Friday, March 14, 2008

It Takes Two

On the radio the other day, they were talking about Child Support. After the information was presented, callers were approaching the matter from two angles...one being no matter how much the single mother earned, the father should be held responsible for contributing his portion (and yes, they held that position for single fathers). The other stance was if the mother was making an amount of income substantially higher than that of the father, he shouldn't have to pay (and vice versa).

I never intend to come off as having a pessimistic view on relationships as a whole, but I must admit that in my decision to have my children, I did it with the expectation that some day I WOULD be doing it alone. And granted, both sides presented very valid arguments, so I was very tuned in and was for the most part able to agree with some of the points made in an objective manner...until one gentleman called, and in summary, this is what he had to say...

"I think that women should not have children if they are not able to support them on their own. I think they should have a financial plan/budget in place, and if adding a child makes their situation difficult, they should opt not to. And why does child support always have to be financial? I mean the father could be spending time with his child, taking him/her to the park and just being there...why does it always have to be about money? The bottom line women should allow the father to support the child on their own terms and not hone in on financial support."

So I turn to you all for feedback...what about those women who were married and/in a relationship that went sour, got separated/divorced and still has bills to pay? What if the father not only neglects to provide financial support, he also neglects to provide any other support?

-OR-

In the instance of say a woman (or man) who makes or inherits millions and clearly has more assets than the father (or mother), should she (or he) be entitled to support? What about the fathers who are placed in jail and/lose their licenses for non support...should they have to pay just to get back on track?

In most states, they add up both incomes and scale the contribution accordingly, for instance if one party makes 80% of the total of the 2, then they have to pay 80% of the costs for the child. Is that fair? Should it be 50/50?

I can tell you first hand that what they send for child support anyways doesn't light a match to what it takes to financially support a child. When you think about food, utilities, clothes, tuition, child care, activities, hair cuts, toys etc...those bill add up, and the measly $40-50 (on average) per week just doesn't cut it! Think about when it's time for a car and/license...college? Let's be real!!!

Your thoughts?

17 comments:

Dagromm said...

Tough subject, but I think that the non custody parent should pay some portion if they have any ability to, whether the other parent particularly needs them to or not. It should probably be scaled to some degree in regards to comparitive income, but I think it sends a bad message if they are unwilling to pay anything.

I don't think the vast majority of people would say that they could afford kids when they had them, but children are more a labor of love then anything else.

Tera said...

Dagromm~You are so right...the finacial aspect truly is only about 5% of what it really takes.

Nance said...

What a thorny issue. "Child support" should be a blend of both, ideally. The father, if he is stable financially and emotionally and has an amenable relationship with the mother, should support the child both financially and physically with his presence in the child's life.
In a perfect world!

But this situation is never perfect, is it? I've heard from both sides: fathers who complain that their support checks are pilfered by the mother and used for her personal desires, and mothers who complain about inadequate checks or even non-existent checks. Ultimately, it's the children who get the shaft.

That's the part that really frosts my cupcakes in the end. The kids are the victims of the adults' bad decisions. Doesn't matter if he didn't want them or if she shouldn't have trusted him or whatever, they're here now, and both the parents are responsible. Both of them need to put on the Big People Suits and act like it.

Tera said...

Nance~You are ABSOLUTELY right!!! And I am able to see both sides, for instance, once my son's dad was down and out, and was a few thousand dollars behind...I waived his arrearages because I "understood..." he hasn't missed a payment since. But when they don't do ANYTHING for the children, you know, kind of like my older son's father, that's when I say kick their asses on the support!!!

Susan said...

I honestly have no idea...However, just wanted to say hello, my dear, hello. :)

Tera said...

Susan~Why, HELLO!!! :-)

BLKSeaGoat said...

The caller who made the comment about emotional support is a deadbeat. If he doesn't have enough money to financially support a child then perhaps he should do the smart thing and invest in a box of condoms.

Regarding my thoughts about child support, I'm in agreement with the consensus here that it should be a blend of both. However, I think the child support laws should be re-written so that financial contributions are realistic and are based on the resources of the person who's supposed to pay.

The other thing is that people who breed children like roaches knowing that they don't have the means to effectively SUPPORT and rear them should be thought of as criminals.

I have several clients who have at least 5 children and they all been on public assistance their entire lives. If you couldn't afford Child 1-3, why continue to create more? Spending time and bonding are important, but so are adequate schooling, quality food, decent shelter, and eventually college. Those things require resources and if don't have the means, then strap up!

I am a single male who resides in Washington, DC. The median income here is about 60K for a SINGLE person. For a family, it's 90K. I make about 60K a year. For me, I could not be so inconsiderate to another life by bring it into a world that I can't afford to give it.

Tera said...

Blkseagoat~Thanks for stopping by P&P, and I totally appreciate the comment!! You make a very good point that I think everyone is missing...STRAP UP or abstain, and it would alleviate any and all stress about child support!!!

Breeding also pisses me off, one of my mother's clients just had her 6th child and is only 21...she has NEVER worked, just collects her check and food stamps.

Costs of raising a child are increasing by the day, and I'm not saying that I am well off enough to do it on my own, but I will do whatever it takes if it comes down to it!

Great comment!

heather said...

one of the better things about the child support requirements here is that if the parent paying support feels that the parent receiving the support may be misappropriating the funds can, with prior permission from the courts, purchase needed items for the child in lieu of cash. it doesn't ~always~ work the way it's intended to. an ex of mine decided his ex-wife wasn't spending the money wisely and got the courts permission to purchase needed items instead. too bad his idea of 'needed' items were video games and tv dinners. those kids ~needed~ shoes and clothes. which ~i~ bought for them.
it really sucks for the kids when the parents are so intent on pissing eachother off that they loose sight of what really matters.

Tera said...

Heather~You are so right...a lot of parents don't even think about the children in many instances...especially the ones who are still bitter about the breakup!

I am glad that I happen to use my child support for things that are for the children such as child care and food.

Belle - A Beauty livin with her Beast said...

ok, with my oldest daughters dad,i took him to court for support because I wasnt working and felt he should help me out as we had been together for 2 years. He of course wanted a paternity test, but then backed down. He got stuck with paying a whopping $85.00 a month because he lied about his income and with a 1 yr old what did that help? Then we saw nothing of him for about 5 years, and magically showed up wanting to be a dad, well seeing how he was a sex offender and hadnt been paying child support for some time,(i had him arrested for not paying thus the wanting to be a dad) he got supervised visitation. Then, a little over a year later, he died in a self inflicted car crash (drugs etc) and she is now getting everything she is entitled to and then some.

Tera said...

Belle~Wow! That's something else! I know a lot of mothers who also have to fathers getting upset and blaming them when they get arrested for support, and my though is if they'd pay it to begin with, that wouldn't be a problem!

NoRegrets said...

It is such a complicated issue. I do know someone that was sued for child support and the woman was awarded an extremely unreasonable sum which he could never afford. Why would the courts do that?

Tera said...

NoR~I think that usually happens as a result of nonpayment, and that is called "arrears." They do that in large amounts however the mother has the right to "waive" arrearages (I did once for my youngest son's father) if it is deemed an unreasonable amount or if they come to an agreement that the father can't pay it.

NoRegrets said...

But in an acrimonious divorce, a woman would never waive arrears, don't you think?

Tera said...

NoR~Nope, I doubt it...that's why I am always willing to listen to each point of view. The fathers in those cases just better hope that the judge would do the same!

Tera said...

And NoR stop using those big ass words! LMAO!