The Government, Child Support, and Backwards Thinking

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child support

Last week, WIM posted two articles concerning child support.  One was from a man’s point of view and the other from a woman’s.  It should’ve been expected that each gender would have differing views on the topic.  Somewhat surprisingly, there were people in the comment sections of each piece that agreed with the other sex’s views.  As a guy who pays child support, it was nice to see the support from some of the women.  However, there is another party involved with child support, and I don’t mean the child.

It’s the government.

The government is the entity that has instituted the archaic laws that govern the child support (CS) system.  The laws and policies were initially meant to ensure that children were taken care of in the event the parents of said children ever split.  In theory, the idea was good.  In practice, however, these laws have caused more problems for non-custodial parents, mostly men but also women, than assisting children.  These laws have arguably made the child support system more adversarial than it needs to be.

Don’t believe me?  Go down to the child support division of your local courthouse and witness the name calling and attitudes present.  Some of these actions come from the way people generally behave.  The rest come from how people interact with the system.  Granted, if a man’s (or woman’s) mindset is set on what’s being taken from them, versus the good of the child, then problems are going to be had regardless.  However, for the folks who are trying to do right, or doing the best they can, but they need a helping hand, the government has ways of “dealing” with them too.

An aspect of child support law that gets overlooked many times is that it can be tied into state or city benefits, especially if a child is receiving the benefits.  This was news to me until a close friend of mine informed me that his wife told him she was filing for child support.  He and his wife are not separated, not headed for divorce, and have a generally okay marriage.  For her to tell him she was filing for child support threw him for a loop.  To say he had a “what the hell” moment is putting it mildly.

He needed context for her doing so, and he also needed to make sure that things between them hadn’t changed, and him not notice.  After talking to her, he got a bit more clarity, and he better understands how the CS system can screw somebody.

When my friend and his wife found out that she was pregnant, they were, of course, ecstatic.  The two of them had been trying for awhile to have a child, and it finally appeared to be happening.  Neither of them had health insurance, so she applied for Medicaid or Medicare (I get them confused).  The state granted the coverage for her and their soon to be child.  After she had their baby, the coverage was extended until the baby turned one years old.  This is where things made a 90 degree turn.

For their child to keep the benefits past year one, as neither had been able to get health insurance yet (Obamacare isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), the Department of Social Services (DSS) notified her that she would have to file a child support claim.  Needless to say, her husbamd was flabbergasted. The way the state has the rules set up, if a child is receiving state benefits, somebody has to pay.  That somebody is my boy.  He isn’t a dead beat dad who does’t do what he can to take care of his wife and child nor is he the type of man who wants to game the system.  They only applied because his wife, and the baby, needed help.  Now, he’s in a catch-22.

What’s a man to do?

Either his wife doesn’t file for the child support, and the baby loses the benefits, or she does, and even though it’s for their child’s benefit, a strain will be formed in their marriage.  What was initially a helping hand has become an albatross around my friend’s neck.  Even if she doesn’t file the papers, there is a chance that the government will go after him for the money.  The government doesn’t differentiate between a married couple who is struggling, and two people who had a child and are now adversaries in taking care of said child.

All it knows is that if the state is putting out money, the money will be recouped somehow.  The emotional strain that will be on their marriage is a concern.  It could cause them to split up.  And what would that lead to?  Extended state benefits, and possibly resulting in aforementioned foolish actions described above.  See how the cycle could get started?  Can you see how what should be a help is really the first nail in the coffin?

By no means am I conspiracy theorist.  But to say that the laws and policies governing child support aren’t a hindrance to progressive moves is a stretch.  I really have no idea how to separate the dead beats who aren’t doing anything from the people who are trying to make it work.  I do know that forcing a married couple’s hands, for the benefit of their child, isn’t the wisest move to ensure that one of the supposed building blocks of a strong society, marriage, stays strong.  If too much force is applied, bonds will break, and the cyclical breakdown may begin.

-D.G.

Did you know that state benefits were tied to child support?  Have you ever known married couples where a wife was basically forced to file for child support from her husband, even though they weren’t breaking up?  Is the couple still together?

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  • Southerngyrl_

    Ok, they found out she was pregnant and were happy because they had been trying a while, but neither of them have health insurance? Huh?

    I am sorry, but this stuck out to me the most. It seems all of this wouldn't have even been an issue if they had health insurance.

    FYI – I did know state benefits were tied up with child support. No, I have never heard of any instances where a married couple (still together) had child support issues like that. The lack of health insurance is the wild card in this situation. I strongly suggest they check out some of the health insurance options available to them and figure something out. Seriously.

    • Smilez_920

      I thought that two at first. maybe they lost their benefits or jobs right before she became pregnant. Or maybe the health insurance they once had did'nt cover child birth. Some people's medical plans don't cover GYN visits/ hospital cost that comes with child birth

      • Southerngyrl_

        I have never heard of an insurance plan that doesn't cover child birth or gynecological visits and I've had some really bad health insurance in my lifetime. There may be some, but childbirth is one of the staples for even the most basic health insurance.

        • Smielz_920

          Maybe the GYN visit but the actual child birth and hospital stay, there are a good many that don't or if they do the out of pocket is ridiculous. Usually with a lot of married couples, if one person's insurances doesn’t cover it, the other partner's insurance might. I know a couple that had a child and the mother’s health insurance didn’t cover child birth cost, luckily the fathers did.

        • Southerngyrl_

          Regardless, the bigger issue is lack of insurance, everything else is secondary.

        • InsomniaPoet

          Actually many health insurance plans do not cover OB. They will cover Gyn services but not OB. Particularly BCBS/GA, Kaiser etc. Many people pay their premiums and assume that the "basic coverage" include OB and they don't find out otherwise until they are ALREADY pregnant. AND if you call your provider they will tell you to pay an increased premium for OB and that the increase must be paid for 12 months prior to the coverage going into effect.

        • Southerngyrl_

          Okay, I will concede that maybe basic health insurance sucks. I checked out the page for BCBS/GA and it is grim. Reminds me of why I cannot stand BCBS in certain states. I've had them in 2 different states, but it was all through my employer, so my plans were much better.

          I always check all of my info during open enrollment to make sure they cover everything I need and that nothing is being changed. If you have a family or plan to have a family, you shouldn't even be looking at basic plans. I am single, and when I thought I would be out of work, I didn't even look at basic plans.

          To be honest, I've never worked anywhere that offered basic plans. They usually give 2-3 options. A high deductible plan, a PPO, and maybe and HMO. All of the plans are generally comprehensive and provide different coverage for in-network and out-of-network plans, but they all have had childbirth, ob-gyn, adoption and Infertility coverage.

          My concern here is there was no coverage from the start. None. I can't wrap my mind around it.

      • SMilez_920

        too*

    • danielle

      ok everyone if the woman is not collecting a welfare check she will receive all the money that they grant her so take the insurance start child support and the money will come back in to the family hello do u think that the system keeps the money

  • J.Crawford

    I knew that state benefits were tied to CS- at least in Ohio they let you know upfront. Like I said in the Males's POV article, I wasn't even around or aware that I had a Child ( I won't tell the story again, so people will have to go to the article and read it themselves). What I didn't say in that post was that my Daughter's Mothr was on Medicaid and was getting Food Stamps- while she still lived with her Mother, and for her to keep those (as her Mom's employer covering her, my Daughter's Mother and my Child ) she had to move out on her own, be dropped off her Mother's coverage and find the Biological Father-Me.

    I

    • J. Crawford

      I knew a Married Couple that was in this situation- a Childhood Mentor and her Husband, and at the time I sympathized for them and was on Her Side, she was my Mentor. Their marriage ended 10 months after the CS order was established because everything else in their household- mortgage, buying food, maiintaing their house- was costly and as my Mentor's job didn't pay enough for her to hel, the bulk of things were left to her Husband, while he Also was Paying CS. He felt that he couldn't have the Household suffer as he Himself was Suffering so the filed for Divorce. My Mentor declined the Alimony as she realized how trying to help their Son was actually Hurting him and their Family, though he does help with the maintaining of the house, still pays CS, got an apartment , and other things. IDK if the mortgage on the house is paid off, nor do I know if eithr one of them remarried.

  • Smielz_920

    I didn’t know that’s how it worked for married couples. I remember someone was telling me that in the (40’s 50’s please don’t exact quote me on the time period) but in order for a mother to receive benefits for a child, the father couldn’t be in the household

    But as far as in other non martial situations, the state feels that a man should provide for his child. So if the state has to step in and help and the father is present, then daddy needs to step up, the government feel they are not here to take care of an able body, present man’s responsibilities.

    I don’t necessarily think this set up is right or wrong, I’m kind of indifferent. I mean for a man trying to not give any financial help for his child, this is good, but in situations like your friend’s this really hurts the family structure.

  • ToshaDevon

    Sooooo I actually work for the agency who provides the benefits that this couple is trying to receive. I also have a child. I have to pay for my child's insurance because I am above the income bracket (irony). I've been a single mother since she was born and paid for it since she was born. Because of the same situation the above mentioned couple is facing. In order to receive benefits (that the state would pay for) my child's father would have to be put on child support. At the time I didn't want to cause him (which was stupid) any undue stress. Now that left me footing the bill. But I footed it because it was my child. The sad part is…he gets to pay as much or as little as he likes as long as there is no court order. Finally, we had to go to court to get a child support order because I was doing everything myself. This is pretty much how the govertment feels. There are men out here who are doing absolutely nothing for these children while the women are applying for state/federal benefits. Somebody has to be held accountable for these children.

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    "In theory, the idea was good. In practice, however, these laws have caused more problems for non-custodial parents, mostly men but also women, than assisting children."

    There it is. The intentions they had with child support were good. But we know where the road paved with good intentions leads.

    • J. Crawford

      ["In theory, the idea was good. In practice, however, these laws have caused more problems for non-custodial parents, mostly men but also women, than assisting children."

      There it is. The intentions they had with child support were good. But we know where the road paved with good intentions leads. ]

      This is what the NRA and much of the pro- Gun Supporters feel about new background checks, and better registration on purchased guns, and better and accountable Mental Health screening- which in all honesty is Much Needed, IMHO. I'm not trying to compare the two issues, just saying the rationale of overreaching is the same. The difference is that the new Gun Control measures Aren't as Nobody is trying to repeal the 2nd Amendment…… but the Government's role in Assisting Children HAS Overreached, and Not for the Greater Good

      • Uncle Hugh, BP

        I'd agree, but at the same time, what do you do? Some guys will completely run into the night and pretend like they don't know the kid exists, while the mother is struggling with everything on her own. At the same time, even when the parents have a good relationship, CS gets involved and screws up a good arrangement.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonyoardee @Tonyoardee

    So yall decided to get married and have children with no health insurance? something about this story isnt adding up

  • InsomniaPoet

    I think many of the commentors here live very privileged lives. Health insurance is NOT a given in this country. That's what that whole universal health care debate has been about. Many people are working and living without adequate coverage and those people shouldn't be faulted for living their lives as best they can. In the ideal world we can say everyone should have x in the savings account, own a house and have adequate health coverage BEFORE getting pregnant but that's not reality.

    That being said – in GA child support is directly related to receiving government benefits. If you get medicaid, peachcare, food stamps, WIC – then DHR is going to file the child support case against the named baby daddy whether the baby mama wants them to or not. It's unfortunate but I think it is very necessary. It is unfair to expect the "people" to provide for these children through their tax dollars if/when the parents are able but unwilling to do it themselves. Where our tax dollars go needs to be accounted for on some level. So married or otherwise, if you are asking for government $ they should look at EVERYthing including your sperm donor's income and whereabouts.

    As for the couple mentioned in the original post, I don't understand how putting the Husband on child support will put a strain on their relationship. If they are happily married, the husband being put on child support for the sole purpose of providing sufficient health care for this child shouldn't cause ANY strain on the relationship. I don't at all understand how/why it could/would.

    • http://twitter.com/Tonyoardee @Tonyoardee

      its not a fact of privilege, its them being smart about it.. why decide to get married and have children if you cant afford it?

    • TheseWords

      It makes absolutely no sense to be "trying for a baby" knowing that you can't afford healthcare but at the same time expect taxpayers to foot the bill. Medicaid and other forms of assistance are there to help people get on their feet in worst case scenarios, not as a plan A.

      • TheseWords

        And that's coming from someone who grew up without a pot to piss in.

  • Poetic Justice

    This is incorrect. If the mother chooses not to cooperate with child support, medicaid/medical will no longer cover her, the child is still eligible for benefits!

  • PBinLosAngeles

    Within the colorblind, anti-father, anti-male structure of the Gestapo's known as the family law and child support collection industries, the mythical “best interest of the child“ is just that, a myth.
    California will receive $504 million federal dollars for its child support collection and case management efforts over the course of the current 2012/2013 fiscal year.
    Let’s be clear: That federal money is earmarked for child support collection and case management efforts ONLY! If you couple that with the fact that the only federally funded study ever conducted on the subject of child support showed that – when employed – men pay between 83 and 91% of all court ordered child support, you begin to see the big picture; what are the tax payers financing?
    Not incidentally, in U.S. divorce and custody cases, mothers are awarded primary physical custody of minor children – when such children are involved – over 90% of the time.

  • PBinLosAngeles

    Further, those federal funds never make their way into the lives of children of divorce or impoverished kids, instead financing the salaries, paid vacation time, medical benefits and pensions of those employed by – or retired from – the afore mentioned Gestapo’s.
    Consider, in California alone we have over 8,000 men paying child support for children that DNA evidence has proven they didn’t father. To emancipate those men from this assigned debt would put the state at risk of losing all – or a good portion – of the massive – annual – federal subsidy it receives for child support collection; at the risk of stating the obvious, California is but one of fifty!
    "Change"? Gimme a break

  • Porshia

    Im kind of lost. If they are married and he is put on child support then the cs check will come to her no? If the cs check comes to her then it is then back into their household so whats the issue. Also if everyone who couldn't afford insurance waited to have kids then a lot of us wouldn't be here. Yes its a smart decision to wait but im not knocking someone who doesn't. Reality is that no matter what there will just be some people who don't do as well in life and I just cant see myself telling them that they cant have kids. As long as they can feed and house them im okay with them getting help throughout a pregnancy or for the kid when it comes to insurance. Iv met some really good people who would raise great kids and if all they needed was health insurance for a bit then I don't look at them funny at all.

  • http://dgtucson.com/ Lincoln

    I am very happy to know the The Government, Child Support, and Backwards Thinking actually every country government should take extra care for child because they are future a country.

  • http://www.babysteals.com.au/ carternick

    Nice article about the child care, its a very good thing for the children that they got the facility from the government. If every government think about this matter and support the children then it will be better for everybody, now there are many type of policy are given by the government for the children for improving them and make a good carrier for the future.