Forgiving $38,750 in Child Support, for My Kids’ Sake


Should everyone support his or her children? Yes. Is court-ordered “child support” supporting your children? NO one knows. 

Can someone tell me the what law requires court-ordered child support to be spent on the child? I didn’t think so. 

The amount of “child support” ordered by family court has no relationship to the real cost of supporting a child. States use formulas that have no correlation to the actual costs associated with raising kids.

Using the term “child support” is a useful euphemism to cover up a massive extortion scheme that harms fathers and their children, families and freedom. 

I could go deeper into my thoughts but I’ve already done that here:

Check out this piece from the New York Times. Here is an excerpt:

Earlier this year, I spent three hours sitting on a hard, wooden bench in the Queens County Family Court, waiting for a judge to approve my petition to forgive $38,750 in child support arrears from my ex-husband. 

The judge said, “Well this is a rare one,” then asked me several times if I was aware of what I was doing and if I had received legal counsel. When I told my single mom friends, they looked at me as if I had committed an act of treason. “Child support is all we have!” one friend exclaimed. 

Is it?

This was not a decision for divorce lawyers or court clerks. Or the unofficial single moms club, for that matter. This was about redefining what child support really is, for our family — and it’s a redefinition that other families should consider.

We have too often reduced nonresidential fathers to being weighed and judged by a financial transaction. If you don’t pay, you’re a “dead beat.” End of one story, beginning of a new one, one that can mean suspended drivers’ licenses and professional licenses, seized bank deposits and tax refunds, and the very real risk of jail time. The family of Walter Scott, who was fatally shot in the back following a traffic stop, speculates that a similar narrative led him to flee the police, fearing another lost job and another jail stint. It can also mean some mothers blocking access to children (called “pay per view”) and children becoming pawns in a game that puts their development and psychological well-being on the line.

For many, many reasons, I was determined to ensure that our family story did not include any version of that too-common series of events. Studies prove that school-age children of involved fathers have better academic success, higher grade point averages and go on to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement. We focus on money, when “child support” also means emotional support, academic support and the supportive power of a male influence in a child’s life. Negating that value is dangerous to our children. Regardless of what I think of him, my children love their father and doing my part to keep that feeling alive is priceless to me. 

As mothers we would never want our value to be trivialized to a dollar amount. But fathers are often reduced to being an accessory parent — nice to have around, but not essential as long as a good mother stands in. In the seven years since my divorce, my ex-husband (or “wasband” as I like to call him) has always given our children his time, whether he had money or not. He currently makes payments to me directly when he is able. 

But his arrears have accumulated during years when he was unemployed or underemployed and either paid less than the monthly payment ($600) granted when we divorced, or nothing at all. So when our children were young, after our separation and early in our divorce, I negotiated new currencies such as additional time when I needed child care, meal preparation, haircuts and even helping with home repairs, instead of acting as if a cash payment was all he had to offer our children. The look on their faces when he came to pick them up was more than worth it. 

But last June, my daughter graduated from middle school. She wanted nothing more than for her father, who has moved back to his native England, to attend her graduation. (Our children spend 6 weeks there with him every summer.) He could not travel to the United States to attend, he and his new wife said, because of his child support arrears and subsequent arrest warrants.

My daughter was beyond disappointed that he wasn’t there. I would have paid the $38,000 myself if I could to remove that look from her face. What I could do was to be sure it didn’t happen again, and take the words “arrest warrant” out of the language my children associate with their father. I don’t want the father of my children to be criminalized or to live in fear of prison. I don’t want the letters from Child Support Enforcement coming to my home nor the pamphlets marketing legal services to help me get my owed child support. This is dangerous subliminal messaging for my daughter and my son.

So I sat on the bench.

My children have (almost) always wanted to see their father. Whether he paid or not did not really matter to them. Yes, it mattered to me, especially during those difficult years after divorce when money was tight. But I have scraped to get by, and I view him as having been unable to pay, not unwilling. But our broken system lumps both kinds of fathers together in the same prison-bound barrel.

Read the rest HERE:

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