As the product of a family in which the father did not pay child support I feel I have a very personal view of whether or not forcing a father to pay child support is ethical. I will agree that under certain circumstances the court system that can be unfairly biased towards the mother. I have personally known of at least one man who has experienced unfair treatment, though not in regard to child support, because he was father. There are many people of both genders who are unfit to be parents and who use their child for their own purposes. However, no matter how unfair the system is in particular individual situations, for the vast majority of women and children a system in which there is a way for a mother to secure some form of finacial support is a god send. When I was growing up the system wasn’t as automated as it is now and when my father moved out of state there was no way for the system to track him. As a result there was no way for my mother to collect child support. Without the government’s support there is no way for a woman to collect child support if the father decides, for whatever reason, not to pay it. In my opinion it is unethical for a society to allow a father to renege on his responsibilty to children he fathered.
I bitterly resent that any one would argue that a mother is not owed support, extracted through government intervention, based on the fact that there are mothers who use all their income, not just child support, on drugs and alcohol. Regardless of a mother’s worth as a parent, the child is still owed that support. If the woman abuses her child and her responsibility to it, then that is something that another agency in the goverment, as well as the father, has a responsibility to deal with. It does not remove his obligation to finacially support that child.
The fact is most men pay in child support what amounts to a car payment to the mother of their child, perhaps even a very expensive car payment. However, the expenses of raising a child far exceed what a father typically pays in child support a month. Daycare alone is usually equal to a woman’s monthy support payment. How about the cost of feeding a child or clothing or extra utility expenses or even the fact that most apartments require a woman with a child to rent the more expensive 2 bedroom apartment. There are a tiny million ways my life was made harder growing up due to the lack of an extra 382 dollars( that is less than $200 a child) a month my dad owed in child support.
Personally I find it extremely unethical for a system to punish a mother for choosing to leave her child but not a father. After all, if a father picks up and move in the middle of the night, never to be see again, he is legally only responsible for child support. Because he has left the child with it’s mother or a friend or grandparent does not change the fact that he has literally walked away from this child. However, if a mother does this she has “abandoned” her child and faces a possible jail sentence.
There is nothing unethical about a government using its authority to make sure that its youth are finacially provided for by the individuals that gave them life, regardless of gender. In my own family I have experenced a situation in which a man “accidently” impregnated his girlfriend and then was forced to pay, literally and figuratively, for his child. Despite the fact that we suspect the girlfriend deliberately got pregnant the child is still his responsibility. The fact is, once a woman is pregnant, a man has little influence on whether or not she has that child and will forever owe a debt to that child as a result of irresponsible or risky behavior. That debt is not the child’s fault, it may very well be the result of a greedy or reckless mother, but it is not the child’s responsibility to make sure its father uses protection or is a better judge of the character of women he sleeps with. By the very fact you are engaging in sex you are risking a pregnancy, no matter how slight that risk is. Both a man and a woman are responsible for this risk and therefore must be responsible for the end result. Forcing a parent to pay child support is not unethical, having a child and then refusing to finacially support it is unethical.
If we lived in a perfect world there would be no need to have a government that forced parents to support their children but we don’t. Certainly there are unjust events and situations of abuse of the child support system and the custody system but to argue that because of these abuses there should not be any form of regulated child support punishes the majority of children based on a minority of women. I know very few women who recieve enough in child support to blow much on themselves. Most are lucky if it covers 40% of expenses a month associated with raising their child.
My mother didn’t drink, she didn’t party, she always had a full time job, she never brought men home, she rarely did anthing at all for herself yet if it hadn’t been for the government she never would have collected a dime from my father. As it was, for raising 2 kids alone for over 18 years with no child support, her final settlement with my dad was for 4,000 dollars, which would barely buy a decent used car much less the care and feeding of two kids. In her fifties, broke and tired, my mom just quit fighting and took what he offered to end the constant fighting. I remember reading where one woman said she actually didn’t take as much as the court offered her b/c she thought the amount unfair. I am thrilled for her and her children that she could afford to do that but statistically most single parents are uneducated and underpaid and they don’t make enough to raise there children alone much above the poverty line. My mother, just like millions of other single parents, despretely needed that $382 and we as a family suffered as a result of the lack of finacial support. The humilation of never having new clothes, or a decent car, or even being able to depend on the utilities never even touches the pain a child feels at knowing their parent actually resents sending money to support them. Instead the absent parent focuses on how the mother is using or abusing the money on themselves. As if the very fact that a father is writing out a check to her means that the money is solely for her. If she buys a new dress or goes out for a night with friends suddenly that money is HIS money. There is no picking and choosing specifically where a child support check is spent, it is for the child’s support in whichever way the parent living with the child decides it is best spent. It could be split a hundred different ways, part for rent, part for food, part of utilities, part for clothes, part for school trips, part for toys or books, yet suddenly if a woman takes a night out for herself part of it must have gone towards her drink or her clothes. Yet if the man spends most of his money on a nice car, drinking, and women he is never accused of depriving his child of anything.
There are unfair situations under every circumstance, associated with any program, goverenment or other wise, and because there are problems or errors or abuses is not a reason to decide to abolish the system. It means that we should join together and work harder to fix the problems not abandon the system as the parent has done to the child.