Would you pay support if it wasn't court ordered?

I think court ordered child support, while probably necessary, creates hostility between the parents and the child, and between the parents themselves.

When I divorced twelve years ago, gum baby was six, and I didn’t want her to ever feel like she was a financial obligation to either parent. Too many kids hear “well, you could have those new boots if your Dad would pay his support” or on the other side “well, your Mom should be able to afford those boots with all that money I’m paying her”

I set the divorce papers up to look like her Dad would have her half the time. (Oddly, it is hard in the current system to decline child support) There is also a clause in there saying we will both be responsible for half of any major expenses. I pay for her medical insurance (he is self employed) and in exchange I get to take her for tax purposes.

That’s the set up. Here is what actually happened.

For the first maybe three years, it was perfect. I have always paid more of her basic expenses because she has always lived with me, but he would take her out shopping for school clothes, give her spending money, and provide the extras that I couldn’t or wouldn’t.

He took her on vacation to Disney World and several other places and really made her feel like she mattered. I can’t describe how good it was for her self esteem when her Dad would pull up in the driveway unannounced and take her out to dinner or shopping just because he missed her.

Gradually, it all fell apart. He did less and less for her, and now doesn’t really have a relationship with her at all. BUT…in this case it was because he gradually fell into an alcoholic stupor, and over the years the roles reversed until the kid was taking care of the adult. Last June it got too ugly and she just couldn’t take any more.

I still feel like it was the very best for her while it worked, so I am wondering…(and be honest here) If it was not court ordered, how much would you support your child? More? Less? Would you restrict it to the child, or would you help out with your ex’s utility bill if needed?

Of course non-custodial parents shouldn’t have to pay child support- it’s just stupid. I mean, you put a kid out on the median with a “homeless and broke” sign, they’re going to rake in the dough. Fuck ‘em, they have other means. They don’t need their parents’ money.

Nothing says responsibility like buying her school clothes once a year, showing up unexpected to take the kid out to dinner, taking her on a few fun vacations, and letting the mother handle all the actual expenses of feeding and housing and raising a child.

The question is more for the non custodial parents I guess. How much would the monetary support you are putting toward your child change if it was voluntary? Would non custodial parents abdocate altogether and put the child “out on the median”?

I guess none of you have been ordered to lose a quarter of your paycheck before taxes just because you made poor mating decisions. The state was kind enough to garnish my wage as soon as the ink was dry on the divorce decree, bully for them. I still had to pay when their mom up and took off with them out of state against court orders, but did anything happen? Oh no, don’t be silly. And when the kids lived with me for 6 months while their mother looked for a job and a place to live (instead of her putting them out in the median) did I get any state financial support? Har har, a good one! I still had to pay her the money.

The family courts system is so biased against males it’s disgusting. Women get all kinds of moral and financial support and automatic custody no matter their parental worthiness, and men are seen as just cold-hearted Mr. Moneybags. Pay up for the crotch spawn, no matter what kind of a dad you are! Pay up! It’s no wonder child support is hard to enforce. What the hell’s the paying for someone you barely see anymore.

So no, I would not pay. I would ask her how much it’s actually costing to raise the kids and we would budget it out between us. My kids are already on my health insurance, and I pay for all kinds of incidentals. The girl is getting her license soon, I’m paying for her driver’s ed classes and insurance, her mom isn’t.

Raising our kids costs more than 1/4 of my spouse’s income before taxes. (Paying for a dwelling large enough to house them instead of a smaller place, food, transportation, clothing, school lunches, tutoring, medical deductibles, dental and orthodontia, activities, etc.) Yes, you should pay for your mating decisions.

Why? Could it be that it costs more than 1/4 of your wages to raise them?

Can a non-custodial step-parent chime in?

When the parents divorced, the child support awarded was a dollar amount, not a percent. The non-custoidal parent increased the child support with each increase in income, no lawyers, no court room, no arguments.

I’m a non-custodial parent paying monthly support that was not court ordered. There was some judicial involvement initially, when paternity was uncertain. Once that was cleared up, I agreed to begin making payments at the standard amount (calculation based on percentage of my income, per local family law). As/when my income changes, I notify the mother (with a few months advance notice, if possible) and adjust my payment accordingly. There was even a 9 month period where I was unemployed but offered and continued to make payments based on what I expected my income to be when I was able to legally work again (immigration).

My mother agreed not to go through the courts, and my dad never paid child support. She was fine with that, but honestly I’m not. We were poor, and it sucked, and he never lifted a finger to help his kid live a happy prosperous life.

Every single custodial or joint-custody father I know gets plenty of respect. And fathers who made an honest attempt to get custody and got screwed get all kinds of sympathy- I think we’ve had a few here. I agree that there needs to be reform so that fathers have an equal chance at custody. But really, you’ve never heard people railing about “irresponsible single mothers?” Check out the “Did this whole town rape a girl” thread.

Anyway, dads who decide they’d rather do whatever than be a father? Who don’t try to be a part of their kids life, or just want a few of the highlights and none of the tough stuff or actual emotional commitment? I think this does represent the majority or at least a healthy percentage of the situations where a man is paying child support. They don’t really want the hit on their dating life, career, freedom, etc. that being responsible for a kid entails. In those cases…yeah, pay up. You gotta give something.

Since any child I would have would have only been born under conditions of extreme imprisonment (I would have to be kept immobile in physical restraints and force fed). I would not pay a penny under any circumstances.

The kid’s non-custodial father won’t answer this question.

It would make him look bad.

Poor boy.

Okay, I’m probably going to get pummelled here by single mothers, but I don’t think my one child is that much of a financial burden. I bought a three bedroom fixer upper several years ago that her and I have renovated together. I don’t think my housing costs would be any less if it was just me. The electricity and water would be slightly less.

She eats, but I am already cooking for myself. I buy a big box of Froot Loops and a gallon of milk every week that I don’t touch. Six bucks, tops. I suppose clothing could be expensive if she was the type to need all the latest fashions, but she’s not and I wouldn’t indulge that anyway.

I am not advocating that fathers not support their children, I am just thinking there must be a better way. Not only are the fathers resenting having their wages garnished with no say as to how that money is spent, but do the kids appreciate the sacrifices that the non custodial parent makes for them when it is not obvious? Do the kids realize that when Mom buys them a pair of shoes, that Dad is helping make that possible through child support?

It might seem that it doesn’t really matter to the child where the money comes from as long as they have the shoes on their feet, but I don’t believe that. I think the child needs to know that both parents are invested in his well being.

It’s not a zero sum game.

There’s no reason to believe that a father will have contact with his child if he is not required to pay child support. Just like there’s no reason to believe that a father who pays court assessed child support is going to be a crappy father.

ETA: One of the gems the Kid’s paternal family has passed on is that he refuses to ever see her because it would make him feel even worse about not paying CS.

Divorced father of one 11-year old girl here, non-custodian parent. Divorce was finalized in 2002.

My ex-wife and our daughter live 3000 kilometres from me, in a different country. I have tried to be as often as possible with her, but unfortunately my chances to go there are not exactly plentiful. I have tried to be there for every birthday, and I was there for new year 2010.

I send every month 2500 EUR in child support. Unfortunately, my ex has recently gotten extremely angry with me, because she asked me for 5500 EUR to send our daughter to a holiday center in the region where they live, and I told her that unfortunately that amount was out of the question – I was literally unable to send that amount of money.

I offered that, instead of sending our daughter there, I could take her with me for 3 weeks or so, showing her around the Netherlands (where I live) and other places in Europe. My ex-wife went ballistic, and her last message to me was a single-line email saying “Your daughter has been informed, she was shocked, panicked, and said she wouldn’t go”. I haven’t been able to talk with my daughter directly about that.

I guess I just wanted to say that, sometimes, it seems as if custodial parents might appear to be taking advantage of the non-custodial parent. Which sucks.

I’ve kinda hated being suddenly lumped into the single mother demographic, because I’m doing all the stuff I was doing before except now I don’t have to clean up the ex’s life messes. The term hints of “pity me” and I hate that, but at the same time, that’s technically a term that could describe one aspect of me. So while I’m not going to pummel you, I am going to say that your kid sounds like she is currently about 18 years old, and that your ex was on good behavior for her ages 6-9. So it’s likely that you didn’t have child care or babysitting expenses while you went to work, and since right now she’s no longer a kid, can contribute to the household, so you’re in an OK place and got there all on your own. (It’s where I hope to be soon.) It’s harder while you’re in the middle of something to know it will turn out OK, and easier to look back at the end of something completed and think “See, that wasn’t too bad”

It’s rare that you find a mom living the high life on what the father is paying in child support*, it’s definitely NOT rare that there are fathers skipping out on their child support or doing all they can to avoid any payment whatsoever. Working off the books, using a different SS#, not working at all and mooching off of relatives/girlfriends. Sure, the courts frown on it and can put the legal smack down on them, but enforcement is what? Suspending their license? So they drive without one.

My ex voluntarily agreed to pay CS 2 years ago in court, and only paid for 4 weeks after that. I can have his wages garnished when I get the final stamp, but I am still waiting…

So, in essence I think (as in most things) unless it directly and adversely affects them, people often need to be shamed/forced into doing the right thing or it won’t really happen. I’m not saying the deadbeat parents don’t care for their kids, but they see their ex handling it and assume it’s not necessary, or take muted glee in the fact that it will make their exes life more difficult.

In the extremely unlikely case that my ex had custody of the boys, I would be paying child support willingly, living frugally as usual and looking for other ways to increase my income, like a second job.

*with the exception of a few trainwreck stories, some of them recounted on this board

Would and did. I asked to have it included in the divorce decree, with a drop dead age of 18 for each child. When age 18 rolled around, I stopped the payments, and my ex squealed like a stuck pig. Yo, bitch, that’s what you agreed to. Not to mention you got all the furniture and both cars. So suck on it.

Okay, let me ask you…do you have a relationship with your kids? If so, now that you no longer pay support to the ex, are you willing to spend money on your kids? If you don’t have a good relationship with your kids, did the mandated support contribute to the problem?

I know there are some people that can go through their life with no inclination to do anything for their kids or even acknowledge their existence. But for otherwise involved and loving parents, I am wondering if the resentment stems from the WAY they are forced to contribute, with no say whatsoever in how the money is spent.

The thing I keep coming back to is thet you don’t see your child as making a large difference in your life and your arrangement worked (for a while).

That isn’t the reality for most single parents (and I’m including custodial dads in that).

I know of plenty of non-custodial parents who willingly pay their CS because it means there is *less *hostility with the custodial parent. Easier access to the kids because the custodial parent is under less financial stress.

Did you pick up that Chefguy was not court ordered, the somewhat hostile sounding '“suck on it” attitude was with a voluntary payment scheme?

I have a great relationship with my kids, have paid for weddings (and divorce), helped out with debt, and intervened in a drug addiction. And we all talk on Facebook. In fact, I’m going to my youngest’s wedding in May.

I agree with miamouse and maggenpye . I am not a single parent but both of our kids have definitely had a financial impact. Daycare costs, diapers, formula etc have been significant. Furthermore, we have no family in the area so juggling sick kids/school holidays/daycare holidays etc has been really tough and that’s with two parents. Extra curricular activities have also been tough from both a financial and logistical perspective.

FWIW, my older daughter is six and this year has been a lot easier financially.