Monday, October 28, 2013

Child Support

One of the issues the MRM brings up a lot is child support, and how unfair it is that men have to pay it.

I am not unsympathetic to men who have to pay child support for children they never wanted.  I think it is unethical for a woman to get pregnant on purpose (or accidentally on purpose) when she knows that the male partner is not on board.  However unethical that is, it is not illegal, nor could it be.  What they tend to overlook is that the support is to the child, not the woman, and no one reasonable can disagree that the child is the one utterly blameless party in these fiascos.

I am also sympathetic to parents who legitimately struggle to make their payments because, for example, they have lost their jobs.  States need to respond in adequate and timely manners to adjust their responsibilities and help keep them out of arrears.

Notice that I have carefully used the term "parents" (not "fathers") above.  That is because women pay child support, too, a fact that we often overlook, although it is increasing (as are the penalties against "deadbeat" moms).  The custodial guardian is not always the man; it's not even necessarily either of the biological parents.  It's sometimes the child's grandmother, or another relative.

I was reminded of that today when I overheard a female student, who appeared to be in her early twenties, tell a classmate how happy she was to have finally found a job that would enable her to start paying her child support regularly.  She was $7000 in arrears, a significant sum for a girl working as a waitress while trying to graduate from college.  What struck me was her positive and determined attitude about her responsibilities.  She didn't think the system was unfair; she didn't seem to have an ounce of resentment.  On the contrary, she was clearly looking forward to meeting her obligations.

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