NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 6, 2006

The 1986 federal Bradley Amendment mandates that a child-support debt cannot be retroactively reduced or forgiven even if the debtor is unemployed, hospitalized, in prison, sent to war, dead, proved to not be the father, never allowed to see his children, or loses his job or suffers a pay cut. It has resulted in unintended consequences, gross injustices and of course massive costs. Consequently, it should be repealed, says Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum.

The result of this incredibly rigid law is to impose a punishment that makes it impossible for any but the very rich to get out from under a Bradley debt, says Schlafly:

  • Thousands of fathers are sentenced to debtor's prison (a medieval practice we thought America abolished centuries ago) and thousands more have their driver's license confiscated (making it extraordinarily difficult to get a job).
  • There is no requirement that, if and when the Bradley debt is paid, the money be spent on the children, or that the debt be based on an estimate of the child's needs, or even that the so-called children actually be children (some states require the father to pay for college tuition).
  • The Bradley debt is misnamed "child support"; it is a court-imposed judgment to punish men and extract money from them to support some mothers and a $3 billion federal-state bureaucracy.
  • Many cases prove that men cannot escape the Bradley debt even if DNA proves that they are not the father; the law even forbids bankruptcy to alleviate the Bradley debt.

Since the author of the Bradley Amendment, former Senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), is still alive, he should tell his friends in the Senate to terminate this law before any more injustices take place, says Schlafly.

Source: Phyllis Schlafly, "Repeal The Bradley Amendment," Eagle Forum, March 1, 2006.

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