Thursday, January 22, 2009

Child Support: How much is too much?

My Psychology Today post on the legal wrangling over the new Massachusetts child-support guidelines is attracting a lot of comments. I tried not take sides on the dispute, but merely to ask whether the guidelines are fair. How do we determine what's a fair child-support payment?

It's not an easy question to answer, and not one that lawyers are equipped to answer.

The people who have the expertise to even take a wild stab at establishing fair payment guidelines would be economists, demographers, or social scientists. Not lawyers. Yet it is lawyers and judges who are charged with devising guidelines and implementing them.

This question wouldn't interest me much except for one thing. This is not just about money. This is about relationships between non-custodial parents, usually fathers, and their children. Rancor or economic disparity caused by faulty guidelines can damage a relationship between a father and his children.

None of us should want that. Not even the most wounded, angry, or vengeful parent. Sadly, however, in practice, children's well-being is often sacrificed by battling parents.

We want child-support guidelines that can ease that fighting, not exacerbate it.

1 comment:

  1. When attorney's and judges that were trained to deal with criminals stop villifying innocent people, who are somehow no longer good enough for their partner the rangling, games, and fraud will come to a halt. I agree, relationships were not meant for the courts to be involved in. There are guidelines in many states, but they are simply not being followed due to Judicial Indiscretion and biased. If they were followed my ex would have had to pay me supportive allimony for putting her through college. Even if I hadn't these attorney's could have very easily used the principal of Equitable Distribution that is supposed to be in play in No Fault Divorce States. They all simply choose to create as much fighting as possible to line their pockets at $300 an hour. Their are some people pushing for shared parenting, but the political kickbacks from special interests prevent this from happening through fraud in the system. No due process. Judges only hearing what the two attorney's have decided they will hear under the table. Kids need two parents, which requires two homes. Kids need to spend time with each parent equally. All situations should call for week to week, Rotating Custody. When false allegations are broght forth as a divorce ploy, which is almost 100% of the time it should be completely ignored unless it can be proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt that either parent is uncapable of being a parent. Many father's I know foster their children's welfare very well, and in many cases very respectably protect their children's welfare in school and in the world as they grow up.

    The problem is that in certain Jurisdictions we have groups that are still fighting for equal rights. Certain groups have equal rights but want something more as payback for what past generations may have done to hold them down. This kind of political display in Federally Subsidized State Courts sometimes goes well beyond the scope of Our Constituational Rights. Someone like me can be looked at in the wrong light for these simple observations, but it is what it is. Unwitting people get cought up in the muck because of a belief system that portrays us all as the enemy. Prior to certain events in this country Divorce was virtuall unheard of. Now it's become a circus at the expense of our children's Mental Health. The Adversarial, Criminal Court System, which branched itself out is not recognized by our US Government as legitimate. So why should it be handling family matters?