Sunday, February 05, 2006

Justifying child support

A reader writes:
Hey George, what I don't understand is why if you have 50/50 custody of the kids, and you both have jobs, and she is living with another man who takes care of her and the kids and is about to get married, why do you still have to pay child support?
I have gotten this question from others. People think that child support is based on the necessity of supporting the child, so there is no need for it if both parents are self-sufficient and equally sharing custody.

In fact, what is called "child support" is not really child support at all. It is an alimony system for equalizing the incomes of the parents, regardless of the needs of the child. The parents can spend the support money however they please, and it need not be spent on the children.

I know of a case where both parents are millionares, and yet the father still pays child support. The family court follows formulas applied to both incomes. If the custody if 50-50, then the parent with the larger income will always be ordered to pay the parent with the smaller income, if the latter parent demands it.

Yes, this system is absurd. If the parents are both making middle class salaries and sharing custody, then there should be no child support. That is the way it is in amicable divorces that I know. Court-ordered support payments make cooperation on child-rearing issues difficult.

I think that my ex-wife is doing this all out of spite. I was paying her generously before she went to court, and she does not need the money.


George said...

It should not be called "child support".

Anonymous said...

No kidding. In my IL case, I pay $2K monthly support on $7K monthly income, and I actually have 57% custody. Oh yeah, and I pay the $1K monthly childcare bill on top of that too.

In my case, if she didn't get the money, she would litigate to high heaven and probably estrange me from my kids. I long ago made the supposition that, in fact, I am simply purchasing my right to raise my own kids in my household.

What a croc the system is.