I can’t count the number of emails I receive from men telling me how unfair the laws are regarding child support. Referring to the laws in all different states, all the stories are very different, but the comments basically say the same things:
- My wife was the one who wanted a divorce
- It’s unfair that I have to pay her every month. The kids spend a lot of time with me.
- Why do I have to pay HER?
- She’s ruined all of our lives-herself, me and the kids.
- She’s selfish
- She’s a bitch.
- She doesn’t appreciate me giving her the money.
- She needs to get off her lazy ass and get a job.
- She’s a freeloader.
- She’s spending the money on herself-not the kids.
That is HIS side.
I can’t count the number of emails I receive from women telling me how much they are struggling, and how even with the child support they receive, they can’t make ends meet. Again, every woman’s story is different, but here is what I hear over and over again:
- He left me for his now wife.
- He was the one who told me to be a stay-at-home mom and now, try getting a job after you’ve been out of the workforce for years. Not to mention, the kids are still too young to leave home all day.
- He thinks I don’t appreciate it.
- He has plenty of money-more than he’ll ever need and still, he can’t stand giving me a dime.
- I’ve had to go back to court many times because he stops paying and doesn’t think I will spend money on attorneys to go after him.
- He hides his income-won’t show me documents required to be shown by law because he wants me to think he is struggling for money.
- He is angry, bitter and hates me, even though he is remarried with stepchildren.
- He thinks I should ask my parents for money or the guy I’m dating.
- He is constantly trying to cheat me out of the amount I am entitled to by law.
- He has no idea how much I am struggling.
That is HER side.
Here is what I want to say to:
The bottom line is that every situation is different. There are women who leave their husbands and then completely take advantage of the law, make tons of demands and feel entitled to the money. It’s awful and frustrating, and I can see how a man could become infuriated by this.
That said, so many women struggle to find work, especially a job where she can balance children. A man recently wrote in and stated, “I can’t believe I have to pay for her bills. Even if she didn’t have kids, she would have living expenses, rent, heat, air, utilities, etc.” I couldn’t believe it. I wrote back, “Don’t you think if she didn’t have kids she might live in a smaller place? And how about food, clothing, activities, etc. for the kids??”
Men, Please try to remember that paying child support is the law. You might not like it and you might not think it’s fair, but I’m sure there are many other laws you don’t like or think are fair either. Paying income and/or real estate taxes is the law. Paying a parking ticket is a law. You just do it. So, what’s the problem? Do you expect your ex-wife to say, “Honey, it’s OK. Don’t worry about paying me. You don’t have to follow the law. I’ll figure out a way to support OUR children on my own. I’d be willing to bet that your ex wife isn’t sitting home on her ass all day enjoying your monthly check and laughing that she doesn’t have to work. She IS worried about it because it is difficult to stay afloat, even with a job AND child support. Please stop the bitterness and anger. It doesn’t help you to hate your spouse because you have to hand her a check every month. It also doesn’t help your kids. They sense your deep seeded hatred. Oh, and if you are unwilling to show your ex any documentation of what you make or any other document required to be shown to her by law, ask yourself why that is. Is it the principle? I don’t think so. Your wife (and attorneys and the judge) will make you show it eventually, and if you are hiding something, you will look really, really bad.
Women, Child support shouldn’t be your means to live. It is meant to be a supplement. The reality of divorce is that most women have to return to the workforce, and hopefully that’s not a bad thing! Going back to work has more benefits than you can imagine that go far beyond money. These include self-worth, a sense of accomplishment, mental stimulation and of course, the people you meet. It is nice if you can thank your ex-husband for a child support check. Even though you are entitled by law, there should never be a sense of personal entitlement. This is the time to get tough and make your own money to contribute to raising your kids and giving them the best life you can.
Here’s the thing. Divorce is so darn complicated and I can’t even imagine having to give someone who left you a check every month. I’m sure it’s really really hard. But, just remember, you are giving it to your kids. I am sure I am going to get comments that will dispute this, but it’s true. And if you make the child support issue unpleasant, remember that your kids are in the middle of your battle.
In closing, this is a question I want both men and women to ask yourselves is, “Do you love your kids more than you hate your spouse?” If so, following the child support laws should be a no-brainer.