KIDS— We love them, yes? But relationships are hard and often fail. Then comes the dreaded “parenting plans” and “child-support orders.” Full disclosure I received child-support, so perhaps I am biased, but I try very hard to be self-critical…
I have come across a school of thought from women and men that child support should not be demanded. That the idea of “forcing” someone to take care of their child isn’t ok… they should have a choice. And you know what? I disagree. Here’s why:
I completely disagree with not requesting child support on the premise of why child support exists. (Note: I understand when someone abuses the child support that it makes it very hard to support sending it and that should be discussed. Child Support if for supporting kids— not your vacation or your shoe habit.)
Child support exists to maintain as SIMILAR of a life for a child that they would have had if the parents did not split up. There is a common misconception that moms get kids and dad’s pay CS. NO! This is common only because in OUR Society it is often that a mom will be the main-caregiver in early years and the man will be the main breadwinner. This is evidenced by the predominance of stay-at-home moms. In a situation where this was the family dynamic; then this family dynamic is maintained to the closest possible degree in order to keep things as similar for a child as possible.
In a 50/50 split there still needs to be a transfer of money to one parent unless incomes are exactly the same. IE if you make 2/3rd more income then your husband and you have 50/50 split then you should send some money over to his household so it evens out. Again, our society tends towards men making a higher wage so in this scenario the husband often pays CS.
NEITHER OF THE ABOVE SCENARIOS ARE THE COURTS FAVORING WOMEN===
IT IS A BI-PRODUCT OF OUR SOCIETY.
Child support is figured on a series of very specific calculations that consider parenting time, other obligations, and income of both parents (even parents who don’t have an income or it is low are usually imputed as full time minimum wage—this was me when I first stopped being a SAHM). Also, poverty levels are considered and maximum % of income are put in to stop it from being asinine. INDEED if you don’t have child support, and end up on state assistance the state will go after the parent who should be assisting; the government shouldn’t have to support a child because one parent will not.
People who choose to go through divorce with children, or have babies without staying in a long term commitment have an obligation to their children to take care of them. If child support is really causing hardship for a baby daddy (or mommy) there are steps to take to have it reduced. HOWEVER, if it isn’t reduced it is primarily because the court does not care about debts. IF a parent gets themselves into debt, and can’t afford child support the courts don’t usually accept not taking care of the child. DEBT is what causes hardships where people are living on their mom’s couch, because they can’t afford life in general. Note: if your ex-partner is really struggling like that, taking them into consideration as to whether or not you are going to force child support for awhile, or let them get on their feet is a genuine move and should be considered. However, it is important to recognize that their paying child support is not what landed them in hot water. LIFE CHOICES is what is making it difficult. (AGAIN if things have taken a swing for the worse for someone who pays child support they can apply to have it reduced– if they were denied then they are doing something wrong with the decisions they are making.)
If you are on in a position where you do not need assistance then my opinion is put the child support in a college or savings trust fund.
That money should still be earmarked for their care.
These calculations are intended to help a child keep as similar of a life as possible to the one they had before. I would pay if it turned out I should…. All parent’s should take care of their kids. Agreements can be made to lessen what the court would order between two people- that’s their option, but someone choosing to request the full amount isn’t wrong. Nor is establishing parenting time. In extreme examples people give into their baseness and fight over kids… this is NOT and should NEVER be ok. The kids are the only ones who get hurt. However; it is not taking a child away from another parent to have set parenting times, and a child who feels that way has been emotionally abused. I recognise that is harsh but if both parents don’t step up to the plate to disabuse a child of that notion that is WRONG! NO CHILD should ever be made to think that one parent is being kept from them. (In cases where that is happening from someone who is being manipulative I am SORRY that is happening and I understand that would be difficult.– This argument is dealing with traditional run of the mill separations.)
It is up to both parents to figure out a way to be on the same page and co-parent those kids. THIS IS DIFFICULT AND WE AREN’T PERFECT. We will make mistakes. (Obviously in true cases of abuse and such removing the other parent is actually in the child’s best interest.)
There are, of course times where the system isn’t perfect; and I fully believe there are some healthy changes that could really impact how courts handle these things, but for now, court is in place because often two people who can’t get along are trying to figure out how best to take care of someone they BOTH care about. Many times, cases don’t even get in front of a judge, mediation is a predominant way of establishing a parenting order. If you and your partner AGREED to the plan it can never be viewed as “Stealing.” Asking for child support based on the order that was established is ultimately in the child’s best interest. (IDEALLY– I really hate it when I see people blowing their child support on unnecessary things— save the extra for the kids.)
Pic credit huffingtonpost.com/2014-06-19-bigstockTheLoveOfMoney