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?