4 Problems With The Modern Child-Support System

child-support systemRuth Graham recently wrote a feature for the Boston Globe shining a light on the many flaws with the modern child-support system.

Graham’s piece traces the history of the modern system and exposes how it is based on stereotypes and outdated notions. Several sociologists and scholars are quoted in the story suggesting possible solutions to update the system to better support children while also incorporating fathers into their lives.

The child-support system covers about a quarter of American children, and can provide a crucial safety net for some families. But it is obvious the current laws need significant restructuring.

Here are four of the most critical flaws of the current child-support system.

The system is outdated.

The child-support system was originally a bipartisan policy reform designed to serve divorced parents who were steadily employed. But the system was established nearly 40 years ago, and is based on outdated stereotypes that viewed Mom as a housewife and Dad as the sole breadwinner.

As Johns Hopkins University sociologist Kathryn Edin explained to Graham, the traditional roles of mothers and fathers have changed dramatically since the 1970s, but the laws are still stuck in the past.

“We have a 1970s narrative about a 2010s reality,” Edin said.

The system makes it particularly tough on low-income fathers.

As Graham points out, 29 percent of families in the system live below the federal poverty line. Many fathers sincerely want to do right by their children, but simply don’t have the means to do so. That becomes a very slippery slope for a lot of dads.

When unpaid child-support payments accumulate, this often snowballs into another issue: parental alienation. Research has shown that men with outstanding child-support debts tend to be less involved in their children’s lives. Some even find themselves incarcerated over unpaid payments.

And since many states treat incarceration as voluntary unemployment, child-support debts continue accumulating while men are in prison. It’s easy to see why this is such a difficult cycle to break.

The “deadbeat dad” myth.

Another stereotype feeding many of the problems with the current child-support laws is that of the deadbeat dad.

In 1986, CBS produced a report titled “The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America,” which featured a New Jersey father of six who bragged on camera about not supporting his children financially. The report sparked outrage across the country and even led to stricter child-support laws.

Not long after the piece ran, Congress passed a law forcing states to adopt stricter enforcement practices when collecting past child-support debts. That trend continued well into the ’90s when President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform act gave government even greater power to enforcement child-support collection against noncustodial parents.

While fathers skipping out on their child-support responsibilities certainly shouldn’t be ignored, current research suggests the “deadbeat dad” is probably more of an outlier than the status quo.

 In 2013, Edin coauthored “Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City.” Edin and coauthor Timothy Nelson conducted in-depth interviews with 110 low-income fathers in the Philadelphia area over seven years and discovered the majority of the men were exhilarated to be fathers, even when the pregnancies were unplanned. Even when faced with difficult financial situations, many fathers tried to find other ways to provide emotional support for their children.

Edin’s study goes hand-in-hand with other recent research that suggests economic support, although necessary, is hardly enough to qualify one as a good parent.

The current system fixates on enforcement and ignores involvement.

The core of the problem with modern child-support laws is that there is too much emphasis on enforcement and not enough focus on getting fathers involved in their children’s lives.

The Federal Parent Locator Service uses a national database to track down noncustodial parents to enforce payments. In 2013, $32 billion of child support was collected and that number has been steadily rising over the years.

While the government is very efficient with its enforcement of child-support laws, it might be more beneficial to address its child custody statutes.

The National Parents Organization recently released its Shared Parenting Report Card, which graded every state on its child custody statutes and how well they promote shared parenting following divorce or separation. Nearly across the board, states scored with a cumulative 1.63 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale).

There is no shortage of evidence showing that shared parenting helps offset the negative effects of divorce. While it is important for them to receive adequate financial support, it is arguably even more essential to have quality time with both Mom and Dad.

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70 comments on “4 Problems With The Modern Child-Support System

    I highly disagree with 50/50 custody. It’s awful for the kids especially in contentious situations. Recent studies show impairment in brain development when children are thrust into these environments (and no, I do not believe that the system is outdated. It’s just the opposite. It’s going over the top to accommodate non- custodial parents for no other reason than they are biologically linked to a child. Not because they want to parent or are even able to provide what the child needs.

    If dads are the primary parent- i.e. Taking care of the child, scheduling and taking off work to take them to doctors/dentists appointments, paying for the bills associated with these appointments, paying for school supplies, providing clothes and winter coats/shoes/haircuts, paying for extracurricular activities and taking them to practices and games, doing homework with the child, playing with them, engaging them and not dumping them at grandmas every second they get, etc etc, then yes, they are most likely the primary parent and children should reside with them solely.

    But if the primary parent is mom. The children should solely be with mom for consistency and stability. It’s what is best. Children need to bond to one parent when they are growing up. This is biological.

    You can have a wonderful, healthy relationship with someone with whom you don’t reside. Children don’t have to live with you!!! It’s not about you and getting what you want. It’s about creating a healthy life and situation for the children. This isn’t a parental rights situation. This is about the children and what is best for them, but somehow the legal system hasn’t quite grasped this. Children are merely a piece of furniture to be split and distributed.

    I’ve experienced the outrageous rulings of 50/50 custody when a man’s psychological testing showed he was a liar, mentally unstable, and knew nothing about his own child or raising a child. He was threatening, abusive, pulled guns on me. In the end, I got decision making through mediation (I couldn’t afford court).

    That’s it.

    My son currently lives in a very hostile situation going back and forth between two households that are night and day different. Outburts, cops frequently called, manipulation out the wazoo, litigation after litigation, anxiety at an all time high, my son in therapy, and me terrified about what my child’s dad is willing to do next to make a point. He completely has controlled our lives and finances for the last four years.

    Way to go legal system. I’m really glad you made it a priority for dad to get his 50% custody.
    (I’m sure you can sense the dripping sarcasm.)

    Well after reading through these posts I see I’m not the only one!!!! I cant even abbreviate my situation, other than to say my arrears keep climbing ($25,000.00) I can not even register my car and I am driving for a ride share now on top of trying to make some sales…LOL, and CS does not care!

    My wife walked out on me and our children they live with me we were married for 18 years she wanted something different i am disabled i asked her to pay to help me with them she did for a couple of months and stop i just had to take child support out i was told even if they live with me i may have to pay her child support that is not right i was told most fathers dont get child support but that is not right either moms can be dead beat moms to be no one says that.

    I live in California, is there no one to help men who are being extorted by a broken and bias court system? I am facing the loss of my contractors license, drivers license, garnishing of my bank account and jail time because I cannot afford to pay the unfairly and grossly inaccurately calculated child support obligation. I pay what I can when I can but I won’t be able to work at all if this happens and my girlfriend can’t afford to support us both and shouldn’t have to if the courts would follow the law and calculate the arrears and payments based on my actual adjusted gross income. Can anyone help, or are we just victims of a system that cares only about generating revenue by victimizing innocent people.

    The problem is no one wants to advocate for the fathers. The political powers do not want to touch this subject.. Is career ended taboo

    This is outrageously untrue.

    Mother’s are grossly exploited nowadays while dads sit back and receive the money, 50% custody, and respect for “fighting for their kids” when in reality most just dump them at grandmas and make mom pay for everything and do all care-taking…. while also stripping her of her God-given talent and love for caring for those precious kiddos.

    You want your kids? Then be involved in their care-taking/homework/life and work you ass off to make a good relationship with your ex wife who is probably fed up with your entitled opinions about owning the kids when she does all the work of raising them.

    Kids are not furniture. You don’t own them. You are not entitled to them.

    You want to be a real parent? That’s a different story. Go do well and quit complaining about unequal laws.

    I’ve been divorced for over 5 years now, I have 4 kids that I love dearly. In PA of Armstrong county. They have been making me pay child support. Which is fine but, they don’t require the woman or custodial parent to work nor if she does work don’t make her show her pay stubs. They pretty much don’t care. I feel that they need to fix this. Domestic relations should investigate her by searching her ss# and see for themselves.

    I had a daughter with my now ex wife while in the service, she decided to divorce me on my first deployment without discussing it with me before I left. When I came back, she had full custody and stolen a substantial amount of money from my account. Luckily I was medically discharged before the courts could decide how much child support I would have to pay as an E-4, so now unemployed they charged me to pay what someone making minimum wage would pay. I just came back from war when all of this was going on not to mention I found out she cheated twice, once before our daughter was conceived and once 2 months after she was born. Whenever OAG messes up my payments and I call them, I’m treated like a deadbeat father. I’m currently saving money to take her to court and get shared custody, because I’m afraid of trying to get full custody which is just down right impossible, which in Texas it damn near is. I do feel it’s important that my daughter spends an equal amount of time with both parents, but now I’ve come to discover that she maybe hitting her boyfriend in the face just as she did with me when she got mad. Bipolar disorder runs in her family unfortunately, I wish I was making this up but it’s the harsh reality we live in.

    I’ve had custody of my 7 year old son for 4 years now.. I paid all my child support out of my check directly. Problem is I haven’t gotten a single child support payment. My sons mother had a job, and was court ordered to pay, but it never happened and when I went back to court about the issue, the court said she wouldn’t need to pay child support since she was pregnant and currently not working.. Talk about gender bias. I’m in Illinois btw..

    Jamie I can relate. I too live in Illinois, and I’ve had custody of my son and daughter since 2004. My ex wife was ordered to pay $55/wk, but is now $60G behind because she’s never been enforced to pay. She was put in jail for two weeks once, not for the child support itself, but for lying to the judge. Other than that, our kids have been shafted by the custodial father/noncustodial mother bias that does exist in this state. My brother is an even better example. He was nearly jailed over being $2,000 behind on his oldest daughter, yet however he has custody of his second daughter and her mother, though working full time making $12/hr, was allowed to not only become delinquent without issue but then also reduce her payments to $10/mo. What noncustodial father would have been given this treatment? I don’t get it.
    I quit even trying to collect in 2009. It was wasted time and energy. Maybe one day deadbeat moms will receive equal treatment, but it won’t be anytime soon.

    The current child support system completely encourages monetary monopoly incentives with no equal parenting initiatives and most monetary monopolies are controlled thru corrupt gender biased woman who try to corrupt the process more and more in favor of their financial gains while enterprising the children. To keep that monopoly money coming in the mother must deprive the NC parent access to maximize payments. What the PC parent has to realize is when the parent-child relationship is destroyed to maintain the monopoly that is an actual legal way out of the monopoly. Ex. CT allows parents to TPR for no ongoing relationships
    Why keep a parent paying when no relationship exist .

    Move to TN. Men have complete control. You can own your children just like you want.

    Meanwhile, women are demoted to 50% custody parents…losing the babies they’ve carried, nursed, took work off to care for, loved and nurtured and know like the back of their hands.
    Children are ripped from their primary parents in TN, bc, well, dad’s “deserve” their 50%!! (Insert male grunt here).

    Kids are not furniture. You don’t own them. You are not entitled to them.

    You can have an incredible relationship with someone who does not reside with you by the way. Perhaps you should explore real parenting and relationship building instead of complaining about unfair laws that don’t exist.

    It’s all about men’s rights right now (notice, not child’s rights) and somehow I’ve still managed to create an incredible relationship with my son. Of course, I’m actually an involved parent who does everything for him. Go figure.

    My fiance currently pays 800 a month for 4 kids, order was placed about 2 years this August, divorced took about 4 years, now 2 of the kids are grown, both graduating from high school in May(she’s spending about 3000 for the after party, she posted it over facebook about how their father should helped), the other 2 are 15 and 16. He had custody because mom’s now husband is a pedophile, and so the children were placed w/ him and but the husband of mom took a test in Nebraska due to her pleas w the courts the kids need her etc and he passed to be safe around kids(who knew there was such a test, but he lives w them and is a lifetime register offender), so mom taught the kids what lies say to get removed from dad and have them beg to be placed w her family and it worked. So now my fiance hasn’t seen them in about 2 years, doesn’t want the next lie to place him in jail and she makes about 50,000 a year while her husband makes 40,000, and my fiance makes about 30,000 a year. He can’t afford a lawyer, and I am on disability for MS, so my kids and us strive to make it on the basic’s, while she is on the ball if we are 2 days late on a payment, and we end up losing food stamps or they threaten to take his license. We are waiting to get married til his last child is a adult so she can’t count my income or my land as I am Native American. The system here in Nebraska needs redone for certain situations. Just sad, he raised his kids til they were teenagers, was married to her for 14 years, until she cheated, and now he doesn’t get to be there for them as mom used them as a weapon and still tells them he doesn’t pay, so they send him not so nice emails. Hopefully for future dads and kids the system can be changed.

    This story is a common one . Before I say my opinion let me first say that able body men should pay their child support .
    The problem is not every case is the same. Let’s say for example , the dad is the majority financial provider at the time of separation . In most states they base the child support on the income of the father . However if the father’s income gets reduced , there is nothing in place to take that into consideration . What if dad is sick or injured and can no longer work for say 2 years . Even if the mother asked for the support to be modified by asking the judge, it usually is not granted. And so the father is screwed . So dad now owes 2 years in back support and in a lot of cases the mother is making 2 to 3 times what the father did before he was injured . Now he is labeled a ” deadbeat dad “. He eventually gets a job and after working there for months he and his company receives garnishment notice . Not only does this taking 33% of his net income , his company looks at him like he is a looser. The father cannot get back on his feet when 33% of his income is automatically taken . The average father won’t bring home enough money to get a decent place to live where his children can come and stay the night occasionally. But the judge won’t do anything either because the laws are so concrete or the judge is a jerk.
    This senareo is more common than not.
    Are there deadbeat dad’s out there ? Absolutely . But there are also fathers who go through senareos similar to what I discribed above.
    We need to have a more flexible child support system in place .
    It’s interesting that when a father’s income increases , the judges don’t have a problem with increasing their support amount . But not when it has varifilable proof that the father’s income has gone down .

    It is impossible for the father to have a decent life and have fun times with the kids and give them the things he would like to when he has to give 50% of his income to the mother. It’s sad it comes down to money instead of pure love, but unfortunately in this society If you do not have enough money so many things fall apart. I now make half of what i did when my ex started her plan, I cant provide for myself anymore, much less let my kids to experience a great time when I have them, other than juat the love i can give them,but sometimes that just isn’t enough for them at rhia point as little kids, they don’t know all about the deep down love I have but they do know we don’t get to do a whole lot or have a whole lot when they are with me, and as little kids that is important to them. It’s a sad situation that there is no way they can grasp as 8 and 5 year olds, they aren’t adults able to understand it all yet.

    There are so many issues with this system. Why would the mother stick around? Why would she put the necessary effort into a relationship, when she could just as easy move on, collect child support, and start a new life with someone…who has income of his own. The system provides a pathway to a broken home, It facilitates divorce, and leaves the father with little to start over with.

    I had 2 children with a woman that was 18 years older than me. She was 34, and I was 16. All it took, was one argument, and I’ve had CSS on my back ever since. Obviously, she had the upper hand…due to my ignorance and nativity…and there’s no way it would happen without a fight, if I had it to do again. She filed a case against me, when I was 17, claiming that I hadn’t paid her, when all the while…we were living together and sharing bills. We ended up reconciling, and I wasn’t experienced enough to make sure the case was closed. Anyway, when we finally did break up, I had received a notice, claiming that I owe 16,000 in back pay. From that moment on, I accrued interest on that 16,000…with an astronomical percentage, and have also paid OVER 50% of my check…since I’ve been 18.

    I’ve had CSS employees tell me that it’s a horrible situation, and they feel bad…but give me little advice. I’ve hired a lawyer, who couldn’t change anything, and I’m now over 100,000 in debt. Being that I’ve paid half of my check for 19 years, and still can’t meet the minimum payment…all of my debt is all accrued interest.

    If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have been locked up for molestation, and had my kids taken away. Instead, CSS has helped her collect half of my check for my entire adulthood. I have a great relationship with my kids, and I’m proud to say that they are now in college, and doing great. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I’ll continue to pay on this debt, but it’s not right. They’ve received my money, and have had their parents in their lives, from day one. This debt of mine…is all interest on a balance that should’ve never existed in the first place.

    She can move on with her income, mg income and the new mans income, they like that idea. It seems to work out so well for them?????

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    I lived with my kids and their mother for the better half of 14 years had a 65k year job and a lovely home.Only to find out she’s kicking me out and moving her 2 time felon lover.Went to custody court several times and was told that since I was a hard core druggie and alcoholic that my rights were fully revoked.100% fiction.She lied and I was ordered to pay 1500 per month.throughout the time she had the kids he and her lived solely on my income.I went balistic when I found out all the empty 12 pack containers of beer were bought with my support money.I called cs numerous times and was told that I was to have no contact with her or the children whatsoever.I lost my job and was forced to take a minimum wage job and they were still charging me 1500 a month and they would not adjust the payment sending my past due skyrocketing.it quickly went from 13k to 75k in short order.I had to move in with my mother so as to not be homeless.Come to find out my kids were both living with his mother because of all the fighting they did.I contacted cs and let them know and was told that I was not paying enough and that’s as far as I got with them.Both of my kids were removed from her to go live with their aunt and I still had to pay their mother.I’m now in debt over 100k and my daughter is 24 been in jail 10 times and is currently looking at 5 years in state prison.And my son had to be raised by his aunt and is 21 in college.I’m still paying her 850 per month.

    My boyfriend of 5 years has a child that was a result of a one night stand. I came into his life when the child was just 3 months old and it wasn’t long before I realized how biased the system really is. My bf is an amazing dad and from day one tried his best to be an active parent. The mother of the child filed for child support with false information and with no time sharing agreement in place, my bf got screwed. The dept of revenue basically took her “affidavit” and never asked for proof of anything. He has always had the child 15 days per month and she filed as though he didn’t have any overnight stays and with false income information. His child support payment was more than 1/4 of his monthly income and he had the child 50% of the time. It took 4 years of back and forth through the courts trying to get the time-sharing custody plan in place so the child support could be reduced but she kept stalling and wouldn’t provide her tax returns because she knew it would be all over for her. Finally 4 1/2 years later and the 50% joint custody is in place and child support was reduced. However, they would not retro the payments and elimate the arrears so he still owes almost 20k in arrears which, is ridiculous. The mother always used the child as a weapon prior to the legal matters being settled and now she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. For me, that’s with the 20k but at the end of the day, what that system puts well intended fathers through is brutal and I sometimes wonder if the “system” is part of the reason some people just lose it and do crazy things. This process actually made me consider going back to school to practice family law just so I can advocate for father’s rights.

    I’m still a low income father with huge back payments. I have the kids now and have had them for three years … guess who the dead beat is now, and she can afford to pay

    I want to use a shared checking account like this one (http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) that both my ex-wife and I contribute to in order to provide for my children’s needs in order to share the responsibility for providing for our children’s needs, but my family court judge won’t let me.

    Her Honor (sarcasm intended ) has stated that “your wife [NOT my children] deserves that money” and that she is not going to allow me to become a ‘deadbeat’ dad.

    I did some research, and found that my state measures child support compliance by the gross amount of child support collected, because it increases the federal reimbursements that the state receives under the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act (http://fathersunite.org/Child%20Support%20Incentive%20Abuse%20Report.pdf).

    As a defunct website named AnswerIsland explained it, both ordering sole custody with the lower earning parent and restricting the non-custodial parents access to their children increases the amount of child support collected, which increases the incentive payments (kickbacks) that the state receives for collecting ‘child support’.

    I continue to email my legislators asking them to make child support a shared responsibility instead of requiring the non-custodial parent to provide a government mandated lifestyle for the children (and by inference, the custodial parent) but the legislators are terrified of being seen as ‘soft’ on ‘deadbeat’ parents.

    Many states also charge illegal amounts of interest on child support arrears, which buries non-custodial parents in debt. 42 US Code 654(21)(a) caps the amount of interest that a state can charge at 6-percent per year, but many states ignore this statute. The worst offender is Indiana, which charges 1-1/2 percent interest per month.

    There isn’t time or space to get started on the unintended consequences of the Bradley Amendment (42 US Code 666 – somehow appropriate) but it desperately needs to be rewritten or repealed.

    The government helped to create child support when they initiated the welfare system (TANF). Was known previously as AFDC. Single parents were given financial assistance from the government. That is when CSE started. Find the father (usually) so he can help to financially aid the family. Child support is based on the income of both parties and subject to the guidelines of each state.

    Holy crap, the excuses here for being a deadbeat.

    1. No, the system is not “outdated” — you’re thinking of alimony. Modern child support rules expect both parents to be working, and support rules are meant to maintain the standard of living the children had before the divorce, also to equalize living standards across households if the NCP makes a ton of money and the CP doesn’t.

    2. I know it sounds totally crazy to guys who don’t actually do the work of raising children themselves, but hand it off to their moms, gfs, and exes: if you’ve got care of a child, you’re going to make less money. The childrearing — crazy, I know! — takes time and energy, and employers pay higher salaries to employees who’re available for work anytime, can travel, etc.

    3. Low-income fathers are expected to better themselves, find better work, go to school, do what they have to do for their kids. In the meantime, their support payments are a fraction of what it costs to raise their children. Guess who makes it up? The mom or the taxpayers, so stop complaining and say thank you to the other people who pay to raise your children.

    4. Deadbeat dads a myth? Ohohohoho. Tell it to my lawyer.

    5. Involvement and support are dealt with completely separately. In no state is a parent allowed to withhold visitation because of support owed. Stop blaming the mom for your own failure to show up. If she is in fact withholding visitation, take her to court. The judge won’t be amused — but if you’re actually dangerous to the kids, like a lot of whinging dads are, then no, the judge isn’t going to help you get access to them. Meanwhile, Mr. “I pay all this money for a kid I can’t see” — guess what, you’re not buying access. The money is for your daughter’s welfare, not to give you something.

    Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and blaming other people for your own mistakes, and go do right by your children and the women raising them.

    51% deadbeat MOM, by current Wa. state DSHS numbers… and the states are enticed with a 2-1 (every dollar they collect the feds cough up 2). also I am holding my revision of CS schedule (I Have custody) and am STILL responsible for 69% of CS (thanks in part to the 10% badbad father must pay baddad rule drafted under title IV-D of Social security act). How is this at all even remotely “in the best interest of the child?”
    support the brandon jones act in wa state

    Tina,
    You are only looking at it from your point of view .
    I changed more dippers and fed my child way more than my ex ever thought of.
    Don’t lump every man into your situation . The child support laws are extremely out dated .

    You sound like a mom that may has a deadbeat dad, envolved. BUT they are all NOT deadbeats. Keep fathers from fathers ans additional siblings is EVEN more wrong than not paying. Money does not and should not ever come before time spent. In the long term that is 100% more essential the the child’s long term development. Childrrn that grow up with constant dipport but no contact, develop issues in most situations. Whete is the one that hey no suppory bit see the other drvelopment better.

    In MO as a father you have no rights. You pay half your income to support of your child. To go to court to fight custody is another half. If you have another child then that child does not factor into the support. Example my husband pays support for a child which is half of his income. Can not see his child because a court order was not put in place when his son was first born. He started paying support to hey prior to an order. She would not let him see his son, but he did not want to sacrifice the support because he knew she was could not afford to raise him with out it. Catch 22.

    Now he making more and can fight it but that will take money out of the mouth of his other son. Who still has never gotten to meet his brother. Worth a sacrifics in the long run but the counter support for him, can come from me. However is that right?

    Beging close minded and one sided is what is wrong with the system. I grew up in this kind of situation and got to watch it from 3 different points of view of a child. Money does matter to the kids, time does. Any parent making that choice of money over the other does not have the childs best interest at heart and should not be the one pulling the strings.

    I have even seen thia to be true with foster kids. Time matters not Money.

    Not true for MO. If you pay CS you are guatanteed visitation. Denying visitation is a contempt of court/warrent issued punishable offense. I know because my ex-husband tried to run me up on one.

    1. Both parents are not required to be working. My husband’s ex worked maybe a total of 2 years in all the years he had to pay child support.

    2. In the 12 years my husband and I have been together, he never once tried to hand off the child rearing to me. When the children were with us, he was 100% involved, and when they went home to their mother, he still continued to try to be involved in the raising of the children. However, any conversation with his ex would turn into “I have custody, I will raise them how I want.”.

    3. How can a person afford to improve himself when he can hardly afford to support himself? When I first met my husband, he was living with his friend, in a studio apartment, with no money to spare. Go to school? Financial aid claimed he made to much money, because the fact that half his paycheck was being sent directly to his ex meant nothing to them. It was still considered part of his income. Same with trying to get better housing, so he wouldn’t have to go to his sister’s house every time he had his children. They had to include the child support he paid as part of his income. This still blows my mind, because that money essentially was being counted twice. His ex was on housing, having to list how much child support she was receiving. So since she was claiming that as income, he should have been able to claim it as an expense.

    4. Yes, there are some deadbeat dads out there. The father’s who never pay, never visit, who want nothing to do with their children. However, many dads want to be involved, but when the court says you can only have them every other weekend, it’s hard to form a relationship. There were many times when my husband went to pick up his kids, and either one or both of them wouldn’t even be home, his ex having let them go elsewhere, even though it was his turn to have them.

    5. Your right, support and involvement are dealt with separately. While if my husband missed one payment, the courts would be all over him, calling him a deadbeat. However, when his ex allowed first his daughter, then his son to drop out of school, drive without having a license, and let their current boyfriend/girlfriend move in with them, the courts did nothing. “She is their mother, so they belong with her.”. Plus, by his time, the kids didn’t want to leave a household where they could do just about whatever they want, and come live in a household where there would be rules and consequences.

    Every situation is different. However, while my husband didn’t like it, he also knew that it was his choice to have children with this woman, and until they turned 18, he would have to just deal with how she did things. He tried to be as involved as he was allowed. The lack of relationship with his children has nothing to do with him not trying, but everything with her not letting him be the father he wanted to be. And he is an amazing father. I’m blessed that he is the father of my children.

    Tina,

    I can tell you know nothing. Only your own hatred for the person that burned you. Not all of us men are the same. Sorry you’ve been done so wrong that your mind has been clouded. Open your mind and see the truth. Do some research. Educate yourself and stop assuming that every man is like your kids dad.

    I work for the CS system in CA. And I understand the struggle. Not having enough to make ends meet. I see it everyday. Although it is interesting to see these testimonials. For this state I can say that they attempt to work with both parents. Orders can always be modified and they are based on ACTUAL gross income. Our automated calculations take into account taxes(if you’re not working cash), and visitation time. Fathers always have the opportunity to file for custody and visitation and plead their case to the courts. However if you go walking in there with attitude and saying you need more visitation to reduce CS, you’re digging yourself a grave. Should you become unemployed they can order a work search and you would just need to report the jobs you’re applying for and they don’t charge current, as long as you follow the rules of the court. Because after all saying “oh I can pay $200” isn’t a reasonable request. A child does not survive on $200 a month. So many stories of past due child support have to do with parents ignoring our letters, phone calls, subpoenas to court. The process will continue whether you want to participate or not. And yes child support collected does for back in part to repay the state for welfare. But the simple fact she had to go ask for help is heart wrenching enough, what they receive in welfare is the bare minimum to live on, it doesn’t provide a luxurious life as most of you say. And every other weekend in visition is truly a joke, it’s about 14% of the time during the week, the mother still needs to support the children the other 86% of the time. And guess what let’s say she gets $300 in welfare, and your order is $200 or $100, you don’t have to pay $300-the state eats the debt and tax payers support the rest of your child’s needs. If you ask for reasonable help the state will try to help, but asking for $0 if you’re able to work and help is ridiculous. FYI I am a man of anyone was assuming I am a heartless woman.

    I don’t even have kids or have to pay child support and I can see that the laws are so unfair and sexiest it’s not even funny women that use the kids as pay checks are the lowest form of beings but the government awards them for doing so this generation is the hand out generation it is now normal for girls to pop out a couple of baby’s get free housing, schooling, insurance, food and phones plus get a hefty child support payment. While I’m over here working 60 hours a week to get what they get for sating at home all day the government is inableing useless people

    The system is all jacked up we can all agree, but some action needs to be taken! Have any of you contacted an elected official or one that running for office? The only way things are going to change is if “we” collectively and individually “make” “create” that change! Posting on here is great as it shows the fathers that there are others going thru similar circumstances. Let’s do more to fight this injustice. Email me

    Well both parents should be paying for the kids and it doesn’t matter if the woman makes good money or not. It’s not welfare and it’s not based on need. It’s because 2 people had sex and as a result they had a child. Both of those parents…BOTH are responsible to financially raise those children. Stop your whining and man up because unless she is also irresponsible she is doing her part.

    I found out that my state (Indiana) measures child support compliance by the gross amount of child support collected.

    I continue to lobby my legislators to have them use a self-support sustenance reserve to allow them to tell the difference between ‘deadbroke’ and ‘deadbeat’ parents, and to then use that self-support reserve to measure child support compliance by the percentage of parents with the means to pay child support that are sharing the responsibility for providing for their children’s needs.

    Until the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act ‘incentive payments’ (which are actually kickbacks) for collecting child support are changed to stop rewarding states for increasing the gross amount of child support collected, I don’t see this happening.

    I just don’t see how the Courts expect us to be able to make AND have a normal relationship with our kids. I have rent and a car payment, phone, cable, auto ins. I have my two kids on my health ins & dental. I pay $1200 a month CS. I have to save for a month to be able to take them to a movie. I don’t do drugs, drink, or smoke, but hell if I have a pot to piss in.

    The system is so stacked against father’s trying to do the right thing. My X uses me as a cash machine. I get my kids 45/55 and she doesn’t use the majority of my money for my kids. Between my wife and I and there grandparents, we buy all there clothes,its also the only time when there not eating frozen fish sticks etc etc.
    My son graduated 2 weeks ago ,lives with her,works 2 jobs and is 18. The child support agency in Virginia says I have to continue to pay her the same amount because we have a unitary order instead of an per order, we were never married and all the stuff I have read says in VA 18 or graduates. I am planning to meet with a lawyer in a week or so. ….
    This is so frustrating because I pay my child support, she gets insurance credit, we buy most of there clothes etc etc and now I have to spend more money I don’t have trying to get them to do the right thing.

    Any advice would be appreciated. …..child support agenciesare the worst on fathers and treat us like second class parents in Virginia. Thanks

    Being in the state of NY I have been through hell and back and back to hell when it comes to family court. My ex is a college graduate from a top college to be a registered nurse. She is fully capable of make $85+k per year in our state doing the proffesion she went to college for. Instead at 33 years old with an 8 year old child, she chooses to live at home and work a job in a doctors office full time making $30k per year lol!! I’m a high school graduate and make $70k year. Just cause I make more I have to pay 70% of summer camp, after school care, and now she wants tutoring cause our child supposedly has adhd. I have another child with my wife I also need to support. The child that doesn’t live with me costs me almost $1300 per month. The one that does live with me costs me $900 a month. Looking at the numbers I’m paying every part of raising my daughter who 8 that lives with her mother and giving her mother a nice tax free tip each month! I pay most of the summer camp and after school care cause she needs to work for a living. Well I need to work for a living as well to support my son and my daughter. Shouldn’t they let me deduct my child care expenses from my year to date income to lower my child support? Sounds fair to me but in the one sided battle it ain’t gonna happen! How about if I choose to quite my job and be a stay at home dad for my son that lives with me? Can I pay the min $25 a week in child support and now only pay 20% of the extras? Not a chance as they will say I’m fully capable of making the money I once did! Well if that’s the case why can’t she be held to this same standard? She is a college graduate who is fully capable of making even more than me! She chooses to live with her parents and work a bs job collecting my money each week instead. Why can’t we just go 50/50 on all the extra to make it fair? So many flaws when it comes to child support and the extras but for some reason they make absolutely no changes!

    I haven’t seen my daughter in over 3 years due to the fact my ex found out I was getting married and was having a child with my wife. She stopped letting me get my daughter giving me every excuse in the book. Yes I’ve got police reports and went to court spending thousands of dollars for a judge to tell her to stop. Why not throw her in jail!? Why not suspend child support as punishment!? Why not make her lose custody!? At the rate I’m going I’m just making it financially due to this unfairness. I have no problem paying but it seems I’m stuck paying for all of it and her getting a free ride. This isn’t just my child it’s hers as well and I pay all this money for a kid I no longer see! I can’t afford a lawyer to keep going back and forth to court so I have essentially given up. I know one day when my daughter gets older her curiosity will get the best of her and she will find me and ask why. Trust me I’ll be waiting and I will tell her the story and show her the court papers of all the fighting I did to get my visitation and all the false reports her mom made so I couldn’t her like threatening to kill her, my home being unsafe, and mess a of other things. Even though I won in court I lost in the end but what keeps me going is knowing this can’t last forever. Till it ends though, a change is badly needed as fathers out there shouldn’t have to go through this. Hopefully in time it does :(.

    I am going through s very similar situation as many of you and it makes me sick. Family court and the “laws” r a joke and unfair. They NEED TO BE CHANGED or at least have these concerns be brought to light.. So what can we do??? I am willing to do whatever ever I can just dont know where to start.. Me email is zackson721@yahoo.com.. God bless and keep fighting for your kids

    Sometimes, I am confued whether we (India) copied laws from India or US copied our laws. Parenting laws are similar in both the countries. The only difference is that after years long fight all that a man gets is 1 hour of visiting rights/month that too in the court that too if he is too lucky. Usually the wife will file multiple cases including domestic violence (99% false), cruelty on wife (most notorious section 498a, 98% fake) that will keep husband busy for 2 yrs to get bail of his relatives and parents including minors like nephews which are been named by the wife in complaint without any proof. Since presumption of guilt is there, it take 5-10 yrs just to prove that the case is fake. By that time maintenance to wife and kid has started and he is drained off all his money.

    India even recognizes adultery by unmarried man who sleeps with a married woman. (IPC 497). Interestingly, the wife in this case can’t be booked because adultery law doesn’t recognize adultery by a married woman in India. Which means, even if the husband knows that the kid is not from him, he is bound to pay maintenance.

    Laws for maintenance and alimony doesn’t acknoweldge the financial status of wife, her education, her earnings. If India passes new law (already tabled in parliamen) then a wife can even claim property of in-laws including parental and ancestrel property of husband which is today limited to pre and post marriage property of husband only. Don’t know where we are going.

    Yes the system is broken, anyone who’s been through family court knows this is true. But what most don’t know is this…state CSEA’s are provided a financial incentive and reimbursement from the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT for the money they process (anyone else pay a processing fee?). Don’t believe me, read the Social Security Administraion Act, TITLE IV, Section D.

    So look at the facts: In most cases the mother gets custody and typically makes less than the father; thereby the courts order the father to pay support. The states get a % of the dollars processed (for talking purposes let’s say 10%).

    If the support order is for $1000/month that equals $100 for the state.
    If the mother makes less $500/moth and is ordered to pay, that equals $50 for the state.
    If the mother has no income, the state gets nothing (10% of 0 = $0).

    So mother gets custody…dad pays…and the states gets a kickback from the feds.

    EVERYONE WINS.

    Oh, and if dad fails to pay, there is the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Whose purpose is to: “The OCSE assures that assistance in obtaining support (both financial and medical) is available to children through locating parents, establishing paternity and support obligations, and enforcing those obligations.”
    The FEDS help the states to ensure dad pays.

    http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/office-of-child-support-enforcement.shtml

    The system is broken. But until fathers join forces and push for reform, our sons will face the same fate. It’s time to demand the following:
    – Reform Family Law and Family Courts
    – Abolish the systematic allotment of support without enforcing Shared Parenting
    – Do what is actually in the ‘best interest of the child’ and not the state

    A Father, fighting to be a Dad…Join the fight!

    I totally agree. I’ve been paying, lost my job, got behind, live in a different state. I tell the court that she will not let me see my children, she gives the court the excuse of “he didn’t call on my sons birthday, so I’m not going to make my 3 kids call their father.” In my relpy, I was at work. By the time I did call, my children were convinced to not talk to me anymore. Any time my ex and I have a disagreement, she makes it out really big to the kids and has convinced them that I’m a bad person. I’m a good father. Besides these 3 children, I have 7 other children from prior relationships. I’ve always paid. But I feel that it should be fair. A parent should be able to see their kids if they are paying, paternity testing should be done before payment is received, if arrearages are getting high( then a caseworker should call and ask for a modification). These are just some things that need attention. I’ve been going through a lot with this and the system needs to be fair.

    whats amazing to me is that, we all know the system is outdated and not fair, but does ANYONE with any power do anything to try and change these really messed up laws?… no becuase if they did that means that there will be less jobs, all those people whol get paid from the system would be jobless, so to hell with the middle and low income people. this is just another way to lock up black men and put them in the leagal slavery system,.. we have to pay half of support but we dont get half the time, we are expected to maintain a house so when the kid does come to visit he has a place to stay. when my son comes for the summer , his mother still wants me to pay child support and take care of him for the summer, she will only pay half on a plane ticket and thats becuase she doesnt want my son to switch planes, so she pays for a direct flight, my drive to the airport is longer then his flight home.

    KS and Lindsey
    Don’t know if your following. Lindsey I know about half the women I have talked to did the same and were shocked that the court didn’t want to accept it, and a few others chose to only accept what amounted to ongoing expenses to shut the judge up on the issue, even though they would have rather just accepted the money directly because they worked fine together.

    KS… I feel you. I am in KS and was told by multiple lawyers that if she didn’t want 50/50 then the judge wasn’t going to order it even though that was the direction of the legislature. I fought anyway, and now have a GAL that has equated me with a child abuser in his language and promises to punish me if I don’t accept what she is willing to give me. Its pretty fracked up.

    Current Child Support Laws Are a Barrier to True Shared Parenting
    Excellent article. One problem that is not stated as explicitly as it should be is the way that current child support laws serve as a barrier to true shared parenting. This varies from state to state. But in about half the states the guidelines do not adjust child support amounts for time with the children. This means that achieving true shared parenting–and dividing the parents’ economic resources so that they are available to the children in both homes–requires going to court and asking a court to deviate from guidelines–something that studies have shown courts do not do as frequently as they should. Because many judges are locked into the “the higher the child support is the better it is for the child” mentality–which completely undermines the shared parenting approach–they are reluctant to deviate downward in child support award. This means that the paying parent (almost always the father) winds up with “standard parenting time” or can have the children more but doesn’t have the economic resources appropriate for the expenses he will have on the children.

    It’s easier for the courts when there is one “custodial parent” who gets regular, guideline child support from the other (“noncustodial parent”), but it’s worse for the children. The fact that most states score so poorly on the NPO Shared Parenting Grade Card (a project I was the lead researcher on) belies the claim that our states’ custody and child support laws are all about protecting children. There’s a lot that needs to change if we really want to do what the research shows is best for children.

    I am a woman who flat out refused to take child support when the judge tried to award it in Oklahoma. I demanded 50/50 joint with no legal custodial, even though the standard was to me. Just because we divorced does not make him less of their father. As a woman, it is silly to not be able to raise my children without child support. If my ex husband died tomorrow, I didn’t want to set myself up to be relying on his income. Adding money into the mix just breeds anger and alienation. My current husband’s ex wife takes almost $1000 a month from us for 2 kids. She controls with money and has lied about receiving payments as revenge for us remarrying. And the court in Arkansas doesn’t care at all that we have 6 children now. It’s sickening. My biological kids are so much better adjusted than my step children because of the positive relationship that their dad and I have….money has got to be taken out of the equation. If a woman cannot support her children on her own or with her new spouse, then they need to live with the other parent. Or at least split the time. Period.

    The insanity did not stop until I declared BANKRUPTCY the best option out there to stop the bleeding and financial harassment.
    My opinion examine your total ex spousal obligations with a bankruptcy attorney .
    The ex filed a false claim stating six months arearage(thankfully I had canceled checks for all), and complianed
    that for the last two years my college fund contributions for my child had been underpaid (because I was not receiving an accounting of the fund from my ex, and I refused to contribute further until she could prove that she was not spending my child’s college money). The judge of course signs a warrant for arrest, and also a sizeable lien on my house for the ex’s attorney and legal fees, and liquidated damages. Welp when it finally all adjudicates, $26,000.00 in legal fees later and all the alledged arearages and counterclaims for legal fees and punitive damages dropped and property lien remanded. The ex refused to settle after recieving the court finding of fact, and the financial discovery revealing that the ex spent my childs college fund to “make a down payment on a house for our child”. The Judge asks my council to hold a telecon with my ex’s council in the Judges chambers. (get this , that makes it off the record). in the priveleged call, the judge urges my ex’s council to setlle out of court immediately, otherwise should my ex show up in court, the judge would be forced to hold my ex accountable for all of the aforementioned malfeasence. (yes fair and equal treatment under the law). so the ex realizing shes lost, stops paying her attorney, and my property lien being remanded is never filed with the county recorder by the exs attorney(because the money is dried up the exs coucil drops all work on the case). So with all, the financial disruption, being the straw that finally breaks my finincial back. I claim bankruptcy. The ex refuses to certify for bankruptcy court that my CS is current. Fortunately, after the family court adjudication, my CS is collected through payroll debit by probation court, and a quick comunique from the bankruptcy court to the family court clears the way. The relief i have felt from bankruptcy? You see, most opposing attorneys will run your credit score to asssess how juicy a target you are in order to get sued and your ability to pay, prior to compiling that 600 page compliant in court against you. Many people dont realize this. With the ability to be financially squeezed now being eliminated, the playing field becomes leveled again, and the family court will now have to temper themselves by consulting with the bankruptcy court prior to any further financial rape being visited upon you. Try it out. CS and spousal supprt etc., is considered in your overall ability or inabilitty to pay your debts off and your financial burden. Dont suffer because your pride gets in the way. 8 out of 10 male friends in the circles of my work and personal life have been through the same asymetrical court systems spanning multiple states. All report similiar injustices when we share stories.

    Steevo, I am contemplating doing just that. Could you contact me via email, I have some questions that I am sure you could lend me some advice on. Thanks you can email me at xrangr375(at)aol(dot)com.

    Bravo! You rock! And you told it as it is. It’s pathetic what the courts do to good men who are taken advantage of by women who seem to have quite a bit of knowledge of how the system works for them….

    KS sucks
    Supposedly we are a 50/50 state, but that is only if both parents agree. I fought, but basically was told that it would be unlikely. Was even told that by the Johnson county mediator with my ex there at the same time. How does that make it a mediation if he basically says that it is unlikely.

    I have 3 kids. One was 17 at the time, another 14, and another 7. The only one that spends weekends with me is my youngest. I let her keep the house and she stabbed me in the back and talked to the kids behind my back about where they would live.

    I am and always have been an active father. I was a scout den leader, I was the one who took them to practices, etc…

    As stated by someone above I am a money supplier and a babysitter. The way it works now I get to see my youngest based on my ex’s work schedule. Which she occasionally changes without telling me. I make accommodations for her so they can go to her grandparents all the time. My family is 600 miles away and they have not seen them in two years. My older two kids spend more time with their grandparents in a weekend than I have had in a year.

    I know I am ranting, but the system is so bias it is ridiculous.

    It should be 50/50 automatically and child support should never give more money to one parent than the other. As it is I nickel and dime everything. While my ex orders pizza and goes out to dinner.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    Child Support was intended as a “TRANSFER OF WEALTH” scam. The idea of stereotyping ALL fathers as deadbeats was a deliberate ploy to make the fathers the debtors, and the denigrating term was widely used. The scam has been enhanced by the payment of incentives by the federal child support collection office to each state’s collection agency. Those payments run from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of $$ per year. To bring the courts on board, the state collection office was authorized to make payments to the courts for hearing child support cases. THOSE payments run from millions to tens of millions per year. Over time, more profiteers came on board, living off the conflict cause by the courts. Read Dr. Stephen Baskerville’s book, “TAKEN INTO CUSTODY” to learn the extent of the corruption.

    I Agree
    The system must be changed. I pay $1000/month for one child. It automatically goes straight to my ex’s account. She also receives almost half of my military retirement. She also has full medical from me. She left without my knowing over three years ago from Texas to Pennsylvania and I have not seen my now 16 year old since. (Parent Alienation). This went against the court order. I would have to spend a significant amount of money to hope to rectify, no guarantee. BTW my ex comes from a very wealthy family. None of that matters in my support payments. I feel so bad for my daughter. Every child needs a loving and caring mother and father, even if not together.

    Retired
    I’m 70. My ex is 47. Wehave three girls ages 10, 14 and 17. She makes 160k a year. My retirement is 75k. We have joint custody. Yet, I pay her $525 a month in child support. This is Maryland. Thank GOD, O’Malley is out and Hogan is in!!!

    Stop your whining… I am currently unemployed and I pay $1,600 for one child and my x-wife makes 70k a year and I have nothing save for retirement.

    Don’t tell him to stop his “whining”. You and him and me are all getting screwed. Join forces and demand reform!!!

    Please post this on Facebook so I can like it. I am afraid that sharing it will upset too many people but want to show support.

    Out dated system…
    I have 2 boys and share time with them 50/50. My ex-wife makes a very good living too. But by law she is still “entitled” to get child support (tax free) even though she has a very successful career. We both have homes with bedrooms for the kids and clothes etc. We also split any extra costs (medical, etc.) as well. The CS system is flawed and it should ONLY be for helping the Parent that is does not have a job and NEEDS the money to care for the children…not just a handout because of some “formula” that works in favor of one parent vs the other. THE SYSTEM IS OUT DATED!!!

    Support Enforcement but no Parenting Time Enforcement
    If I miss Child Support, she can contact a division of the court that immediately takes action to enforce. I’ve been alienated for years and have had essentially no Parenting Time. I’d have to lawyer up though to take her back to court so the judge can slap her on the wrist and tell her to play nice…or have the judge tell me that the kids are old enough to have say so and cannot be forced to come to my home. Something is clearly wrong.

    Maybe this elections cycle is a good time to get this on the radar of those seeking election.

    Push for change
    So how do Dad’s organize to make this a possible topic of political elections? As a dad who fought hard for 50/50 custody and won but still has to pay child support to a mom that makes a very good living, I agree the system is severely outdated. I have pushed my own budget to the limits to get my kids into quality schools while mom didn’t see this as a priority. We split all expenses 50/50 but I’ve gone above her in making sure my kids have the best educational opportunity and I’m the one that always attends their school events and such. The system sucks!

    I had all 3 of my daughter’s since before they started school. I got them because of their mother crazy action. But I never stop paying her child support because I would’ve had to put my kids on the stand. So I paid her 2,900 a month for 15 years. The other reason why I didn’t take her to court because the judicial system is all in favor of the woman and not the kids or fathet. The money doesn’t mean anything to me being a good father for my kids means the world to me. So father pay your child support but what is of more important spending quality time with them. They will remember that before a child support check.

    CS is Servitude not Parenting
    CS needs to go away except in cases of actual abandonment. The parents should decide together how to pay for the kids extras, and the few required expenses should be covered by a legal agreement to split the costs. When a parent has parenting time, they should be responsible for the costs of that time. There should be no extra money for extra time. The primary driver in most custody cases is that if the time division changes, so does the CS. I have been turned into an ATM machine and a babysitter in my kids life in many ways. This is not fatherhood.

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