What do people here think of parents who don't pay child support?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by ManlyBanisters, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. ManlyBanisters

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    I understand that the non-custodial parent often feels bitter towards the parent granted custody and feels like paying money to that person is adding insult to injury - but I don't understand how a parent could think that absolves her/him of her/his duty towards her/his child(ren).

    I see people often defend themselves saying that maintenance payments (child-support and alimony) granted are too high - but my limited knowledge of specific cases* tells me the amounts ruled are a reasonable and manageable percent of declared gross income. Also, there are ways and means of renegotiating support payments should the financial burden prove genuinely too great - so it's not like there is no legal route to alleviate an unreasonable burden.

    * 2 UK cases, 3 French cases, 2 Irish cases, 1 USA case only.

    So, what the consensus here? In a situation where the custodial parent is sticking to the letter of the law regarding access are these so called 'deadbeat' parents really deserving of that title? Can you really be a good parent if you are unwilling to take financial responsibility for your child?
     
  2. epi_sin

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    possible factors to consider…
    • was the decision to have children informed & consensual? or did one party 'accidentally' fall pregnant despite claiming to be on the pill?
    • is the non-custodial parent actually the biological parent?
    • what guarantees are there that the support payment will actually be used towards the benefit of the children? i.e. why are offers of "I will pay for the schooling" refused in favour of cold hard cash on a monthly basis
    • will the support payment be used to go against the wishes of the non-custodial parent e.g. in choice of school
    • maintenance payments based upon declared gross income are only (vaguely) fair on the assumption that the non-custodial parent will remain single & engender no further children until their current children have reached majority
    • in most situations it is easier & faster to be declared bankrupt than renegotiate a support settlement
    • courts are notoriously lax in enforcing access compared to missed child-support payments
     
  3. L_Lynn

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    My ex has not paid child support in a few years since he quit his job, one which paid significantly more than mine. His record the preceding years was rather spotty as well. All in all, he owes thousands in back support which, should he ever work over the table, will be garnished from his wages. And I understand he is going back to school and only working part-time and under the table, yadda, yadda, yadda.......

    ....but damn if it doesn't just chap my ass when he buys himself a new laptop or a canoe or a season pass to go snowboarding, etc. When he takes our daughter to a posh salon to have her hair cut and a mani/pedi, it just irks the heck out of me. When he got her an iPod for her 7th birthday, I had to grin through gritted teeth to say, "Uh, very nice, honey." I shouldn't feel that way about things he gets her, but when I can't get into a house that I could afford if he was paying child support those little things just get under my skin. I have struggled to maintain a home for her with a room of her own while he gets to slide by with a studio apt. I clothe her, buy her school supplies, her shoes, pay for her medical expenses, everything. I have paid for her dance lessons and swim lessons and gymnastics lessons, when I could afford them. He still sees our daughter every week. He still gets his weeks with her over the summer, holidays and breaks. I let him know of every school conference. I ask his opinion on relevant issues. I don't let the lack of child support affect his rights as a parent but sometimes I really, really want to.
     
  4. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    My little sister's dad walked out on us when she was 2, she's 22 now. He never paid a penny towards her upbringing and left our mum with a house about to be foreclosed on by the bank and a ton of debts (because it was recession and the house was in negative equity) which left my mum and us in serious penury for all of my teenage years and all of my little sisters childhood and teens, while he fucked off to Germany with some tart and conveniently forgot about his debts and his daughter.

    My little sister has nothing but contempt for her dad, with whom she's hardly had any contact in 20 years. He's a selfish, narcissistic piece of shit who could be knocked down by a bus tomorrow and nobody would give a fuck.

    If you have kids you pay for their upbringing, no arguments, no ifs no buts, you just get on with it and shut the fuck up. If you don't you can rightly be considered contemptible and pathetic.
     
    #4 D_Tim McGnaw, Sep 1, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  5. D_Shermie Shtoinkle

    D_Shermie Shtoinkle New Member

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    I don't think precaution is the job of one party. If a guy gets a woman pregnant than he should have the balls to be responsible if not for the woman than for the kid. Too sad that they are just happy to fuck around but not dealing with the consequences...
     
  6. nudeyorker

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    Well briefly my feelings are that a parent not paying child support is a borderline psychopath in feeling no responsibility for the health, and welfare of the child. Child support is something that is carefully calculated based on reported income. If the deadbeat's financial conditions have changed it is their responsibility to report this change and have the issue readdressed.
    It certainly gives the caregiving parent the upper hand in any future or potential litigation or custody issues.
    Lastly it certainly sends a horrible message to the child. There is really no sugarcoating this issue in the eyes of a child.
     
  7. Viking_UK

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    Personally, I think the absentee parent should be paying for child support, but there are some issues which can affect their ability to pay which aren't always taken into account. What really pisses me off when it comes to child support is these people who have half a dozen or more kids by different mothers/fathers and have no involvement in their lives other than getting them occasional presents.

    Another issue I have is with what happens when an estranged father meets someone else. I couldn't believe it when one of my friends told me she and her partner weren't going to get married because if they did, his ex-wife would have a claim on her salary as well as his to support kids which he hardly ever got to see because his ex either refused to let him see them or changed the plans at the last minute. Of course, if she decided she wanted to take a break, he was given usually 24 hours notice that he'd have them for two weeks while she went off with her new man - who she wouldn't marry because that cut off the requirement for my friend's man to pay for his ex.

    I think their has to be a shake-up of the system - at least in this country (UK) - to ensure that parents contribute what they can to their children's upbringing and have fair access to them unless there's some compelling reason for them not to be allowed to see the kids.
     
  8. SpeedoMike

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    there are all sorts of stories on this subject...

    my friend faithfully met all obligations to his ex for their daughter without fail. she, the bitch, would do things like tell the daughter her father didn't want her for a holiday and then cash in the ticket for cash - which she spend. fortunately, the daughter eventually learned what was going on, but the relationship with her father never reached that with her mom.
     
  9. ManlyBanisters

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    I was rather operating on the assumption that there was an established biological link and that both men and women have equal responsibility for contraception - including the responsibility to trust or not trust the other person's claim to chemically or surgically induced sterility.

    I must say both your points are rather anti-woman - you don't point out the old 'we don't need condoms, I've had a vasectomy' line and your 2nd point can only pertain to women lying about paternity as the biological relation to a woman is pretty hard to fake.

    I made a point of not making this a battle of the sexes - I'd be most grateful if other posters would respect that.

    When one parent has custody of a child or children his or her household financially contains that child. Child support is allocated based on the child(ren)'s needs and both parents' income. If the custodial parent receives his/her salary on the 1st of the month and uses it up to pay for food, electric, household taxes, school books and a new pair of kids' shoes and then receives the child support on the 5th of the month and uses that money to pay the car payment it does not mean the child support has not been spent on the child(ren). Child support is a part of the custodial parent's income. Waiting 4 days to pay the bills does not change that.

    Things like what school a child goes to, if contentious, need to be sorted out separately from other concerns.

    The non-custodial parent's liberty to reproduce further is not an issue. If a custodial parent wants to have another child with another partner she/he is under the exact same obligation to work out if she/he can afford to bring another child into the world. Likewise a non-custodial parent has a financial obligation to her/his existing child(ren) and must consider that before deciding whether she/he can afford to bring another child into the world. I don't see the difference.

    Are you advocating that a non-custodial parent should declare bankruptcy rather than seek to properly and adequately support her/his child(ren)?

    I specifically stated in my OP that I was asking about a situation where the custodial parent was not blocking access. Access and child support are two different things - many people seem to think you can withhold one to get the other. That is not true - breach of access agreement and non-payment of child support leave the offending party in contempt of court in the legal systems I have knowledge of.

    I think you are doing totally the right thing and I'm sorry he's cheating the system. That would piss me off too.

    So do you think non-paying non-custodial parent should be denied access? I know the law doesn't say that, but do you disagree with it?

    I agree - I think this idea being touted above that support payments shaft the non-custodial parent is a rather one sided thing and some people just don't understand what it means to be responsible for the well being of another human being.

    I don't think the child should be told that there are no payments being made though. I think the financial side of things should not be discussed with the child at all. A parent who dumps his/her own emotional issues about the other parent (be it about money, dislike for a new partner, whatever) on a child is an unfit parent.

    I've heard something similar to that before, elsewhere and find it very hard to believe. Very, very hard to believe.
     
  10. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    Er, well if the non-custodial parent simply has no money, none at all, and cannot contribute monetarily at all to the upbringing of their child then it might be that their best way of contributing would be through more direct parenting, making access a necessity, of course they would also have to be willing and able to offer this kind of contribution.

    However if a non-custodial parent has money and could help pay for their child's upbringing but refuses to do so, I view this as a rejection of the obligations of parenthood without which the rights of parenthood cannot in my view pertain. Essentially the non-custodial parent in this situation has renounced their parenthood by by reneging on the obligations that status cannot be separated from.

    If a non-custodial parent chooses to renounce their parenthood in this way then they must also expect that the access rights of a parent would be suspended, or that access would become at the discretion of the custodial parent entirely. IMO.
     
    #10 D_Tim McGnaw, Sep 1, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  11. ManlyBanisters

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    Yes - sorry - I should have specified I meant a non-custodial parent able to pay but nonetheless withholding payment.

    And I'm in basic agreement with you there, after all, the state takes children away from parents who refuse to provide for (i.e. neglect) children in their own homes. Is there that much of a difference?
     
  12. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    Exactly, there's no logical or moral difference at all in my view. :wink:
     
  13. IntoxicatingToxin

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    I was never really in a relationship with Eric, my sons father. We met, hung out as friends... we were both very attracted to each other, but I didn't want to get involved with him because he had a criminal background and was on parole at the time of our meeting. After hanging out for about a month, I got weak one night and we ended up having sex. All it takes is one time, right? Two weeks after that, before I even knew I was pregnant, Eric violated his parole and went back to prison. I was able to track him down upon finding out I was pregnant, and we maintained a weekly-letter relationship throughout the duration of his stay which was always very friendly and amicable. He seemed incredibly interested in every doctor appointment, helped me pick out a name, and always asked how I was doing.

    I told him from day one that if he wanted to be in my sons life (holidays, every other weekend, school events, sports, etc... very regular involvement) then I wouldn't ask him to pay child support. My father had to pay child support for three children when him and my mother divorced, and the payments were so high that he really had to make a -lot- of money in order to keep up with them. That meant, unfortunately, that he couldn't live wherever he wanted. He had to go where he could make money, and for about 15 years of my childhood, that meant living everywhere but in the same city as me. I hardly saw my father growing up, and looking back on it, I would have rather had the presence of my dad than the money that he was sending. So, I was giving Eric that option. Be here, and you won't have to give me money. Be a dad. He promised me he would. Upon being released from prison just over two years later, he disappeared. No word from him. I gave him fifteen months from the date of his release to contact me, and I never heard a word. So I said screw it, and filed for child support.

    It was decided that he would pay $364/month. I have received a total of ~$200 from him over the course of this child support order, spanning the last 6.5 years; and that was only because they docked his wages. He actually had the gall to send me a letter from yet another jail stint a few years ago, asking me to call DFS and stop the child support because him and his girlfriend were in debt and were having a hard time getting stuff paid off. I responded in kind with a four page letter listing every single thing I did/do for my son that he has never - and will never - have to do. (I'm the one who potty trained him. I clean up his puke. I buy his school supplies. I taught him how to read.) Etcetera. I then finished said letter with a big fat NO, I will NOT stop the child support payments. I haven't heard a word from him since. He has never met his child and has only spoken to him on the phone one time, when he was two. He's now nine.

    To quell epi_sin's argument, yes, Eric is the biological father of my son. They look identical and a DNA test was taken by the state of Missouri when Eric still resided in prison.

    Now having said this, I don't really hate Eric. I'm disappointed in him, yes. I wish he would do differently, yes... but I knew before we had sex that I didn't want to be involved him with, and this is why. He's super charismatic and cute and funny. I had an amazing time with him for that one month or so we hung out. But he's incredibly immature. Has very little common sense. I get that. I'm not excusing his responsibility, but stating that I understand why he is the way he is, and I don't hold it against him. He has a responsibility to his amazing little human being that he hasn't lived up to. It's sad, really. All he had to do was be there. I don't speak negatively about Eric in front of my son. The few times my son has asked about him, I've been completely honest about who Eric is, where he lives (about two hours away), the type of person he is, and why they haven't met. Skyler seems to understand and isn't upset about the situation either. He's just requested that he, someday, get to meet his dad. And I've told him that, someday, we just might do that.
     
  14. luka82

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    :hug: Megs!
     
  15. Viking_UK

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    Meg, I've always had a lot of respect for you, but you've gone up a few more notches in my estimation now.
     
  16. SilverTrain

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    If one takes "other considerations" out of play, and is just faced with a scenario in which an obligated parent is not paying child support, obviously the answer is that parent is not being a good parent.

    That said, we could sit here all day reciting all the different types of situations in which a legal (and even moral, ethical) obligation to pay child support may be coloured by circumstance.

    One of the situations that I find especially troubling involves two parents who had been successfully sharing custody on a 50-50 basis. Then, one of the parents brings a court action seeking to obtain primary custody of the child(ren). That parent prevails, and is awarded primary custody. The losing party not only is stripped of the lion's share of his or her custodial time with their child(ren) but is also saddled with an (often quite hefty) obligation to pay child support to the person who just used the court system to wrest away the most important thing in their life. If the losing party has an income that is significantly moderate such that paying the full support obligation is well nigh impossible, is it really fair to moralize about them being deadbeat parents?
     
  17. ManlyBanisters

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    Part of the court system is to set the payment at a level that is fair to both parties. If the system really does fuck the non-custodial parent to an extent where he/she can't live off the remaining income after payments then that person needs to go back to the courts and re-negotiate the payments.

    As for your scenario... How often does that happen? How many ex-partners, even those that get on well, can really make 50/50 custody work in a way that's fair to the kids? And of those how often does one suddenly renege on the deal for no good reason?
     
  18. witch

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    A 50-50 custody of the kids does work sometimes … that’s how my sister and her ex worked it out … both had a decent income and my sister moved into a condo a block away, she had my two nieces for three days and the ex had them three and the odd day I had them.

    There was no alimony, no child support, we adults chipped in to cover any costs for the girls and believe me they didn’t do without. This worked until the day their father passed from cancer at a young age. It was about the girls at all times.
     
  19. HiddenLacey

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    I think that whenever you have sex with someone, no matter what type of birth control is used, there is still a risk of pregnancy. If the situation results in pregnancy both partners should be equally responsible for the love and financial support of the child. IMO someone who does not take part in the financial support of the child really isn't a parent at all.

    Edit: I mean someone who has the money and refuses to help support the child, not someone who has lost their job or struggling but still contributing what they can and spending time with their child.
     
    #19 HiddenLacey, Sep 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2010
  20. SilverTrain

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    Support is generally calculated using gross income, which often offers a distorted view of reality, and in a primary custody case it's often only the supporter's income that's taken into account. As to courts doing what's fair, excuse me for a sec....
    [Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
    ....ahem, pardon me. [Courts deal with the law. Justice is a concept of which I am extremely fond. But, real world, the law and justice, not always hanging out together.]

    As to how often that scenario: I can only speak for the region of the USA in which I reside, but it's a lot more often than one might think. Let's put it this way, a single attorney who handles domestic cases will come across that scenario many times in a year.

    But I'll primal scream "DEADBEAT!" if it will make everyone feel better.
     
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