I know plenty has been said about child support. I know there are many articles, and perhaps not enough, from a single mother's perspective.
I can list the facts:
-women still make less than men
-single parent families are the most highly employed and have the lowest incomes in the United States
-108 billion dollars is owed in back child support, half of that to welfare
-Family court has mixed policies on child support
-child support enforcement is an under-funded, highly inefficient system
-deadbeat dads are tolerated and even celebrated
-a man can spend more on court than on his kids, can hide money, and can slip out of child support through lying...it's not that hard to work the system
Not too many people stop to consider what happens to a single mother who is not getting child support from an able-bodied, completely employable man. The question becomes one of, who is supporting the children?
If we have this system that works to create poverty in the home of one parent, and supports the other parent's efforts to create poverty, then who takes care of the children?
A well-funded man does not need the help of his community to support his children. Everyone pulls for a single dad and he has cash work practically thrown at his feet to "not pay that bitch a dime."
There are the millionaires who quit their jobs to make sure they "don't pay that Bitch a dime."
There are the men who wheel and deal and conveniently hide assets in a timely manner so they "don't pay that Bitch a dime."
There are the men who fudge the numbers and take the cash to "not pay that bitch a dime."
There are the men who shell out $800 for a legal transcript, but won't pay $40 for a child's need, in order to "not pay that bitch a dime."
A single mother often has to count on her community...through public assistance, the kindness of other folks who are generous and loving, and community resources such as the Lion's Club. The hard truth is that a well-funded man, with the assistance of the system that makes it a policy to not set child support or enforce child support that is already set, can place the burdens of supporting his children on the community. He counts on others to take up the slack for him instead of his taking responsibility for himself or having pride.
"Here, world," he says. "You take care of my kids. I have to punish their mother. "
Directly and indirectly a single irresponsible father burdens the community, through financially and emotionally abusive behaviors. Refusing to co-parent is abusive because it sets an example of disrespect and contempt for a child's mother. Lying to get out of paying child support and using the family courts to bully a mother is abusive because it has no consideration for the children or the community it affects. It abuses the children by proxy. It takes their quality of life away, and gives the message that a mother is a replaceable, irrelevant object to be bullied and demeaned. By doing this, he actually makes himself an impediment to his own children. They ultimately bear the brunt of his irresponsibility.
Family court has other concerns. For instance, simple math is ignored. A man can legally spend more on attorneys and court fees than on his children, and still be believed when he cries "poor!I'm poor!"
I am one person, and I am doing what I can to speak up and write and submit writing and get the question out: Do we, the people, honestly want this burden of single mothers?
Do we, as a country, really get on board with this deliberate creation of poverty? Do we, as a country, think it is ok to let men go off on their vacations with their nice shoes and homes while their children lose a great part of their childhood? Is an able-bodied father supporting children a priority through public and legal policies or should we just do away with the whole system in all honesty? Are we really wanting to take up the slack for these lost childhoods and stressed out mothers?
If not, are we willing to shake up the system and prioritize our children? Are we willing to examine our attitudes about single mothers and give up judgement and victim blaming? Can we please support mothers to do better than their mothers and leave men who are abusive and psychopathic? Can we please stop being fooled?
Is that the choice, really? Who on earth is looking out for the children?