There are so many things to say on the subject of child support. Recently a post by Suzanne Cramer,Budget Fail: Child Support is it Enough?, brought up loads of comments and discussion.
Reading some of these comments, once again the disparity of thinking of the men and the women on child support came to mind. From a woman's point of view, who does receive child support and no alimony, child support is never enough to cover the lifestyle of the ex-wife, unless you are my current husband, who made a conscious choice to pay her enough to cover her lifestyle as well as that of his children. But, that is a rarity in this life. Most men don't make enough money to do that, and if they did, I doubt they would fork it over to continue to support a woman they are no longer married to, unless court ordered to do so, in which case each check is written with bitter ink and resentment.
It is said over and over again that the mother needs to get off her a** and get a job, even though she may have the children 90 percent, 70 percent or even 50 percent of the time and the children may not be in school full time and she has been a stay at home mom. I am going to be bold and speak for all divorced women, we get it. And, believe it or not, most of us agree.
Let's turn the tables though. The mother earns the big bucks and has primary custody, while the father is out of work. He is court-ordered to pay child support. The mother doesn't need that money, should she give it up so that he can have a better lifestyle when the children are with him? He doesn't have the same luxuries as the mother at his home. He can't afford the latest and greatest Nintendo DSi with the big screen or even have enough bedrooms for each kid to have his own space. He can't afford cable much less clothing to keep at his house for when his children come to stay with him.
Or better yet, since the mother does make more money, should she subsidize his standard of living so when the kids are with him, they are comfortable? After all, we all say child support is for the children. Let's face it that would hardly ever happen that the mother with custody and more money will pay the dad. I do know some that do it, but they are resentful and angry about it and feel it is the father's responsibility to support not only himself, but his kids.
Light bulb moment! The mother who is paying feels it is the father's responsibility! And, isn't that what all the father's who pay support to their wives are b*tching about? They want to pay for their children, but feel it is the mother's responsibility to provide the lifestyle they want for themselves and the kids.
It is a fact that child support will only go so far in providing the necessities for the kids, and yes, if you want a better lifestyle or even to maintain a lifestyle, you must either marry well or get out there and work. And, this works both ways. The father must do the same. If you are able bodied and smart, or maybe not smart, you can go and get a job, just like the rest of Middle America. Being divorced does not make you handicapped; it just makes you no longer married.
Does it take away your empowerment as a woman to accept child support? No. You were married, you had children, you get divorced and someone has to pay to put food in those little mouths and clothes on those backs. Who should pay? The parent that does not have primary custody. Why? Because the output they have when they do have custody is far less than the output of the parent that has those children the majority of the time, even if they do have clothing and shoes for that child that they purchased.
Does receiving child support entitle you to watch Oprah all day and eat bon bons on the couch? Absolutely not. You have as much, if not more responsibility to financially take care of those children, and you need to do whatever it takes to hold up your end of the money bag. You want a big birthday party bash for your child? Budget your money and if you have enough, have it, but the truth is, your child doesn't care as long as he or she is having a good time with their friends and they are the center of attention for those few hours with gifts coming their way.
You want your child to have a car when they turn 16? Who doesn't, but most kids don't get that when they turn 16, 17 or even 18. You want your children to go to college? We all do, how about instead of taking your children out to dinner; put that money into a college fund. Think of how those meals will add up to over the years to help send your kids to college.
I don't see men and a woman ever coming to an agreement on what is fair when it comes to child support. But, with a little common sense, some good budgeting and doing what you have to do, both the mother and the father should be able to make it work for themselves and their children.