March 19

Another Way to Execute Child Support

Into the Rabbit Hole

I have been thinking about this idea. It isn’t completely flushed out as of yet. It stems from trying to find the middle ground on child support. Getting rid of the heavy handed approach that indentures one parent to the other through the children, but still allows for legally demanded funding for the children’s well being. I am not throwing away the core principle that I don’t believe that there is a way to administer child support that doesn’t limit the freedom of one of the parents involved.

So first lets get this out of the way. Women who aren’t married and having children should not be entitled to any support of any kind. I don’t say this with malice, just as a point in fact that they know what the behavior is to get pregnant, and they are the party with the most to lose financially by that decision. If they don’t know, I don’t care, the law should presume that someone old enough to have sex is also old enough to be informed. Our schools already do a pretty good job of making sure kids know this at a young age, whether you agree with that part of education or not, it is reasonable to assume that there is a basic core knowledge imparted to kids of a capable age that they are informed. The woman by having the child has assumed responsibility for the child. The man would have automatic shared legal custody, and shared parenting time available to him. He would have the choice to exercise this right, but there should be some way for her to be legally indemnify herself if he chooses not to, so she can make decisions as the sole legal guardian. The parent caring for the child is responsible for the normal costs while caring for the child. Now I don’t let the man off the hook, because I think he bears no responsibility, but because he has no power up until the time he is allowed to participate in the child’s life. I also don’t accept that most men would just walk out on their kids. Most men are going to make sure their kids are taken care of without the threat of jack booted thugs and prison. Mom would be responsible for education and medical expenses, but I assure you that most men of character will be taking up a good part of the slack, if for no other reason that with the money goes the power. They want a say in their kids life, and not paying for things takes away that say. This is a concept lost in most discussions on child support. Child support as it functions today takes away the father’s say in most things, because he pays mom to make those decisions. This part of the idea is that women will need to be responsible for their actions. Right now they are not. Its a fact that women are the gatekeepers of sex, so they have the final choice of whether sex is going to happen. I wager under these terms, there are far fewer unwed births, and women will be more concerned with the character of the man with his penis in her, than his abs and penis length or even his checking ballence. I don’t want to hear anything about rape. Rape is a violent crime, and it should be treated as such, and it is such a small percentage of these cases that writing law to account for rape as if its the norm treats every man as a rapist. That’s un-American.

The next part of this is for married couples going through divorce. Now we will presume that they have through the contract of marriage agreed to raise the children together. One parent will get designated the responsible parent for what is often referred to as direct expenses. That parent by default should be the higher wage earner, because they are best equipped to pay the expenses if for some reason the other parent isn’t keeping up with the judgement against them. The lesser wage earner will then through the marital settlement provide for their portion of direct expenses. It could be through an unequal division of assets or a judgement against them based simply on the current costs of school and medical check ups for the remaining years the kids haven’t reached the age of majority. The assumption being that its up to the parent paying to set aside the money and let it grow with interest to cover inflation, and that in a judgement there would be interest penalties for the amount of time it takes to pay off the judgement to cover those costs. An agreement to split additional medical costs for the kids will be included in the divorce settlement. Presumed shared residency, unless the parties agree differently. Time doesn’t change the financial arrangements in this. If there is a judgement, and the lesser wage earner is unable or unwilling to pay, then seeking civil court remedies for payment would be the course. It would provide a significant incentive to have the issue fully settled during the divorce, and not have the judgement. What the parents earn doesn’t matter. Just where they live to determine the expenses for the kids.

This all of course means that Title IV provisions for child support would have to be thrown out. If you didn’t have a previous contract a.k.a. marriage contract to raise a family together, then you have no legal recourse for any support of the kids. This has two side effects; less promiscuity and out of wedlock births; no more enslaving a man for a bad choice for 18 years or more. It encourages women to seek a secure relationship before having sex with a man, and it encourages the ones who don’t to form a good parenting relationship with the father of their child. He now has a choice to be involved or not. A woman who isn’t holding him hostage through the courts is much more likely to have an agreeable co-parent. The second part just means that when the divorce is over, its over. Its all decided. There is no going back to get more from the cookie jar. The parent most able to pay has been put in the position to pay. They are jointly responsible for raising the kids, and for middle class and better families it will be mean there is no more money changing hands. The poorer will have to deal with the judgement, but it will work much like a credit debt. Which yes, means that it will be bankrupt-able. I might propose that bankruptcy laws put child support judgement at the top of the list for repayment through bankruptcy, but nothing further than that. It would pretty much eliminate the woman who has children with multiple men and then lives off child support. These women are almost always the lower earner in the couple(regardless of the income bracket), and thus will need to maintain a job to pay the judgement. Now if the parent responsible for paying expenses is not doing so, then a civil case should be opened, and the remaining judgement should be reversed and put on the higher earning parent, and the lower earning parent would now have the responsibility to pay for the so called direct expenses.

As for the time the parents have with the kids, well this should be presumed as being equal and up to the parents to figure out. The court should not maintain an open case to deal with this. If there is a problem that the parents can’t manage, it should be a new case each time, and the court should be very careful about limiting time. There would be no need to file anything with the court regarding the time parents have, because there is no money issues to go along with it. The court should only manage cases where the parents cannot.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

March 7

Child Support Changes Everything

E3 2010 PS3 Motion - This Changes Everything

I get tired of the trite argument that a man needs to support his kids. First of all, why is it suddenly the governments business how I choose to support my kids. Why is it as a man married to the mother of my children, I have freedom, but if I am not married to her, I do not. This sets the stage for what no man wants to admit. We are disposable. We don’t matter. Society does not value us. Our freedom is either determined by either having no children or the type of connection we have with the mother of our children. Once there are children involved, then their mother has almost all the say in the amount of freedom we have. She can often decide the nature of the relationship you will have with your children. She can decide if you are her wage slave through the children. If you were never married to her, you have even less power in how these things are decided. I cannot explain how heavy the burden is of paying child support. If you have never had to pay child support, then you will not understand. I hope that you never do. Many men just accept it, and move on. It is the way things are. I for some reason cannot do that. I am not built that way, I guess. I cannot get over the fact that my value in my kids life is boiled down to some fraction of my salary. This is what matters most. Worst of all, none of this gets checked by higher courts. Divorce court isn’t truly a court of law, though they have been given legal authority to rule on many aspects of our life. It is also sad that so much of this revolves around the amount of time you spend with your kids. The kids standard of living becomes the business of the court in the USA. A lot of evil has come from this idea.

Lets examine CS a little bit. I will use my case for sample numbers, but I will be running some different scenarios as I use these numbers. Mom earns $57,000 and Dad earn $90,000 for this example. We have four kids where one between 6 and 11 and three between 12 and 18. We will assume that for tax estimates purposes that The dad’s tax rate is around 30% and the Mom’s is around 25%.

MOM HAS FULL RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$2,404.00 $2,846.00 $2,404.00 $5,966.50

Mom is responsible for 100% of direct expenses which currently seem to be school related expenses only.
Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%
Mom is responsible for clothing

This scenario is where most men currently land. They may have equal time, but the term given to it is liberal visitation.  Mom has roughly $72K/year to spend as she pleases. This is the equivalent of someone who earns $93K/year. Dad on the other hand has roughly $34K/year to spend as he pleases. This is the equivalent of someone who earns $43K/year.  Some people might think, not bad for a single guy. There is only one problem. He is still more responsible for medical costs than mom is.  There is also very little he can do to enforce that mom provide enough clothing for the kids when they are at his house, and he has to maintain a house that is large enough for all these kids or he won’t be allowed near equal time. Here is the other problem. She has 100% of the decision making power, because she has all the money to spend for the kids. Forget all the mess about shared legal custody. Its the person who pays the bills who gets the say in this world.  Dad has been relegated to baby sitter in his kids lives, or at least legally that is what he is.  The rest is up to mom.  It is rare, but yes the reverse could happen the following table shows the numbers if dad has full residential custody.  Mom ends of with the spending power of someone who earns around $30K/year, and dad ends up with the spending power of someone who earns around $106K/year. Its no where near the imbalance that you see when money goes from the lesser earner to the greater earner, but I would argue that is equally as unfair. The Dad then become responsible for clothes and direct expenses and the split on health care stays the same.

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support $1,524.00 $6,774.00 -$1,524.00 $2,038.50

MOM AND DAD HAVE SHARED RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$1,147.00 $4,103.00 $1,147.00 $4,709.50

Mom is responsible for 100% of direct expenses which currently seem to be school related expenses only.
Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%
Mom is responsible for clothing

This scenario is better.  Mom has the spending power of someone earning $71K/year and dad has the spending power of someone earning  $62K/year. Typically the man is held to account for extra-curricular activities here. Usually split or at the same percentage as health care. This is something that in the above scenario is usually true, but its not enforced. I have found that it is marginally cheaper for the dad, because there are more expenses, and now he must have a home large enough for everyone.  What we have is a major income shift for a minimal amount of expenses.  It doesn’t look like much, but spread it across the year and you have over $7K/year difference. The expenses related directly to public schooling are not that expensive. They are probably half of that or just a little more if you are paying for school lunches, which depending on your agreement and judge may or may not be considered a direct expense. It certainly is possible for mom to decide that lunches will be packed, and transfer the expense of providing lunches to the dad on dad’s days with the kids regardless of how it is interpreted by the judge.  There is a better balance in this scenario. She can still choose not to provide enough clothing, and you are left with little recourse, but to purchase clothing on your own.  What is most bothersome is that she is never actually responsible for children’s expenses.  Dad pays mom to then pay her portion, and then dad pays his portion. The expenses of the children are 100% covered by the father, and the father supplements the lifestyle of the mother’s household while also supporting his own. Shared residency in my state requires that the higher earner pay child support unless the court rules otherwise. The court almost never does, but if it did, she would $0 in child support to the father.

MOM AND DAD HAVE SHARED RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY AND EACH PARENT BUYS CLOTHING:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$1,068.00 $4,182.00 $1,068.00 $4,630.50

Mom is responsible for 100% of direct expenses which currently seem to be school related expenses only.
Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%

It gets better. This is about the same as above with the exception you now have to buy clothing for the kids as the father.  For 4 kids this is $79/month.  This is not a lot, but realistically it would meet the basic needs for having the kids half the time. Again if you flip who pays direct expenses then Dad gets $0 in child support.  Mom has the spending power of someone who earns around $70K/year and dad has the spending power of someone who earns about $63K/year.

MOM AND DAD HAVE SHARED RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY AND EACH PARENT BUYS CLOTHING AND THEY SHARE DIRECT EXPENSES:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$440.00 $4,810.00 $440.00 $4,002.50

Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%
Dad is responsible for 60% of direct expenses and mom is responsible for 40%

This one is the most telling. Basically it says that dad, because he makes more money is responsible for paying mom $440/month or just over $5K/year to improve her lifestyle.  In our life this is about the same as the kids typical expenses would be with extra-curricular activities. Mom has the spending power of someone who earns $60K/year and dad has the spending power of someone who earns $72K/year.  What stands out to me, is she is never required to spend any of her own earned money on the children. She gets the money from dad to spend on the kids, and then dad also has to pay.

Why Does it Matter

There are plenty of reasons that CS is evil.  There is the aspect that it indentures the father to the mother until the children are grown.  Understand this isn’t an overstatement. This was its intent. CS started in an era where women were responsible for raising the kids with the man’s resources. A woman who was divorced was not going to be able to raise the kids. If a man abandoned his family, then the state was saying he was going to be held to account for them. This was also an era where if the man divorced the woman, and chose to keep the kids, he would be allowed to, and she would have to find her own way.  None of this fits the modern era. Men are active parents. I would argue that they always were to some degree. It was only in the early years that men didn’t take an active role in the child rearing. Men and women may have had very different roles in raising children, but men were active. If they weren’t then there would be far fewer fond memories written about and shared about fathers.  CS ultimately delivers the power to the recipient. They are given the power of the other person’s pocketbook, and its enforced by the power of the state.  This is evil. For the government to decide, in a free society, that one person matters more than another is evil.   CD tells one parent that your kids are going to cost you  a specific amount of money based on what you earn, and the other parent is going to determine how to spend that. The other parent has no accountability as to how much they actually spend on the children, and a frugal woman can keep most of the money for her own use. The argument that all the money benefits the child may be true, but it is equally true that if the father kept  the money in a shared residency circumstance. Its just that the mother doesn’t benefit.  It is also evil that the party that chooses to terminate the relationship stands to benefit from the other party in the termination.

I want to play with the numbers some more. I want to see what point does her raising her income become a benefit. Just a cursory glance shows that she would need a significant jump in income to make up for the lost child support with an increase.  Since increasing her income would mean working more hours and having more responsibility, there is significant friction to her taking any action to better her life on her own. Only a woman who is long sighted enough to realize that the money falls off quickly, and they will have to live off what they earn when the kids are grown will see the benefit of earning enough to eliminate most of the child support that is paid to them. Look for a future number crunching post to show how that might play out.

Ten-Foured,

JeD