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.
As a man that got blindsided and have literally spent every freaking dime I have just to keep my daughter in her native state (to date) I completely agree with your post. Luckily I live in at state (Indiana) that is fairer than most when it comes to child support. It’s not arbitrarily left up to a judge to decide as it’s 100% income based. My whole beef though is I want my kid 50/50 and NO judge should have the power or authority to take that away from any parent (unless said parent is a criminal or has other issues). Throw in my ex was remarried to a deadbeat within six months of our divorce and moved to another state why does the burden of proof fall on me why she should stay in Indiana? Why do I have to pay for part of a Guardian Ad Litem it’s grossly expensive and neither I nor my daughter chose for her to potentially live in another state. That’s why many men are bitter with the whole family law (cash grab) system.
Wow! Without you signing your name to this article I would have “NO” (sarcastic) idea that this article was written from the point of view of a woman. Please take a moment and re-read each statement you make to both the men and the women you are directing this to. Your remarks to the men are, how can I put this, harsh, full of satire, demanding, and down right rude. “It’s the law” and “So what’s the problem?” Many more…basically the whole paragraph. Yet you set the tone with the women as gentle, soothing, and contributing to their feelings/needs. “These include self-worth, a sense of accomplishment, mental stimulation and of course, the people you meet.” Really!! Here is where I take major exception to your article. “Child support shouldn’t be your means to live. (Agreed) It is meant to be a supplement.” (NO), you are incorrect and that statement is incorrect. Child Support is just what it’s called and should be…CHILD support. Any and all funds ordered by a court should go to the raising/needs of the child. Not a new car payment, not a mortgage, not new shoes, a dress, …I think you get the point. The reason I say this is the man is often left with trying to figure out how he can afford a decent place after CS for his children to come to see him during the brief times when he is allowed to see them. There is no financial support for the man during those visits and he is still required to pay CS by the “law” for the time when he gets his children.. Also, if a man is ordered by “law” to show what he makes, then it should be a law that a woman must provide the same, as well as the new man if there is one, and she should also be required by law to show where the CS funds were spent. The LAW is BS and one sided. Has always been that way. I am not even divorced yet but have done my research. You see there is no support for the man (Me), with 3 sons, who is a good father, was a decent husband, took care of his family, bought them everything, met every need within his abilities, drove a 10 year old car while he bought his wife 3 new cars over those 10 years, was FAITHFUL! I could go on and on. There is no avenue for the man (me again) who’s wife had multiple affairs over the marriage, the last of which she was sneaking out of the house, out windows, lying, hiding, leaving our children alone at times, and is now pregnant and still lives in our home because the “law” will not allow us to get divorced while she is pregnant even though there is no WAY on this earth that the child is mine. Like you referenced in the beginning of your article, “all stories are different”, the problem is the out come has, is, and always will be the same!!!
I know many women that get divorced and have a full time career with young children because that’s what they have to do to support their family. I don’t know anyone that expects to see regular documentation as to their ex’s income or continues to go to court post-divorce. Why would anyone do that? It’s not healthy for parents or the children. Move on with your life! I think this is very poor advice to both men and women. You are scolding men and encouraging women to be dependent on their ex’s and refuse to work. Very disillusioned.
Just wanted to say there are those of us who don’t take advantage of the laws or the ex.
My ex was reliable in the child support through 18 years and I chose to let him know how it was applied to the welfare of our child (always to our rent without fail – and no, it did not cover all the rent).
Though the ex earned better money than I, I chose not to have child support increased when I was legally able because earning more money didn’t mean he wasn’t struggling and I was and am a decent human being.
No, we weren’t friends – most of the time not even on the same page about things! However, we both made the choice to do what was best for our child in spite of otherwise being like oil and water.
The author is correct in that sooner or later, regardless of who caused or chose the path of divorce, to regain a healthy perspective in life, we all need to move forward and drop the baggage we carry. And yes, I carried it, too. Change had to come in me as we all know we can’t change others. It was difficult, took time, but worth it. Are the ex and I friends now? Nope – still think the ex is mostly as ass, but we still parent together as needed for our now 26 year old child! The good news is that ass hasn’t been mine for 25.75 years!
Thanks for writing this and trying to show both sides of the story. Not every situation is the same and each person is going to see it from their side. Divorce is never fun for all parties involved.