Friday, May 12, 2006

Non-Custodial Fathers - My Thoughts

I can certainly relate to some of the issues related to staying connected with one's children as a non-custodial father from my own experiences. I felt some guilt related to my part in my first marriage. Paying child support wasn't an issue for me. I suggested a payment level that was "generous" and terms that were if anything "more than generous".

For me maintaining connections with my son were harder. My relationship with my son wasn't good when my marriage ended. Understandably my ex-wife had no sympathy for my plight and told me that I'd need to do what I could do to connect with him.

Often money issues intervene into the area of visitation and the father/child relationship. A large percentage of fathers pay less than they are supposed to pay in child support. Mothers understandably use the failure to pay as an excuse to make it harder for men to see their children.

I want to separate the issue of child abuse - from situations where abuse is not an issue. A child should (of course) never been forced to be with an abusive parent to face potential future abuse or to face the issue of dealing with past abuse without necessary support.

I believe that money issues should be separated from the area of visitation and the father-child relationship to the degree this is possible. One way that this could be done seems best to me.
I think it could be debated whether a system such as I propose below should be uniform, or apply only where there are allegations that payments aren't being made in full on a timely basis.

If child support payments were an obligation to the State (e.g. Federal Government) and monies were received by the custodial parent regardless of the payment status, one huge barrier would be lessoned between such former-couples. The recipient of monies would never know the status of the payments by the former partner. The person paying child support would have an issue with the State when payments weren't made as required in the court order for child support. IF there were problems, they wouldn't be between the former partners related to the payment of child support.

Such a system could more effectively deal with delinquincies in payments as it would cost the State money when payments weren't regularly made in full.

Child support payments should be an obligation that a parent pays to a governmental agency. The Agency should be paying the legal recipient of child support to the custodial parent (usually the mother) regardless of the status of payments made by the non-custodial parent.

If things were done as I suggest here fathers could focus their energy on being better fathers more easily. Mothers could have more financial certainty and not have one more reason to fight with their former partners.



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