Child-Support Laws: A Boon for Gold Diggers?I hate to call it "child support". The law does not require or even expect the money to be spent on the children. It is impossible to spend that much money for the betterment of the kids. Yes, the mom can spend child support money on recreational drugs, altho there may be laws against particular drugs.
Experts say that flaws in the system punish poor parents and motivate others to have kids for money.
Just when it seemed Charlie Sheen's story couldn't get any more depressing for him, his fans and his family, things have managed to take a turn for the worse. His estranged wife, Brooke Mueller, has been admitted to rehab for drug addiction, something she's struggled with for years.
Despite the fact that her twin toddlers with Sheen have previously been cared for by his first wife, actress Denise Richards, during some of Mueller's previous stints in rehab, Mueller has attempted to have the twins removed from Richards' custody. The reason, Sheen's lawyers allege, is that the $55,000 a month in child support that Sheen is paying Mueller is her sole source of income.
Sheen's is not the first headline-grabbing child-support case. After a prolonged court battle, mogul Kirk Kerkorian paid $100,000 a month to support a child who was proven to have been fathered by someone else, while Halle Berry reportedly pays ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $240,000 a year in child support. But the Sheen battle is noteworthy because Mueller's latest stay in rehab seems to confirm that while she has received more money per month in child support than many Americans earn in a year, not all of that money has been spent to benefit her children. Some money has likely been spent on substances that may be to her, and their, detriment.
The Mueller case highlights challenges the legal system has struggled to address -- namely, how do we guarantee that child-support laws ensure children are adequately cared for, but that adults seeking to avoid their financial responsibilities and those attempting to use children for financial gain don't take advantage of the system? According to experts interviewed by The Root, America's child-support system is inherently flawed. It punishes poor parents while incentivizing women, and men, to have children with wealthy partners for long-term financial security, not just for their children but for themselves.Yes, the system has horrible incentives.
The article actually has an explanation of the formula:
Felder was referencing an established formula used to determine child support in New York. According to South Brooklyn Legal Services, the formula is calculated as follows: "After determining each parent's income, the court adds their incomes together and then multiplies that number by a percentage, depending on the number of children. Those percentages are: 17 percent for one child; 25 percent for two children; 29 percent for three children; 31 percent for four children; no less than 35 percent for five or more children.Bad as that is, California is worse. We pay 25 percent for one child and 40 percent for two children. I pay 55% because of non-formula add-ons.
"That amount is then divided between the two parents based on the proportion of each parent's income to the combined parental income. For example, if the noncustodial parent makes $60,000 a year and the custodial parent makes $20,000, the combined income would be $80,000 (the noncustodial parent's share is 75 percent, and the custodial parent's is 25 percent of the total)."
The article goes on to explain that parasites have no morals:
But also exacerbating the system are adults who try to abuse it. When asked if she believes there are people who have children for financial reasons, Middleton-Lewis replied, "The reality is yes -- unequivocally, yes." Middleton-Lewis, the author of a book ironically titled Girl Get That Child Support: Seeking Child Support Doesn't Make You a Gold Digger, added that this type of behavior is not limited to the 1 percent. "In certain distressed communities, someone working for the NYPD or New York Transit is a moneyed person." She explained that she has heard of individuals in these professions being sought out as fathers because their financial situation is viewed as stable.In California, a mom can use child-support money to live on her, to bet at the racetrack, or to invest for her retirement. That is not the case everywhere:
Child Support Versus Parental Support
Felder agreed with Middleton-Lewis that there are people who have children with wealthier individuals for financial reasons. "I represent a woman who had kids by two separate actors. It's how she supports herself," he said. But unlike Middleton-Lewis, Felder doesn't consider it an ethical issue but a philosophical one. "It's absolutely true that if you have a baby by an athlete or a celebrity, you can pretty much hit a homerun as far as support is concerned."
Middleton-Lewis noted that there are states that require an accounting of child-support funds. In Georgia, famed African-American attorney Willie Gary had his $336,000-a-year child-support payments to the mother of his twins lowered to $60,000 after an auditing of her financial records discovered that she used the payments to renovate her home, pay for the education of a child that was not his and, according to the judge, refused to seek employment despite holding a college degree and being in good health.