Filmmaker Angelo Lobo’s important documentary about flaws in the nation’s family court and child support systems comes to Atlanta on September 26, 2009. Lobo says “Support? System Down” (www.supportthemovie.com) tells a side of the story that is not yet heard adequately, but it urgently needs to be told.
“How is it that society accepts the idea of ‘standard visitation’ which often allows children of divorce or separation to see their beloved parent, usually fathers but sometimes mothers, only 4 days a month, if that? It’s not enough time,” said Lobo. See “It’s About the Kids.
He discussed his film Support? System Down which documents injustices in the family courts and child support systems in the form of interviews of 38 parents involved in custody and child support disputes. ”Particularly shocking is the way that military parents are treated. They are ordered off to combat, often taking a huge cut in their pay from their civilian jobs and being paid at military reserve forces pay rates, only to come home to be immediately jailed for failure to pay child support that exceeds their wartime income. Laws to prevent this were passed in many jurisdictions, but American governments do not obey the laws.
One recent child support case, among many, supports the film’s premise that something is seriously wrong with the system. According to CNN (8/11/09), Mr. Frank Hatley, of Georgia, spent a year in jail for owing back child support reimbursement although he is childless. The system knew that Hatley was not the father, yet incarcerated him anyway. Hatley was recently released from jail after his case came to the attention of a human rights group who intervened on his behalf. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/11/georgia.child.support/index.html
I’m a dad, not a wallet.” What may prompt millions of non-custodial dads to say this phrase — or at least think it? How is it that millions of children of divorce or separation may wonder why they can’t see their beloved Dad, or sometimes Mom, more than 4 to 6 days a month, if that? These are just two of the important questions raised by Angelo Lobo, Producer and Director of the full-length documentary ”Support? System Down,” which examines problems within the nation’s child support system. The film contends that many fathers, and some mothers, can’t even get their “visitation” court orders enforced. The system’s unfairness can also affect our military men and women. Parents want equal parenting — not ”visitor” status. Most parents don’t have to be convinced to do the right thing in supporting their children; they already are willing and able to do that. Nevertheless, many believe that the family court and child support systems treat them and their families unjustly. The children suffer the most. ”We created this film to expose the serious unfairness in the system in order to help effect positive change for millions of families — men, women, and children. The situation is beyond absurd. We have loving, fit fathers, who want to be there and support their children, who are unfairly prevented from doing so. On the other hand, we have men proven by DNA testing not to be the dad, yet they are forced to financially support children they may not even know and did not father,” said Lobo. Angelo Lobo hopes his film can contribute greatly to the effort of raising nationwide public awareness. ”Both mothers and fathers are tired of being unfairly vilified, pursued and stereotyped when it comes to financial child support. ”I wanted to convey these loving parents’ stories in a compelling way and to give these parents a powerful voice. Children want and need both parents in their lives. Children suffer and miss their parents when they’re unjustly separated from them following divorce or family breakup. They need adequate time with both parents, which often doesn’t happen in our current system,” said Lobo.