On Gender
Politics

 

Replace Child Support with Fathers


Child support is our system of replacing fathers with money. Children would be better off with fathers.

Women who are anxious to defend the status quo, often accuse men who seek joint-custody of just wanting out of child support.

Yes, men do want “out of” child support and back in to the normal parenting hitherto only accorded women. There is no reason this should not happen, and many reasons why it should.

If both parents are running households for their children, how can we justify transfer payments from either one to the other? Seeking financially “equal” households is seeking sameness, not equality. We might stop being so afraid of differences. The obvious exception is where one parent voluntarily relinquishes their share of responsibility, however surreptitiously. But start from equality. If you start from inequality we punish the vast majority who are not deserving of it.

If there are mothers who are not capable of supporting themselves, that is a systemic, social problem. Why do we make an individual case of need the responsibility of one man to whom she is no longer married, unless to avoid our own, social responsibilities for poverty?

Is the purpose of child support to perpetuate the pre-divorce household? Then it is not support of the children but of what is perceived to remain of a marriage from which only he is banished. He is eliminated from the family, yet forced to continue his financial part of a contract dissolved for everyone else. For men, marriage is still for life, monetarily. This denies many fathers the ability to run their own household for their children, and they are often denied even visitation when unable to entirely support two households.

The presumption is that he left the marriage even though 67% of divorces are initiated by women, 25% by men. Does the 42% difference reveal women who know they can eliminate their children’s father, not simply with impunity, but support? If you wish to deny this, remove the imbalance so we can see.

Another rationale for child support is to minimize the impact of divorce on children. It fails miserably, maximizing the loss, as a father is exchanged for mere money. A non-custodial parent is without involvement or even protection as a parent, so the child often loses that parent. Violations of visitation orders are over twice as common as violations of support orders, and even when obtained, time alone is not parenting. There should be no non-custodial parents, except in the same cases of abuse which have nothing to do with divorce.

All parents need society’s support and protection, not its vilification. If it is equality we seek, surely it is in treating both parents equally – ensuring both are equally in their children’s lives – and has nothing to do with money. We would as well regulate the financial contributions of married parents. We only create the need for financial regulation by eliminating one parent. Instead of pretending to preserve a now-ended single household, we might better preserve the child’s family.

If child support is to ensure women are not financially dependent on men or marriage (which makes it alimony), it does the opposite: female dependence is institutionalized.

Eliminate the “preserved single household” paradigm. Realize that a child’s home can span multiple households and always has. Allow the change in adult relationships that is happening in any case, but ensure that the child continues to be part of both parent’s changing lives. This preserves the child’s family and eliminates any per se justification for child support.

Stop flogging something that doesn’t work.

©2007 KC Wilson

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To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. - Marilyn French

 

 K.C. Wilson is a social commentator and author of Where's Daddy? The Mythologies Behind Custody-Access-Support, and the e-books: Male Nurturing, Co-parenting for Everyone, The Multiple Scandals of Child Support, and Delusions of Violence: The Secrets Behind Domestic Violence Myths. For his personal life, he prefers anonymity. He writes as a nobody, for he is not your ordinary divorce expert with the usual credentials. He is not a lawyer or psychologist, he is not now nor has he ever been a member of the Divorce Industry. K.C. is simply a thinker and researcher, for the issues are not legal, but human, social and common to all. When change is indicated, should we turn to those that the very status quo which is to be questioned has promoted to "expert?" Society's structures are up to society, not a select few. So his writing is for and about you, the ordinary person. K.C. prefers to be known as simply one himself, and that is how he writes. Find out more at wheres-daddy.com

 



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