Making Child Support Optional for Men?

A fathers’ rights group says child support should be optional for men just like abortion and adoption are optional for women. Here’s an article about it from the Houston Chronicle, and here’s another from the Detroit News. The argument is simple: women who get pregnant have the option to get an abortion, to place the child up for adoption, or to carry the child to term. Men don’t have any options; the mother gets to make all the decisions. The group plans to file a lawsuit in federal court this morning, dubbed “Roe v. Wade for Men.”

Here’s a little from the Detroit News article:

“More than three decades ago, Roe v. Wade gave women control of their reproductive lives but nothing in the law changed for men. …Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception,” said Mel Feit, the director on the National Center for Men. “But men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice as the price of intimacy.”

“This is ridiculous,” said Leslie Sorkhe, director of operations for the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support. “This is about the child, a child that needs the emotional as well as the financial support of both parents. The child is entitled to his or her equal protection under the law.”

Renee Beeker of Milford, legislative vice president for National Organization for Women’s Michigan chapter, says the lawsuit implies that the burden of pregnancy prevention is solely on the woman.

“In the event of an unintended pregnancy, the needs of the child must be met,” Beeker said.

And here’s a little from the AP:

State courts have ruled in the past that any inequity experienced by men like Dubay [the father] is outweighed by society’s interest in ensuring that children get financial support from two parents. Melanie Jacobs, a Michigan State University law professor, said the federal court might rule similarly in Dubay’s case.

“The courts are trying to say it may not be so fair that this gentleman has to support a child he didn’t want, but it’s less fair to say society has to pay the support,” she said.

Lee’s Note: I have my own thoughts about this. You can read them here.

10 comments

  1. Lee, I read your thoughts on this issue and I have a question. You addressed that nature
    chose the woman to carry children the law did not. Should nature not also decide whether
    the child lives or dies and not the law or the mother.

    “So the law intrudes to protect the rights of the child against both the mother and the
    father. Is it unfair? Perhaps. Is it unfair to adults who have power and get to make
    decisions rather than unfair to children who don’t? Yes.”

    You talk about rights of the child, what about the childs right to live. The child has no
    input in this decision either, but the mother does. Very complicated issues.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Lee,

    My concern is on the women that have learned to play the system toward their advantage.

    My situation is a carbon-copy of countless others I have heard about.

    My X decided she no longer wanted to be married to me any longer so she filed for a divorce. Not knowing that much about the law, I opted to be the non-custodial parent due to my stringent work hours. I didn’t know however that the court systems were extremely biased toward men. They (the court systems and my lawyer) expected me to just lie down and take it. Well, that is pretty much how it went.

    Now I am struggling to support my second family financially and the court systems are unwilling to show ANY compassion toward my current situation. My two children from my first marriage have been receiving child support from me without fail since before the divorce was final. This child support included fees to pay for daycare (which wasn’t being used for daycare from my understanding). I tried to have this resolved once in the court system to no avail (representing myself). I am in the middle of a second attempt for a child support adjustment (using a lawyer to represent me this time [of which I really cannot afford]).

    Please don’t hear me wrong. I am willing to pay my child support (which by the way, I don’t feel is accurately calculated [fair] by the state of Alabama in their Rule 32). My problem is paying for the residuals without regard to the full truth by the custodial parent. I believe they should periodically provide proof of ALL expenses related to finances and the children and make appropriate changes to these child support obligations as necessary. I also feel I could have done more for my children financially had I been given some choices in this type of situation. As it is, I am financially unable to provide ANY monies for my children above and beyond that of my child support obligation due to the amount of financial stress I am under to pay just what is required by the state (plus daycare expenses).

    What are your thoughts on situations in which the fathers that are trying to do the right thing and are still getting screwed by the system?

  3. Janel says:

    I can understand your fustration, however I am remarried to someone who has two children from a previous marriage and he does pay a
    high amount of support and sometimes we do without to take care of them. But they came first in his life before me and I knew what I was
    getting into when I made the choice to marry him. But I also contribute to my marriage and do not require the support of my current husband. Hopefully your current wife is able to do the same to help with stabilizing the income that is going out. Your children should be first and you should feel proud that your taking care of them in a manner that someone else doesn’t have to take your place in caring for your children. They will one day be grown and your support will no longer be necessary, but you would have struggled yourself through life (as a parent should) to care for them when they were young.

  4. Teena says:

    I am female and have been on both sides of the fence, payee and payor. What really needs to be addressed and changed in Virginia’s child support laws is in the shared custody formula for child support. The non-custodial parent gets a so called credit for time spent with children if time is over a certain amount of days per year, if the non-custodial parent does not spend that time with the child then the child support is automatically at the higher amount (makes sense).

    On the other hand, the custodial parent lies to the court about child care expenses, court refuses to accept Corporate day care statement (Minnie Land one year history) from the non-custodial parent, there is no penalty/adjustment if custodial parent does not spend the amount represented to the court – or within a reasonable dollar amount. In this case the ex claimed over $10,000 per year day care expenses, 2 children in elementary school full time, custodial parent working 32 hours per week during the day 6-1/2 hrs, non-custodial parenting time is over 120 days per year (every other weekend friday after school to monday morning, every other 2 weeks over summer vacation, every other winter/spring break, and when the ex is sick or out of town-quite often). All of this while the non-custodial grosses $34,500 per year, pays 100% of medical and dental premiums and 50% of unreimbursed medical and dental.

    I believe that Virginia law should allow/add a provision that if the custodial parent asks for day care expenses in their monthly support and it is granted, the custodial parent should have to spend that amount(or within $500) per year. If the custodial parent does not spend that amount the difference should be refunded to the non-custodial parent.

    There are 2 records with social service for the custodial parent leaving the children home alone, unsupervised, they have done nothing to that person. The custodia parent left them home alone in 2003 when they were 6 and 9 (she got out of that one I believe because her uncle was the sheriff of Fauquier County and her dad a retired Fairfax County cop), then again when they were 8 & 11. She has also left the 8 year old home alone to babysit the new baby when the baby was just 3 months old.

    The best part, once the new order for $775 per month got ordered the custodial quits their job, leaves her live-in boyfriend, moves in with another guy within 6 months, marries him and has another child with him. (Yes, the judge allowed her to live with another man without the benefit of marriage, however the non-custodial has been scolded by the judge for cutting his sons hair and was told he is not allowed to cut his childrens hair).

    The man is allowed to donate the sperm to create them, donate $775 per month plus all other previosly mentioned and can’t even cut his sons hair. Yes, the judge set the hair cut incident for trial, the hair cut was the same as the custodial parent kept it.

    Most recent, the custodial denied a weekend visitation, non-custodial brought custodial in for a show cause, custodial said the children had been abused by a family member of the non-custodial. The custodial parent under sworm testimony said she reported this to Social Services. The judge asked what the outcome was of the social services investigation, she said there hasn’t been one because the non-custodial’s family member is refusing to return social services phone calls. Anyone who knows anything about social services they give out no information to anyone. After court called social services gave all info to contact family memeber, social services said that if a report had been filed and they were trying to get a hold of someone and 4 months later they still haven’t returned a phone call they would be knocking on that persons door. We left all family members contact info and 2 months later still have not hear from social services.

    Non-custodial did not get make up parenting time – judge denied it. I believe that if either parent; custodial or non-custodial is going to bring up abuse allegations they should have to bring something to court, doesn’t matter if its a police report, social services, counselor, pictures, something. This custodial parent had nothing and even let the non-custodial resume visitation 2 weeks after the denail for supposed abuse by a family member that had been going on for quite some time. (The denial happened in October, show cause paper work done by November, court in February). So the custodial manipulated the system again.

    Face it quite a few (not all) custodial parents are out for revenge on the ex, not the best interest of the child/children.

  5. ricky says:

    i think childsupport is bs. First you under the assumtion that you re living with said partner and as long as all is well there is no need for this. But 4 years down the road the said mother finds she can rake in extra money if she ditches you and files child support, so now not only does set mother get money from random men and able to take care of herself, you are nto allowed to see the child and you pay support and medical and daycare and she still recives state assistance. So now me and my current wife and unborn child are damn near living on the streets while she sits on a pedistal like a queen and has everythign in life and my child i am supporting still wears the same ragged clothing
    and underweight, but oklahoma favors women and because i have a penis it does nto matter how i live my life as long as her and the child are taken care of, child support is nto only child support it is mommy support. mom can buy where ever she wants, does nto have to provide documentation for what is purchased and there is nothign i can do about it but live the next 16 years of my life in hell paying for a child i can never see. This stresses my current pregnate wife out and may lose the baby due to this on going stress. life is fucked

  6. Victoria says:

    I am female, and absolutely agreee with the facts that women do get to make all the choices and men do get stuck paying for it. I am sick of it!! Women want pro choice and want independence, they want to raise kids on their own, excluding a father figure from the home. However, they want all the hand outs for the money they feel they are owed. Women ultimately have the choice, if you don’t think you can support a child and raise him on your own, then use birth control! How many men get trapped from women “using the pill” My work place is a classic example of women using the system. These woman make over $700.00 weekly cash plus a paycheck of another $150.00 weekly. So that is approx 850.00 a week in cash they take home, but yet they are getting their daycare paid for by the state, food stamps, and child support. How many of these men are bringing home cash of less then $850.00? We have to pay taxes, child support, and everyone elses public aid because they work the system.

  7. LSBeene says:

    My body my choice ….. his paycheck.

    I wonder if women were denied access to their kids, while being threatened with jail for non-payment of child support if so many women would be gleeful about the arrangement.

    Get rid of the man, and hold out your hand … more social programs means more votes and intergenerational slavery known as wellfare. And then the entitlement mentality creeps in, and they are OWED for their lives.

    It’s amazing how many women have this attitude.

  8. rebecca says:

    What about the single moms who get no child support at all!!! Well I guess that’s what made me the man I am today!!!!!

  9. MM McGee says:

    It’s perfectly fair to say that society should bear the costs since society created the problem.

    If moms don’t want dads in their lives, then they’re just going to have to work it out on their own.

    80% of divorces are initiated by women. When a CEO fails to fulfill a contract, we hate the golden parachute he gets paid.

    No difference.

    The MRAs are absolutely right here.

    You sign a contract, you break that contract, you no longer get access to funds. You don’t want your husband to raise your child, you don’t get to continue controlling a percentage of your husband’s life.

    If you want to be alone, leave him (and his money) alone. Make it on your own and be actually independent like you keep saying your are.

    If your child suffers, it’s because of your own selfishness.

    Cheers!

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