How Much Child Support?
Submitted by: Kelley Graham
As a citizen of the United States I propose that Americans are being victimized by the child support enforcement system and for our protection we must request that the law limit the amounts and effects of child support.
We are well aware of the continuous advertising about "criminals" not paying their child support. However the prescribed solution to collection of this support has been unreasonable, unfeeling and overbearing.
Our society may have deteriorated to the point of money being the primary focus of most people's lives, but what happened to spending time with our children? Isn't that important? Non-custodial parents are subjected to exorbitant support amounts with no concern over their rights to visitation.
One might not feel that way unless they've gotten on the wrong side of the child enforcement system (in other words, become a non-custodial parent). You'll find out soon enough that you are nothing but a Golden Goose to them. Keep your mouth shut, your wallet open and don't bring up the subject of denied visitation and you'll get along famously.
The slogan "Don't you love your children? Then pay your support." is often touted by the "child support collection agencies", all in the name of "taking care of your children". Collecting child support in America has become big business. The agency makes poundage, about 2% of the payment in the state I live in. That in itself adds up to a hefty profit, despite the agencies' protests to the contrary. In addition to the poundage, the states benefit because they dump their welfare problem into the non-custodial parent's lap. You can bet that no one will put any time or financial limits to protect the non-custodial parent the same way the states are putting limits on what they pay to welfare recipients.
Support amounts have gotten way out of hand (Thus increasing poundage received by the agencies). It only costs a certain amount to raise a child per month. Just ask your state welfare agencies and they can tell you what that amount is. It's all THEY are willing to pay. If it only costs that amount, why should the non-custodial parent HAVE to pay more? Actually, because the non-custodial parent is (supposedly) only responsible for half of the cost of raising the child, why should they have to pay more than half of the amount determined by state welfare agencies? Okay, okay, we all know the propaganda about - if the non-custodial parent has a substantial income the child should benefit from that. The child should live in the same standard as the non-custodial parent. It's a swell idea until you consider that paying more money cannot bring the child's standard of living up to the non-custodial parent's without the custodial parent (and other new family members) sharing the wealth. Should the non-custodial parent have his standard of living ground to the barest minimum so that he or she can support the ex-spouse and their new family? Didn't divorce end that obligation?
I realize that there are some cases where one spouse may have put the other through school or similar circumstances. Cases like these should be eligible for additional money. However it is an alimony issue, not a child support issue.
Should the non-custodial parent share his or her wealth with the child? Of course. Just as any good parent should. But should they be forced to share? Undivorced parents would put limitations on how their money was spent for their children. Yet with one little court order the non-custodial parent loses that right. They have no ability to choose to save for college for their child or to buy extra nice gifts for their child. Of course they can try to do these things - but it will come out of whatever money is left over after the support is whisked out of their pay. The custodial parent may do as they please, with no accountability. The support agencies say, "That is at their discretion. The child will someday know what they've done." Doesn't that work the other way? If the non-custodial parent isn't generous with their abundance won't the child know too? If you love your children you will want them to have good things. If you do not love your children no agency nor amount of money can provide enough for your children. When ceilings are placed on support the child will be just like children of two parent families - at the mercy of the love and good judgement of it's parents. Not always perfect but pretty normal.
When there is some respect for the non-custodial parent's rights and ability to live in the lifestyle they earned, enforcement of visitation rights and custody orders and REASONABLE support amounts set then we can say it is being done for the well being of the child.
I propose that we demand that our congressmen and representatives take action to:
1. Limit child support to the same amount the state is willing to pay for welfare, per child. In cases where there is more than one child the custodial parent should receive the same amount the state would pay for two children or three - according to the number of children.
2. In cases of denied visitation the non-custodial parent should have the same rights to legal representation as the custodial parent. If the state provides support collection services for the custodial parent then in all fairness they should also provide the non-custodial parent with visitation enforcement services. In the event that visitation is denied the support should be held in an account (not paid to the custodial parent) until the issue is resolved. If the custodial parent has wrongfully withheld visitation the non-custodial parent should receive part, if not all the support money back as a damage award. The money can in no way make up for the time lost with the child but it is a small compensation as well as a deterrent for the denial of future visitation.
3. Eliminate child support enforcement agency involvement with any non-custodial parent that is up to date with their payments. It is uneccessary - despite the protests of the self propagating support enforcement agencies.
If you agree with this letter, please pass it on to everyone you know and to your congressman and representative. Non-custodial parents may feel like they are in the minority on this issue - until you realize that for every custodial parent there has to be a non-cutsodial parent. The odds are even - if we take action. Support from non-custodial parents isn't enough though - the public needs to be educated to what is really going on with child support issues. Unless the general public is exposed to the truth (and not the glorified stories of the support collection agencies) they will not support this. So please - pass it on so non-custodial parents can have their lives back!