THE BLOG
11/29/2010 10:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Child Support Doesn't Always Support

The amount of child support and the amount of visitation are not measures of each other. This is a fact, and not always a fair one. But, should they be equitable?

While I was going through my divorce, my attorney warned me numerous times that the courts do not like to hear a woman ask for less child support and expect less visitation, in fact, she warned me to not even bring the two things up in the same sentence. Now, I am no expert or a divorce attorney, and I certainly don't know the laws in every single state. But, in Texas, the courts don't equate child support and visitation.

Is this fair? Most women will scream to the heavens that if he doesn't pay child support he should not have any rights regarding the kids, and especially no visitation. From an emotional standpoint, I say, absolutely! Emotionally, I believe that if a father does not pay for his children, then he should not get to see them. But, that response is not based on reason and the Judges in this world judge by reason and law.

Let's look at this from the male perspective. Sometimes there are circumstances that are beyond their control, right? It could be a loss of job or a reduction in income. And, there is a contingent of fathers who believe that since they don't see the kids often or maybe at all, why should they pay? And the still smaller number of fathers who believe since they are no longer married, they are not responsible and do not need to support their wife and kids new lives, while still maintaining a relationship with those kids.

There is also the flip side, those fathers that pay and pay and pay and then never get to see their kids at all. Is this fair to them? Not at all. But, what do we know of each and every situation? Was there abuse, neglect or just general apathy regarding the kids and visitation? Or, is it just an angry ex wife who wants to punish the father for leaving or getting remarried? A mother who does not want their children to be around another woman because they are threatened? There are too many unanswered questions to truly understand why the flip side occurs.

Which is better? Well, I think every woman will agree that getting the money without having the hassle of the father in the picture is the best scenario, but it certainly is not the best scenario for the kids. And, I think some men will think it is better to be able to pay as little as possible and have complete access to the children, which is also not in the best interest of the children.

Children need to have a relationship with both parents, and most courts will allow the father a relationship with the children whether they pay or not. It is what it is, as unfair as it may seem. And, children should not have to have their lifestyles changed simply because the mother and father no longer reside in the same household or are married any longer.

As a woman, I know that the child support I get every month is not enough to cover even a third of my kid's expenses. I also know that most women I know don't get enough support to cover their kid's expenses. But, these are father's that see their kids on their visitation days with consistency. Once again, the flip side, I know some men who go overboard and pay for everything out of guilt and rarely see their children.

There is no answer to the question of should child support equal time spent with the kids. When you roll in emotion into the picture, which is next to impossible not to do when you are divorced with kids, you can't answer this question. One thing that is certain though, if a man doesn't pay, it doesn't mean he can't see his children and if a man does pay it doesn't mean he will see his children.

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