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.