Divorce & Child Support - How "Dead-Beat" Fathers are Crippling the Good!

The Other Side of the Fence!

Before I get into the very controversial aspects of this article I want to first start off by stating a few points about divorce & child support. Some of the points of view in this article are based on the majority, meaning, some of the points are not true to everyone who has ever went through a divorce. This article will NOT be an attempt to defend "dead-beat" fathers who run, hide, or refuse to support their children. I think we, for the most part, all feel the same about those individuals. However, they will be mentioned to prove some very valid points. This article will cover, "The other side of the fence", the father's who pay their child support and who see their children on their scheduled visits. It will also state some interesting things that a lot of people simply don't think about.

Anytime children are involved in a divorce it's extremely difficult for everyone involved. A lot of people forget about the grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews that are also affective by it. Most families, especially during the holidays, spend time together so when a divorce occurs many people are effected. In most cases, mothers are always considered as the primary caregiver and for good reason. They typically are more nourishing than fathers, especially during the infant/toddler years. Mother's change their diapers, feed them, get up in the middle of the night to comfort them and bathe them - and they love doing it! Calm down father's I know you do all of these things to, but remember I'm talking about the majority. Father's typically can't wait for them to grow up a little so they can wrestle with them, take them to sporting events, and teach them how to play sports.

Most state governments agree with the above paragraph hence the reason why they award mothers as the primary caregiver - full custody - and fathers are ruled to pay child support. Without getting into all the logistics of court proceedings and "wordy" rulings, father's are to pay a percentage based on the number of children involved. Usually, 17 percent for one child, 25 percent for two children, 29 percent for three children, 31 percent for four children, and not less than 35 percent for five or more children (these numbers differ per state). Some may argue that these numbers are too low (mothers) and some will argue they are way to high (fathers). Most states have put together a formula, that only Einstein himself could figure out, to show how they came up with these percentages. The bottom line is, they are going to stay relatively the same from year to year.

THE SCENERIO: The following is a "real-life" scenerio that describes how caring fathers are being taken advantage of based on their income and willingness to become or stay a good father.

After the courts calculations to Einsteins formula, it's ordered that the father is to pay $800 a month in child support for two children. This figure is based on the fathers income of when the couple was still together (verified through his income taxes) and also includes the income of what the mother made (part-time work). This figure also includes the fact that the children will be on the fathers health insurance because he has the better plan. The father has scheduled visits of once a day during the week (normally Wednesdays) and every other weekend (this is a typical schedule for most fathers). The $800 that the mother receives goes towards the children's food for the month, their clothes, any fees for extracurricular activities, and essentials they must have. The mother receives a check, either bi-weekly or monthly, with amounts that will eventually equal $800 (Apparently the checks come with different amounts every time, but do add up to $800 per month). The mother does not have to show proof of where any of the money was spent, but for this particular scenario let's just say it's all been spent on the children. So far, I have no issues with this ruling or case. But this is what the courts, government, and most people don't think about. When those children come and see their father, he is expected to have established a nurturing, loving, caring environment with all the key essentials, including toys, that's provided at their mother's dwelling. And he better...WHY...because if he doesn't the children will be uncomfortable and not have enjoy their time there. How do fathers make their home a more enjoyable environment? By making sure they have a bed to sleep in, appropriate food to eat, and toys to play with, all of which cost money. Think about this....the mother just used some of that $800 to buy the children new bikes....now the father has to turn around and buy two more bikes to make sure his house has the "key essentials" of a fun, caring, loving home. Taken advantage of? When the father asked the court about the amount of money that he was ruled to pay, the court responded with, "the money is calculated on the basis that this divorce will not effect the children in anyway, especially financially".

Christmas rolls around....Santa will definitely be stopping at the mother's house and the Christmas tree will be loaded with gifts for the children...and why wouldn't it be....the mother has re-married to someone who makes a descent salary, the mother continues to work part-time, and they are receiving child support. Will Santa be stopping at the fathers? Of course he will...but there will not be as many presents and the surprise of Christmas morning may be a little disappointing. The children are not spoiled, but don't understand why Santa would bring more to their mothers and at least the same to their fathers. The problem is, it doesn't stop with holidays, this realistic concept holds true with birthdays as well. Think of how much this statement hurts when the father cannot disclose the truth. "Hey dad, mom bought us a Wii just the other day for our outstanding compliments at parent-teacher conferences". "How come you don't ever buy us anything like that". Guess what kids...your father did pay for at least half of that gaming system and they don't even know it!

The amount of child support can be reviewed every three years to see if there was an increase or decrease in the fathers or mothers salaries. The father, being a stand-up individual he is, keeps striving forward and takes courses to better his education and career. He advances in his career, due to his taking of college courses, and becomes an administrator/supervisor. This in turn increases his salary by $10,000. Then he receives a letter in the mail that states that three years have passed since the last review of his child support. His taxes show an increase in salary and yep, you guessed it, that increases his child support. What's even worse is the mother has decided to quit her part-time job and become a stay at home mother, which decreases her income and drives the child support up even further. Fair? If the mother was doing fine with the first determined child support, then why can't the father use his extra income, from the promotion in his career, to give to his children at his discretion. He is obviously not a "dead-beat" father. He is not hiding money from his ex-wife nor his children, so why can't he buy things for them. I know...I know it's not about gifts, but realistically that's how little kids think. Of course this all changes once they children get older. So does this nightmare ever end? Yes, when the children turn eighteen, and hopefully by then the children will appreciate everything their father did to try and keep them happy and unaffected by the divorce, but will they understand, will the father have "weathered the storm?" Time will only tell.

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Comments 6 comments

Collisa profile image

Collisa 5 years ago from California

Very good points. It's a mistake to assume the father is always at fault with financial issues. Although I didn't agree with divorce, I'm VERY thankful for my ex's support and involvement with our kids. He's done a great job, and our kids have reaped the benefits. Things could have been a lot harder.


tshort23 profile image

tshort23 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Collisa - I'm glad you have a success story - good for you and your children!


WillHoulihan 5 years ago

Thank you for this article.


Mcham Law profile image

Mcham Law 5 years ago from Round Rock, Texas

You make some good points here. I wish more fathers were involved to this level.


ujnmki987 4 years ago

Women should not decide who the child should live with.


Eileen 4 years ago

I just wanted to chime in because I pay the child support in my situation, I am a mom and its 50/50 custody. My ex is a disabled cop from a ruptured Achilles and hasn't worked in 2.5 years. I am frustrated because although the court gives the same examples you use about kids living "in the same" at each others homes, I bought the martial home( with the help of my family) and my ex lives with his mom and bought a vacation home 1.5 hours away?! My kids do not like living in their grandmothers home and refuse to get picked up or dropped off there. I bring that up because our divorce degree states we must live in the same town, however there is a clear difference in "homes" & living arrangements yet the court doesn't care about that. I also have to pay 1/2 of all extra curricular & uninsured medical/dental in addition to my child support. Yes my ex is very involved with my kids so they do benefit but he is also very angry about the divorce so he hides money he makes under the table from side jobs and continues to seek more from me by way of the courts. I can't afford to hire someone to prove he makes cash under the table and during our divorce he got away with it because it wasn't on his tax returns. Basically I wanted to say I understand where you are coming from but I am the mom who pays.....

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