This has to be the one topic that infuriates me the most. I have more than a handful of male friends that have custody of their own children. I have a sister-in-law that has 3 children, all 3 by different fathers. My problem is that I’ve seen how the government makes the larger issue a ” Father ” not paying his child support with the suspension of a license, jail time, court orders, etc.
One of my male friends is an extremely hard working man. He makes a mere 19 dollars an hour and has had his daughter and primary custody since she was 2 weeks old. A few months ago the mother of his daughter filed for joint custody and simply didn’t show up for court. She is now re-married and has a stepchild as well as an infant daughter with her new husband. Never once has this woman paid child support in all her years.
My sister-in-law was married to my oldest brother for nearly 10 years. Just over a year and a half ago, the two finally separated. In that 10 years, never once did she support her middle daughter financially that lived with her fraternal grandmother. The oldest daughter’s father lived in Georgia and paid a substantial lump sum every month, in excess of five hundred dollars a month. The youngest, a son, his father paid a monthly sum as well. Never once in that 10 years did my sister-in-law work. At 14 years old my niece finally came to live with her Mother as the oldest daughter was now an expecting mother at age 16, as well as the youngest, the son was failing in school.
For nearly 10 years my brother paid her child support for this middle child. In the year and a half since she’s had her, she didn’t pay, and the state took her to court to recover the child support owed back to the state. Within a few months, the youngest, the son’s father as well gained custody of him because of the fact that she had no job and was using the child support money that he paid for his son, to pay the child support for her middle daughter. The judge informed her that in order for her to regain custody of that son, that she would have to hold a permanent job for more than a year, reside in a different home than living with her ex husband, my brother that is, and that she would have to pay child support.
Within weeks of this, she was taken back to court yet again over a thousand dollars behind now, for the middle child, where she was told that she’d lose her driver’s license if she fell behind at all. She was outraged. For a woman that didn’t work she insisted to the judge that she was the only means of transportation for her oldest daughter to get her grandfather back and forth and that the father of her child was disabled so he couldn’t work, which left her as the responsible party because she’d taken custody of the granddaughter to ensure that she was taken care of , because her daughter and this guy were irresponsible.
I am the single mother of 3, not only did I work 2 jobs and put myself through college, I never took one penny from their father. I am proud of that fact although I have heard the endless mindless opinion that I sacrificed ” comfort” for my children, by letting their father’s out of the responsibility that they should’ve been forced to take.
To watch as my sister-in-law sat by for over 10 years and have a steady supply of cash on hand, run the roads all hours of the day, as my brother paid her financial obligations to her own children; none of which were his, was quite a task for me.
To watch as she moves into a subsidized rental property with her rent being adjusted to her income, and insisting that since she had to pay child support that her income wasn’t that high and that some of that couldn’t be counted, receiving government assistance with food stamps as well as Medicaid for all 3 children.
More and more fathers are asked to pay ridiculous amounts of money for child support. They are threatened endlessly with repercussions if they fail to do so. So often, they pay more money to help adapt their children to the lifestyle of the other parent. A kid goes to private school that amount goes up. Medical issues they are sentenced to sometimes pay half of medical or provide full insurance coverage on the child.
Yesterday that same sister-in-law informed me that her brother came home with a paycheck of a mere $28.00 after working a 50-60 hour work week. I suppose I was suppose to be upset by that, but wasn’t seeing as how he’d paid nothing for the last 6 months, lived with their mother until he found a new lady that up and married him after 2 weeks of dating and decided that he’d only work “every now and then ” to get by.
I am lucky enough that I was raised by a single mother, I am the youngest and only girl in my family. With 4 older brothers ahead of me, and a Father that died at just 2 years old, I learned what sacrifice was. I learned the value of a dollar. My mother never once worked, because my father’s veterans pension supported her. Many times I’ve faced judges in court when the state sought child support, you’d be surprised at the judge’s face when you’ve impressed them with the fact that you didn’t ask to be there.
Once my middle daughter’s father was forced to pay child support as I was working two jobs and going through college making the dean’s list. The following month, I received a subpoena for court to ” terminate ” child support due to the fact that he was now listed as permanently disabled. The judge had a very tough time with me in court, in his own words. My youngest daughter was 2 at the time and we’d found ourselves living in a hotel, with 3 kids. That was the place where the 2 year old took her first steps. A mere $65.00 came out of his pocket for one month in the first 8 years of her life. I’d already spent nearly 3 times that much in school clothes. Although her father after her birth had packed up everything he owned and moved out of town within the next 24 hours and ran for the next 8 years, they’d tracked him down.
I stand proud knowing that I am NOT one of those mothers or fathers that sought financial security from a man/ woman’s paycheck. I am proud of a 17 year old son that is headed off to college, a 16 year old daughter that sits in 10th grade that has already enough credits to graduate and says I want to see how many I can graduate with, and an 11 year old that wants to be an attorney.
If the government was so set on insisting that people were financially responsible, they’d make those laws just as tough for single Father’s as they do for single Moms. A man stands to lose everything. Having four older brothers I’ve seen my brothers come home with no paychecks at all after child support and never once complain. I’ve heard the arguements if upon any chance their payments would be late from the Mom’s who had custody.
I think that society firmly believes that a man should continue to pay just as much child support to a single mom, than one that remarries and has a second income. What a comfortable lifestyle to watch as your money becomes her spending money. In most cases that new family has 3 incomes, that of the new spouse, the divorced spouse and that of child support. There’s nothing like watching the selfish battle ensue. How the newly married spouse contends that it’s not her new husbands responsibility to take care of her children financially. I wonder what she’d have done had that father been so absent that she never received a penny. Most of the father’s that pay child support not only have a fixed schedule of when to pay, but when it comes to visitation, they have to work around the Mother’s schedule to even get visitation. They have to provide transportation to pick the child up for visits.
It’s time that women too, step up to the plate and take care of their responsibilities as well. Society is forever changing and hopefully one day this article will read ” Are we not created equal in the responsibilities that we share in raising children? “