I am unapologetically pro-woman, pro-children and pro-child support collection. Yeah, that’s right, I said it.
Survey Says!: More custodial moms than custodial dads
Despite a steady push towards the “father’s rights movement” especially as these rights pertain to custody, it is empirically clear that regardless of divorce, or never-married status, when a relationship ends, over 85% of the time it’s the woman who is left holding the baby. While single parenting stats have shifted over the past few years, they haven’t shifted all that much. When I started in the business of being a child support consultant over twenty years ago, over 90% of the time, it was moms who became primary caretaker of the children. In over twenty years of time, the aforementioned shift only resulted in about a 5% difference in custodial care. The needle has not moved in any significant way.
Because Moms largely make up the custodial pool and are charged with the daily care of our children, -feeding, clothing, being on the front end of schooling, car-pooling, extra-curricular activities – you name it – you would think that would mean that moms would be supported through the process and if the other parent isn’t pulling his share of the load, that there would be some process in place through culture and societal pressure to guarantee (not shoot for or hope that) the financial support of our most precious resources – our children. You would think.
But that ain’t the case.
Unpaid child support in the U.S.
Have you seen the numbers? I mean, have you actually seen what’s going on out there? Our kids and the mothers (mostly) who are raising them are owed over $110 BILLION in child support arrears. There are non-paying parents out there shirking the system and their offspring and nobody wants to do anything about the dirty elephant in the living room. The state agencies throw their hands in the air and insist that they are doing all that they can do, but yet they can’t find the non-payors and they can’t make them pay. Also often heard is – you can’t get blood from a stone. Blah blah. I don’t buy it.
Don’t tell me that there is nothing that the government can do about these hundreds of thousands of kids who are not getting the opportunities that they deserve because their non-paying parent doesn’t feel like being mature, responsible and accountable to someone outside of his own mirror. I guarantee you that if this money was owed by these same individuals but instead it was tax dollars owed to the federal government instead of to their hungry children, Uncle Sam would find a way to get his paws on his dough. Through some fluke of nature however, because over $110 Billion is owed to the kids and the women who are raising them and sacrificing their savings and retirement dollars so that they can make ends meet, this obscene amount of money doesn’t rank so high. $110 Billion is no small amount of money. The entire country of Greece owed $352.7 Billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before they got their bailout. That’s a lot of sneakers and lunch money…not to mention medical bills and rent.
Non-custodial parents have “reasons” for non-payment and not wanting to pay
In 20 years time, I’ve heard all of the “reasons” that payors don’t want to pay. Here are a few:
• They want an accounting of how the support money is being spent.
• The mother of the child is a “bad mother” and spends the support monies on her herself.
• The mother only wants child support money to “spite” the non-payor because he doesn’t want a relationship with her anymore.
• The non-payors think (or at least they say) that the mother is living high off of the hog on their child support check and says that mom needs to get another job because nobody needs “that much money to raise a child” -whatever that amounts happens to be.
• …on and on ad naseam.
You know what? For all of those out there who are making up excuses instead of being responsible parents, I have a message for you: Pay your child support. You owe it; so pay it.
Our society allows the mistreatment
We women are historically handed the short end of the stick. Despite the fact that pay inequity remains, we represent half of the workforce, we are the household breadwinners in four out of every ten households in the U.S., and we have more college and graduate degrees than men do, we still earn just 78 cents on the dollar than White men (Black and Latina women earn just 67 cents), and we are raising your future leaders. Women have to work 469 days to earn the same as a man who works 365 days. Top that off with the “motherhood penalty” for being a mother in the first place and earning less than non-mothers and we are already behind the eight-ball.
Kids need and deserve to have both of their parents in their lives if both parents are fit and each parent deserves the chance to play a vital role in raising their kids. There is no substitution for a mother or a father. When that is not possible, they need that cold hard cash that is owed to them so that they can have the life that they deserve. Because a man’s standard of living goes up after a divorce and the standard of living for women and children goes down, this support needs to be paid so that custodial parents are not bled dry in the process of raising their children and children are properly supported.
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