Let’s talk about Child Support. A couple days ago my personal Facebook account was lit with differing opinions regarding the topic. Per usual, some people took exception to my post/opinion and I ruffled a lot of feathers. Warning, if you continue reading, understand that my opinion is mine and not a reflection of anyone else but that I may very well upset you (that’s cool, just @bucketsandmusic and tell me how you feel, I always listen and I usually respond). First. let me add that I am not a parent and have never been involved in any child support system.
If you are online or social media at all then you likely got wind of news reports that, NBA player, Blake Griffin was recently ordered to pay a whopping $258,000 a month to the mother of his two children. Reports have since come out that the figure was inaccurate and he actually pays 32k in monthly support. (If that’s any better! LOL) The news sent shockwaves through the online world and sparked an interesting conversation about the child support system. In my personal opinion child support is not the devil but the child support system in America is not without its flaws, as is most American governmental institutions.
“The recent reports of the financial details of the child support agreement between Blake Griffin and Brynn Cameron are inaccurate,” the statement said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Both sides have settled amicably and are moving forward with co-parenting their two children. Due to the confidential nature of the agreement, no further details will be released.” ~Yahoo! Sports
Child support orders are case by case and should be respected as such. In some cases, some fathers would really not provide any financial support if not court ordered to do so. These guys are what I refer to as “dead beats.” I am no parent but I do know that kids are expensive. My mother was a single mother, and fought diligently to receive child support payments from both my brother’s dad and my dad. Though my father worked and seemingly lived quite well, he for some time was able to hide income or get paid under the table which resulted in the system ordering a very pathetic amount for him to pay to my mom each month. He eventually began driving buses for the city’s Regional Transit Authority, in which payments were court ordered to increase, according to his income. Rightfully and justifiably so! Being that my mother was the lone custodial parent, to a child that she did not create alone, he should have been ordered to contribute financially to the raising of his child. My mother deserved every penny, in fact my father got off pretty cheaply if you consider what all goes into caring for a child on the day to day basis.
Child support is usually 10% of one’s income and is meant to ensure that the child will experience the same lifestyle as he/she would if both parents were in the household. Its impact on the paying parent should deter whatever decisions that led to one finding him or herself in such system. To take it a step further, I am in the opinion that child support should be seen sort of a consolation to the mother or father for having a child that she/he must serve as primary parent to. Being that she/he did not create the child alone but has to parent full time alone should come with relief. If one does not get co-parenting security via marriage then yes he/she should be eligible to receive child support from the sperm donor or egg donor that chose not to parent in household.
This is not an article to bash men or even show any bias as a woman to women but if a man is afforded freedoms to navigate this world as if he is childless while mom slaves away to support and nourish a child that they both created then the price that he pays for that freedom should be an expensive one. This feeling is the same if it is the woman that carries on each day as if she can skip out on her responsibilities as a mother.
Sure not all men that pay child support are actual “deadbeats.” As I mentioned before, each case has its personal differences or similarities and how each man finds himself in the child support system can differ. Some men are ordered to pay after divorce. Some men never made it to marriage and is ordered as a result of the mother of his child placing an order. Some men insert themselves into the system. Some men are in the system for multiple kids by multiple women because he was reckless. (No sympathy for that one bruh) The unfortunate occurrence is when an involved father is placed on child support. Of course the wisest thing and likely the least expensive way to financially contribute to one’s children is to do so without the involvement and orders from any governmental courts.
Many of us were made familiar with the problematic nature of what child support can bring to one’s life and the strains that it can put on family units and personal lives without ever having kids or being in the system. For those people, many of us opted to be responsible by having protected sex or waiting to procreate only once a union was made via marriage.
For those of us that slipped and child support became a part of our lives, we kind of got to bite the bullet and take it on the chin. The hope is that one would learn their lesson off the first experience and not go impregnating multiple women and finding ourselves in the same system then complaining about d’evils of the system. For clarity, child support is NOT an attack on Black men and the Black family unit, as it is not isolated to just Black people. White people pay child support, as do Hispanics, Asians, women, etc. However child support can be a crippling mandate for those in poverty. The impact can be debilitating. Child support can restrict one from obtaining a license, a job, good credit, and full wages.
As I mentioned, the system is not without its flaws. According to a report in 2016 by Time, the custodial parent may not be eligible to receive child support payments that the noncustodial parent is paying if the custodial parent is receiving TANF benefits from the government. Those payments though still must be paid by the noncustodial parent is not benefiting the child at all, as they are withheld by the government. The child support system is in need of modification but that does not make it not a necessity to many children and custodial parents. Government has its isms, with racism and sexism but I would argue that Black men have more of a solid plea for racism and sexism as it pertains to custody court not child support.
The truth is, child support is a tough order for those already financially unstable. The truth is also that those that are financially unstable should show more protection of where they leave their sperm and who they allow to leave their sperm in them. Its to the point that if unprotected sex is not going to be something reserved for the confines of a marriage then it should at the very least be something reserved for those that can afford the cost if a child develops. If not, then reckless behaviors comes with its costly consequences. Both men and women must began to show some sort of responsibility and accountability for their actions and children.
Child support also does not take the place of parenting. Financial support is essential for raising kids but so is present parenting. Many men crying about child support, do not opt to fight for custody of their children. Many do fight for visitation rights but even fewer fight for custody rather full or split. Visiting parenting is better than full absence but something is to be said for the primary parent in the household in which the child lives. The in household parent deserves to be compensating for stepping up to the plate to carry such load alone.
“The child support system weakens the child/father bond by separating the act of love from the act of providing.”~ Time Magazine Writer
Sending money does not raise a child. Providing is not a substitution for loving and parenting. Much too often, I hear men call themselves “good fathers’ because they are up to date on their child support payments or because they independently send money to their children. Many of these men have not seen their children in months, if not years. These men miss birthdays, sporting events, plays, open houses, doctor appointments and all the other typical day to day things in their children’s lives. This absence should come with a cost that hits the missing parent in the pockets, rather mom or dad.
Seemingly, many men complain about paying child support because the concept of sending his hard earned money to a woman that he does not want or that does not want him, creates a sense of bitterness and resentment that pains him to the core. He begins to allow his ego and pride guide his perspective and attitude so he begins to question where his money is going, and despises the fact that he has to pay the woman directly, even though she is the one that cares for the child daily that he helped create. Do some women abuse child support funds? Absolutely! Men and women do and that is something that should be addressed via the courts. Perhaps the method of payments can be improved. Britney Spears, children’s father is currently requesting an increase of payments to help sustain his lifestyle. These things happen but often times the main men crying about child support are the same ones that helped create the child but is indifferent or absent in raising that child. Sure relationships fizzle out, even marriages can turn out not to be a solid safeguard as they can run its course and come to an end in divorce. If that happens, the child still deserves and requires parenting, guidance and money from both parents.
Finally, we have got to get out of this pointing the finger to just women. Frequently online, I see problematic comments, almost victim blaming women. These comments include bashing women for getting pregnant by men, that we assume that she was aware of him being a dead beat prior to her getting pregnant by him. Don’t get me wrong, these cases certainly exist but there are also cases that exist where the woman was blindsided by the man’s dead beat character until after the child was born. We have this thing, where we hold women accountable and blame them for allowing a dead beat to impregnate her but we fail to hold the man accountable for his involvement in the split procreation. This is problematic and does not fix any issue. Women should be protective of their wombs, and men should be protective and careful with their sperm as well. No “nut” is worth any heartache or permanent attachment to a person that one does not respect, love or can’t communicate effectively with to co-parent.
Ya just never know!
I know seemingly “good guys” that are actual dead beats to their children. Not every man on child support is Pookie from up the street that sells drugs. Some times its an ex husband, its a lawyer that mom dated in law school, its your Dentist or Real Estate agent, maybe even your pastor. Sometimes the signs are not there, and sometimes the man just decides that he can go AWOL on his responsibilities. The unfortunate thing is biologically women are usually at the mercy of the consciousness and character of the man that she mates with. We say choose better partners to mate with, but we fail to acknowledge how its all really a gamble, especially if not tied to a marriage and understanding. Truth is, people change like the weather. Sometimes even “good people,” and longtime boyfriends or girlfriends. Just like we tell the woman that she should have mated better, where is that accountability to the man for mating with a woman he obviously hates? Maybe she didn’t show signs that she would be the baby mother from hell pre baby. Or that she would use the baby as a pawn or prohibit him from seeing the child if she was angry with him. Is it me or is it always ironic that the man hates the child’s mother after the unprotected sex is over and the kid is here?
At the end of the day, child support is a flawed system that may not be broken. Rather you see it as evil, helpful or as a deterrence to procreation out of marriage the fact is that it is a system that can impact your family if you are not careful. Yes, I believe both men and women need to do their best to be responsible with their bodies but I also realize that life happens and things do not always go according to plan. I myself, was not a planned pregnancy, not many of us are. That’s just reality.
If child support becomes a part of your life, it is my hope that you learn from the experience in the system and not go creating multiple experiences in the system. Men take care of your children, in the same house hold if possible, women do the same. In the end, your feelings is secondary to the providing, parenting and nurturing of the child.
Let’s raise and provide for these babies free of governmental orders y’all. We can start by respecting our bodies and marriage.
Just my two cents.