publicized sweeps in which a handful of fathers are arrested is not a meaningful approach to solving the child support problem.

The real victim of this disgracefully inadequate child support system are women and children who are forced into lives of quiet desperation when fathers abandon their children or fail to make them a priority.

Men like Morgan should remember that children need both love and child support and all the father's rights slogans in the world will not put food on the table, or help a child out of the welfare system. We need tougher laws and more enforcement of existing laws to protect children and the taxpayers from fathers who refuse to take seriously the legal mandate that both parents have an equal duty to support their children.

GLORIA ALLRED

President

Women's Equal Rights Legal

Defense and Education Fund

Los Angeles

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