The New Child Support Guidelines

Guidelines in downtown Ann Arbor

I have been reading through the new guidelines handed down by our state supreme court based on congresses push for more shared parenting arrangements in my state. They are the typical if your lawyer is smarter than mine, I can still screw you complex, but at the core they do seek a fairer outcome of events. The goal is clearly that father’s will not be pushed off to some living circumstance that is sub-standard to the mother’s and still be expected to provide for the kids while they are together. It is interesting the way it handles who gets child support, and is thus required to pay direct expenses for the children. The parent who has the lower child support obligation will receive child support from the other parent, and be responsible for paying direct expenses.

Why would this be? Wouldn’t shuffling less money make more sense? It would if we weren’t mired in politics. There are two things that are satisfied by this method. One, the feminists can’t complain much. Women generally are the lower income winner, so they will almost always come out being the one receiving moneys. Two, the state is paid for processing the disbursements by the federal government based on the dollars that go through their hands. The more money through, the more they get paid, so having the larger amount go makes sound economic sense if you are the government.

I really hate how the federal government has messed things up. It makes it hard for the states to make the right choices. The best thing, if we are assuming that child support is necessary, to do would be to have the couple open an account for direct expenses to be paid out of, and have each parent contribute their portion of child support to it. The whichever parent is hit with the need to pay for something, they have the funds available to do so. Its not a perfect solution, and would need some work on my part to flush out, but think about the possibilities.

So much of the advice to women, when the subject of something in lieu of child support is mentioned, is to avoid it. That is its merely a way for the ex to control you. There is probably some truth to this in many cases. The flip side is true as well. How many women take child support, and spend it however they please. They spend it as if it were their money, not money for the kids, and then tell the kids that they can’t do something, because their dad won’t pay for it and she doesn’t have money. He gets manipulated into giving even more of his fortune up for things he theoretically has already paid for. This is why I am a fan of spending plans, and working together. Each may manipulate the other some, but each parent retains some degree of control over their own funds, and can make things work for them.

The whole process is manipulation and power grabs. Most people would work better together, if it didn’t seem like such a big deal to get it right before you even start for real. My wife and I have been navigating this on our own for the last year or more. We generally have made it work. There have been problems, but we have worked it out. No one has court orders or other things to make us be fair. She is a high conflict personality and we still seem to be able to make things work. Yes I have to use my 15 years of experience with her to know when and how to ask or push for something, but that is life. I chose her for better or for worse to be my children’s mom. I would hope that I didn’t choose so badly, that I can’t figure it out without a bunch of government interference. Yes it is frustrating that her lifestyle is propped up by my income, but that is something that would happen regardless of the scenario at this point. The law is twisted based on a lot of ideas about what is best for the kids, so there isn’t much that can be done about that today.