Economic woes put divorcing dads on the street
Previously, we discussed the steps that alimony-paying exes in New Jersey are taking to make it a little bit easier on what many call "deadbeat dads." In this horrible economy, even if recent indicators are noticing a slight uptick, men—and an increasing number of women—are finding it hard to make ends meet for them, their kids and ex-spouses. In Europe, which is facing an even bigger collapse than the US is, the situation is often more dire.
That's because with more and more divorces, broken families don't have the "familial structure" around them that used to protect the state from having to support them. Record scores of people are using social services at a time when the countries like Italy and Greece are trying to pull themselves out of insolvency. This means less availability for things like job or food programs to help out either the father or his kids. Instead, the alimony check goes out, but the men who pay them will go without a roof over their head.
"Before, men who lived on the streets were vagrants, people adrift or drug addicts," said one volunteer at a homeless shelter. "Nowadays you find people there because of the economic crisis or because of personal problems."
"They don't tell you they are fathers," he said, "because they don't want their family to know."
In Italy, a lot of this stems from a law passed in 2006 that automatically gives children joint custody upon divorce, and a judicial system that only sees the father as the breadwinner. Like their counterparts in Jersey, these men are on the march for equality. They are hoping to raise awareness of a surging number of men across Europe, from Spain to Greece, who have become homeless because of the economy and their alimony payments.
"These men earned average salaries that only left them tears to cry once they paid their alimony and mortgages," said Rev. Clemente Moriggi, who oversees a Milanese Catholic charity. "They are the people who come to us. But this is not a situation where family life can prosper."