It is not uncommon for acceptance, humility, and clarity to come to me while I am driving. While I was out driving to and fro today, I thought about a young woman and her situation. I found myself trying to mentally defend the child support/custody system. That is when my moment came.
There is no defense for this system!
Giving the benefit of the doubt, I can only assume that the original thought behind child support enforcement was to stop non-custodial parents (namely fathers) from financially neglecting their children. That enforcement is still in place today, however, in my personal, humble, but correct opinion, the fathers of today are not what they were when the enforcement became law. Yes, there are still plenty of fathers out there that, if they could, would have absolutely nothing to do with their children. Absolutely. I agree that those sperm donors are still in existence. They just want to stick and move. They have no conscious, morality, or sense of obligation to even desire a relationship with their offspring at any point of their life. For those sperm donors, the system was designed for and should thereby be kept in place. Those are not the fathers I am referring to.
I am referring to the fathers of today. The fathers that want to do for their children. The fathers that want to be involved in their child’s life. The fathers that want to have a genuine father-child relationship. The fathers that regardless of what their relationship is with the child’s mother, desires not to forsake their child. The fathers that do or desire to contribute to the fullness and richness of their child’s life.
These fathers, the fathers of today, are more prevalent than they were when the system was instituted. These fathers were probably around when the system began but they weren’t single fathers. These fathers of yesterday married the mother of their child often while she was still pregnant. Today, these fathers, and mothers, are choosing not to marry simply because they have a child together. I, for one, think that is a wise decision.
Here’s the problem…well here is one problem. They system has not caught up with the fathers of today!
Today, the system treats a sperm donor and a father the same way. Today, it doesn’t matter how consistently good a father has been at being involved physically and/or financially in his child’s life because at the end of the day, he gets shafted. Also, the mother’s of today are not the mother’s of yesterday. The mother’s of yesterday said, it doesn’t matter if he does anything or not for this baby (financially speaking), I will take care of my child. Today’s mother’s (aka baby mama’s) want to fill out child support paper work as soon as the two lines appear on the stick! Mother’s of today use the child as leverage to getting the father to do what they want, how they want, and when they want. Granted, the custodial parent (mother) will know more about the child because the child lives under their roof and they see them all the time. However, that knowledge does not give any mother the right to regulate how, when, where, and why a father is involved in his child’s life!
Not all Mommies are like this just like not all men are sperm donors. I think it is proportionate growth. As the father’s of today increase, so do the number of “baby mama’s”. As the number of sperm donors increase, so do the mother’s of yesterday. It seems like the father’s of today choose the wrong women to have a baby with and today’s mother’s of yesterday choose the wrong men to let inside of them.
Money (child support) does not solve any problems! First of all, the child will always be in need of something. Secondly, the empty space that the $ystem is trying to fill is the disconnect that is caused by the child being raised by one parent in one household while the other parent is on the outside looking in. The space will not be filled that way! The child needs both parents involvement physically, emotionally, and mentally even more than financially. Money is not a cure-all! There is no child support check big enough to “fix” anything.
However, the system is the system. It does what it says its going to do. It enforces child support. It starts as soon as the paper work is submitted and it doesn’t end until death (heaven forbid) of the child or parent, or the child turns 18 (or, in my state, 19 if the child is enrolled in college). If a momma gets pissed off and decided to fill out the papers, it’s done. It doesn’t matter what the father did or didn’t do up to this point. The system isn’t designed for him. It’s designed for sperm donors, which in turn means it’s designed for the mother’s benefit.
The mother could have acted a plum fool. She will still get everything she sought out to get even if she was benevolent. The father could have been belligerent and cruel. He will still leave mediation or the court room with whatever he would have left with if he didn’t act that way. The mother could be living in a halfway house with no plan on what to do when she has to leave and she will still be granted custody. The father could have a home with empty bedrooms and he will still have to fight just to have bi-weekly visitation.
The consequences of sin are far-reaching. You don’t even realize how far its arm is until the years start to pass.
The system sucks.
My advice? Don’t get involved in it. If you are already involved? Don’t get involved with it again.