Yesterday 'Jen' wrote a post about child support. She wrote that her ex complained about how much he had to pay. She also wrote about how that sometimes she has to chase him down to pay his child support obligation.
For clear disclosure, I pay child support, but I have always felt this way. My situation with that DOES NOT SUCK, but there are many others out there who have a pretty crappy situation! I do understand that the system is not fair for the men, women, and even the kids. Let me tell you a story from the other side of the coin. Let me tell you how it feels to be the guy who watches has his pay check is reduced every month because in my state, they take it directly from your paycheck.
I first want to get this off my chest. The child support system in my state [OH] and many other states is screwed the eff up. The system doesn't promote bettering yourself. It promotes taking from the father and giving to the mother as far as child support is concerned. It is designed to make guys look like the bad guys and ladies look like the fairy god mothers. It is designed to make the man either, not want to get a better paying job, or not care, or even run from their obligation, and it can also make the women in the system not want to get a better job, because at that point, their child support order could be reduced. Let me explain why that is.
Along with child support comes the whole custody issue. These issues, in the court of law, are different. They first decide how much money you both make together. They then decide the child support order. They then decides who gets the kids.
When my first wife and I decided to divorce, money was a huge issue. I'm not going to lie. But we already had a predetermined custody arrangement. It was literally shared parenting. 3.5 days per parent, per week.
You cannot split it more down the middle than that.
In Ohio, the child support system is easy. There is no negotiating. They take income A then add it to income B. They then take that amount and look for it on an inch think table that determines how much it should cost to raise that child/children because let's face it, the politicians have a real grasp of how much things cost. They figure out the percentages of income contribution. So if income A contributes 65% of the total income, then you pay 65% of the total cost of raising the child.
So do you see a problem with this? No? Ok, let me explain more.
Here in lies the issue. Say, in 6 years from now, I get a raise, and then my ex loses her job. We get a summons to go re-do the child support order. They do the math again. Only this time, I make more money that we used to combined, so the amount that it should cost to raise the kids goes up. Then my percentage contribution is now 100%. So where did my raise go? I actually bring home less money now, because I have to pay more. [for the record this is a hypothetical situation, my ex has a job, but this is contemplating the 'what if's'] How is this fair. In essence, I am getting dinged for getting a better job. My ex is getting more money because she lost/quit/or otherwise doesn't have a job. Roles could also be reversed. Say my ex get's a better job, and we got through the process again, she would get less in child support. So where is the motivation for either party to get a better job for either party? Most of the time, the father's order is never reduced.
It's not like she has my daughter more than me. She has her exactly equal parts. I still pay for clothes too. I still pay for shoes too. I still do a lot of things that she also does. But my child support is supposed to pay for all that.
So now that we are having a math lesson, I pay child support for clothes, food, and other things; and my daughter is with me just as much, and I also buy her things like clothes, food, and other things on top of that; so basically, not only am I supporting her at her mom's, but also at my house. I don't understand it. I am basically paying double to raise my daughter. Do you see where this system is a bit messed up? [I don't mind spoiling my daughter at all]
Here is what I think the support system needs a make-over. I think there needs to be accountability on both sides of the child support order. Instead of handing over the cash to one of the parents, put it in a neutral bank account. Both parents have equal rights to it, and the only thing that the money is used for is purchasing things like clothes and school things for the child. They have to be held accountable for their purchases, and at any time, can be audited by the State or county.
Or better yet. Let me take the money I pay and put it into a 529 plan in Ohio and save it for college.
All are better solutions than the antiquated system that is currently in place.
There are guys out there that have to be chased down to pay. I can't say that I blame them for trying to run, but they should never skirt their responsibility and as a man, and parent, they need to step up and take care of their children. Get your ass in gear, put on your big boy pants, and do what is needed. The same goes for the ladies. Don't whine about how much this costs, that costs or how much of a deadbeat parent your ex is. You might only get a few hundred dollars a month, but think about it, your ex is giving you a few hundred dollars a month, and still buying the kids things that child support is supposed to cover. You made the decision to split up together. You both need to share that burden equally.
Don't ever assume your ex has more money, because when it comes down to it, you both think each of you is rich.
*as a note. My ex and I have a very good relationship when it comes to raising our kids. We are one of the few couples who have a cordial relationship. The situation described above is intended to spark a conversation, and not tell you that my ex is a bad person and that I am better. I am trying to illustrate the flaws in the system. This isn't the old time era of Dad's who don't care. My ex and I have a great mutual respect for one another and I suggest that you and your ex also put your differences aside to make sure the kids are raised to be productive members of society. The one redeeming quality of the system is that it takes the arguing about money out of the equation.
2 years ago