Thursday, July 27, 2023


By Tim Rohr

My letter to the editor of the Guam Daily Post as published on July 26, 2023.


I was disturbed a bit, or maybe a lot, by Atty. Gen. Moylan’s threat to “billboard” the faces of moms and dads (and it's usually dads) who have failed to meet their child support obligations:

“We have Child Support (Awareness) Month coming up…We’re still looking at maybe putting up several of the convicts upon one billboard…” (Guam Daily Post, July 18, 2023)

While I agree with Moylan’s decision to publish the faces of convicted felons as a way to possibly deter crime, I am concerned that Moylan’s eagerness to publish the faces of parents who fail to meet their child support obligations is “a bridge too far.”

To give some context to the problem, imagine a father (because it is usually the father) who is unexpectedly deprived of the company of his children because Mom doesn’t like Dad anymore.

One day Dad comes home to an empty house. Mom has taken the kids and run somewhere (usually to her parents - who are often complicit in the scheme). Dad calls Mom and is answered with a screaming fit filled with a barrage of accusations.

A few days later, Dad is served divorce papers including a declaration from Mom accusing Dad of domestic violence, child abuse, and worse.

Dad knows that none of this is true and is anxious to defend himself and assert his rights to his children.

However, Guam’s child support law (5 GCA, Ch. 34) doesn’t care. Dad, prior to any trial or even an evidentiary hearing, is forced to pay child support to Mom simply because she has the kids and he doesn’t.

And when I say “forced” I mean “forced:” the courts and the police are the collection agency.

Once again, per Guam law, nothing need be proven other than Mom has the kids and Dad doesn’t -  and Dad must pay. Functionally, this means that Dad is not just presumed guilty, but is guilty, without a trial or hearing, and is financially punished under pain of prison, simply because Mom has the kids and Dad doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Dad is not only left with the mortgage or rent and all the usual household expenses, he now must muster the cash to retain an attorney if he ever hopes to see his children again.

Amazingly, our courts (Guam law) only care about collecting and not about how the money is spent. Mom is free to spend Daddy’s money on whatever she wants - including booze and boyfriends.

Meanwhile, Dad, before he ever has the opportunity to plead his case, is scrambling to pay court-ordered child support, the mortgage, household upkeep, the children’s educational expenses, attorney fees and court costs, and maybe huge travel costs to see his children - depending on where Mommy has run to, all the while dealing with emotional collapse which is severely impacting his ability to financially produce.

Some men - many men - give up: 

“Divorced men were eight times more likely to commit suicide than women…” (Epidemiology and Community Health, Vol. 57, Issue 12)

And these are the Dads - at least some, if not many - whose faces Mr. Moylan wants to “billboard” alongside convicted murderers.

That’s a “bridge too far,” Mr. Moylan.

Tim Rohr is a resident of Hagat


  1. I agree. Publish faces of criminals not personal family matters