Saturday, July 4, 2009

Child Support Racket

I am one of those guys that thinks that, if there must be child support (and I don't think there should be...the kids should just be given to the party that can best support them or custody should be split such that each party equally shares in the joys and pain of rearing children), it absolutely needs to be based on the costs of raising the child(ren), not a percentage of income, as it is presently. The current formulation does indeed provide for the basic needs of the children, but also dispenses a healthy windfall for Mom in the form of excess monies confiscated from Dad by force. I happen to think that this windfall just adds to the incentive for a woman to divorce a perfectly good man...not only will she be "happier", but she'll likely be richer too.

So what should be the cost of raising children? Of course is should vary by locale, and a one-size-fits-all scheme wouldn't cut it. Personally, to avoid all the legal wrangling that the fembot lobby would put the People through--since they want to see a Strong Independent Woman (tm) remain independent by confiscating as much money as possible from her ex--I think that CS should be based on what the state itself thinks is enough to support a child, as documented by the amount they pay foster parents or pay parents per child in welfare.

Although the source is 13 years old, this PDF tells us just how much money each state thinks it costs to keep and raise a child, split up by what it pays foster parents, and what it pays parents on welfare:*

Alabama...........Foster: 225.....Welfare: 225
Alaska.............Foster: 577.....Welfare: 452
Arizona............Foster: 422.....Welfare: 422
Arkansas..........Foster: 433.....Welfare: 433
California..........Foster: 410.....Welfare: 293
Colorado..........Foster: 384.....Welfare: 384
Connecticut.......Foster: 597.....Welfare: 597
Delaware..........Foster: 383.....Welfare: 281
DC..................Foster: 467.....Welfare: 262
Florida.............Foster: 321.....Welfare: 321
Georgia...........Foster: 325.....Welfare: 155
Hawaii............Foster: 529.....Welfare: 529
Idaho.............Foster: 279.....Welfare: 279
Illinois............Foster: 380.....Welfare: 269
Indiana...........Foster: 462.....Welfare: 462
Iowa..............Foster: 411.....Welfare: 411
Kansas............Foster: 332.....Welfare: 332
Kentucky..........Foster: 330.....Welfare: 330
Louisiana.........Foster: 348.....Welfare: 72 (figure is correct)
Maine.............Foster: 349.....Welfare: 118
Maryland..........Foster: 540.....Welfare: 165
Massachusetts.....Foster: 441.....Welfare: 441
Michigan..........Foster: 388.....Welfare: 276
Minnesota.........Foster: 456.....Welfare: 456
Mississippi.........Foster: 260.....Welfare: 60 (figure is correct)
Missouri............Foster: 257.....Welfare: 136
Montana...........Foster: 375.....Welfare: 952
Nebraska..........Foster: 394.....Welfare: 394
Nevada............Foster: 324.....Welfare: 324
New Hampshire.....Foster: 353.....Welfare: 414
New Jersey........Foster: 329.....Welfare: 162
New Mexico........Foster: 339.....Welfare: 339
New York..........Foster: 439.....Welfare: 439
North Carolina....Foster: 365.....Welfare: 181
North Dakota......Foster: 371.....Welfare: 110
Ohio...............Foster: 544.....Welfare: 303
Oklahoma..........Foster: 360.....Welfare: 112
Oregon............Foster: 349.....Welfare: 209
Pennsylvania......Foster: 393.....Welfare: 393
Rhode Island......Foster: 294.....Welfare: 327
South Carolina....Foster: 252.....Welfare: 118
South Dakota......Foster: 377.....Welfare: 173
Tennessee.........Foster: 328.....Welfare: 328
Texas..............Foster: 482.....Welfare: 482
Utah...............Foster: 319.....Welfare: 319
Vermont...........Foster: 445.....Welfare: 357
Virginia...........Foster: 319.....Welfare: 319
Washington........Foster: 373.....Welfare: 349
West Virginia.....Foster: 400.....Welfare: 149
Wisconsin.........Foster: 318.....Welfare: 215
Wyoming...........Foster: 400.....Welfare: 400

So, as an example, ex lives in Virginia with my sons. The state of Virginia paid its foster parents $319 per month in 1996, which, crunching through the BLS inflation calculator, becomes $435 per month in 2009. For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that the marginal cost of raising an additional child is the same as raising the first one (it's not, but let's keep it simple); thus, as she has both of my children, the monthly child support would be $870/mo. But as my ex makes as much as I do...using the current CS "guidelines", that would lower my CS payment to about $600/mo.

I can tell you that is much more realistic a figure than what I'm paying now, and I can guarantee you that the excess isn't used for the kids.

Oh, happy Independence Day, everyone.

* Welfare payments are usually prorated by child, whereas foster payments are not.


Erik said...

Hey, I know how ya feel, except that you are paying it our and I am not receiving it. Very similar I am sure.

Also, what you write really is much more in line with paying for the actual cost of raising a child. I think arguments could be made for it being a bit higher for the first child than your inflation adjusted scenario, but the man who got the divorce right in front of me was ordered to pay something like 1400 a month in child support for two kids. I will say right this very moment that if I had $1400 coming in, I wouldn't have to work at all. I'd just stay at home with my kids and live frugally and never have to work again. Its very wrong to take that outrageous sum from one to give to another, and is so over the amount required to care for those kids that unless it is being put into a school fund there is no way that it could really even be getting put towards the child (childcare maybe? thats overly expensive)

Elusive Wapiti said...

"I will say right this very moment that if I had $1400 coming in, I wouldn't have to work at all."

Erik, I had to pay more than that up until last November. Thus I'm a bit sour on the whole child support question, because my X didn't work, lived with her parents, and pocketed 2/3 of what I was required to send her under threat of violence.

There is a reason why she drives a Lexus and I drive a 32 yo Chevy.

All I can say I guess is that she had better be saving for the boys' college, because after visitation costs were deducted, I had no more money to give, and am unwilling to provide any more.

Novaseeker said...

Courts can make you pay for college, too, EW.

The issue with the support levels is that in the 80s they were adjusted to keep the child in the same standard of living as pre-divorce. In a system which pretty much always awards custody to mothers, this basically means keeping mom in the same standard of living as pre-divorce, which is basically alimony -- except alimony that is assessed on a no fault basis.

And that is why there are some truly insane support amounts.

My ex and I know another divorced couple. It was a doctor/lawyer couple, and she (the lawyer) got custody. My ex was telling me that this woman "pulls down" ~2600 per month in child support for the two boys. She has since remarried a wealthy law partner, their combined income must be at least 300k and they live in an ostentatious McMansion. But of course the huge c/s checks from her ex-husband keep rolling in. Unlike true alimony, child support alimony doesn't end upon remarriage, due to the ruse that it's all about "child" support, and not maintaining mom's lifestyle. So in effect what happens is that this woman is swimming in money already, yet receives an additional -- and completely un-needed -- subsidy of ~31k per year, tax-free. The fact that she has remarried and now has a much higher combined income than her ex-husband is irrelevant for c/s -- which results in a total economic windfall for her under the current system.

And people wonder why so many men are bitter and angry at the current system.

Jim Untershine said...

A chart of interstate welfare amounts is compared to interstate child support amounts (for 3 kids) is published on my website at

A chart of interstate child support amounts (for 3 kids) is compared to the fraudulent amounts reported by the Institute for Family and Social Responsibility (FASR) is published on my website at

See also my written testimony to the ways and Means Committee:
FosterCare -
Welfare -

James D Untershine
Control Systems Designer

Erik said...

Here is an example of another compassionate woman. This one put up an ad on the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist in order to harass a 9 y/o.

Praise Lillith for giving her creations such compassion

Elusive Wapiti said...

Nova, I suspect that she'll try to compel me to pay. Which I will fight all the way as far as I can, since it is not currently in the decree.

If I am to help my children with college, it will be by my choice, not that of an aggressive and nasty x and her enabling cadre of matriarchal agents wearing robes.

BeltainAmerica said...

The other aspect of child support is that the women do not have to account for how it is spent. My Ex went out and rented a huge apartment, put her new boyfriend who had 3 DUI's on her insurance, got a title loan for her car that I had paid for before we split, put down that she paid 350.00 a month for day care (Not once did my son go to day care) etc etc etc.

It isn't just a percentage of your income if an expence sheet can be made up they can get more or at least make sure they get the full percentage even when it isn't needed.

Funny thing is after it was final she paid off her car again, dropped the insurance, broke the lease ont he apartment etc etc etc.

The whole thing needs more accountabillity period or really needs to be just scrapped.

Of course now that I have custody she has been hiding from child support enforcement for almost 4 years and no one cares... go figure.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Pretty classy gal, Erik

Elusive Wapiti said...

"...and no one cares... go figure"

Beltain, if you had a sex change op and acted the slaughtered saint with your mutilated beggar child you'd get a response in a hurry from our chivalrous misandrist government...

Liesel Libertarian said...

Sorry, EW. :(

What are her parents like? I'm guessing this better than her shacking up with some guy who might find your kids "in the way" at least.

Coffee Catholic said...

My dad sent $50 a week in child support. Mom spent it on ciggaretts and other things while I starved. I'm not kidding! I never had food or even a warm winter coat or even winter boots! I rarely had school lunches. But she got $200 a month from my dad that was meant for me!

Coffee Catholic said...

P.S. Starving is not fun. I'm 33 and paying big time, physically, for not having sufficient food during my growing years. I joined the Navy at 17 so I could eat... (I also wanted to serve my country but my #1 priority was survival.)

The thing that kills me is that I didn't have to starve. That $200 a month would have paid for my school lunches easily! Meanwhile my mother's drunk new husband sat around eating pork chops and steaks ... yeah, I love Feminists and what they've done to "help" children!

Elusive Wapiti said...

LL, her parents despise me and talk bad about me but on the whole the environment there is not bad. Certainly better than the non-related male in the home model in which so much suffering comes to children.

CC, my mother squandered the CS my father sent her as well. We were living in Sin City at the time and more than once the slots consumed our bread money. It got so bad at times that at age 16 my paycheck would be confiscated just so that my brother and sister could eat.

What is really interesting to me is that some of the greatest critics of the divorce-mother custody-child support model are those who have survived it. Quite a few of us don't brook the "good divorce" nonsense.

Novaseeker said...

Any regime that funnels money between people for a specific purpose without holding people to account for spending it in accordance with that purpose is, quite obviously, a broken system.

The only reason the current system is designed that way is because of stupid, unrealistic notions of chivalry which hold that "women just are not like that, guys, and they all spend the money on the kids like they are supposed to ... you're just a bitter divorced guy. get over yourself."

THAT, folks, is why we have a system which has zippo accountability.

I will mention, though, a divorced woman lawyer friend of my ex who has shared custody, and because she earns so much more than her ex-h, pays him something like ~600 a month in CS (small for a lawyer, but that's because it's shared custody). AND she whines about how he spends it and so on, how there is no accountability and so on. It's quite obvious to anyone who experiences the system, yet male complaint is not allowed, because if we complain we are considered cads who do not want to support our kids.

The evil genius was to recharacterize alimony as child support and provide for it to be awarded regardless of fault. That, coupled with the overwhelming presumption of mother custody, just makes for a total and complete windfall for custodial mothers, just because they had kids when they were married. It's a thoroughly ridiculous system, full stop.

Shannon said...

"What is really interesting to me is that some of the greatest critics of the divorce-mother custody-child support model are those who have survived it. Quite a few of us don't brook the "good divorce" nonsense." That is so true! There was a study done by a psychologist named Judith Wallerstein, who discovered that children of divorce often won't follow their parents footsteps. They may endure low self-esteem, relationship problems, etc. but are reluctant to marry for fear of repeating history.

I agree there is no such thing as a "good divorce." Regardless of the cause, It is always painful and there is a great loss that follows. In my family's case there was abuse that could not be remedied in any way. Professional help was sought and things did not change. One of my worst fears today is getting divorced even though I am not married. I can't bear to think of the loss of separating from someone who you vowed to spend your life with. Divorce scars its victims and coming from a broken home makes for a broken spirit. I can only pray that by God's grace I overcome that past.

bear said...

I'm surprised that more women don't have fatal accidents in this country.

What a mess we have become.

Phdchick said...

Maybe instead of complaining about poor me, you should take care of your children with out the juvinile fits. You should pay child support based on income. Dosen't your child deserve it?

And so what if your ex has a better quality of life than you. If you really made the same in VA you would only be responcible for the daycare expences. Frankly kids need more than just daycare. They eat, need transportation, books, school suplies, clothes, ect.

Get over your selfish self and take care of the needs of your child and grow up.

SellingEverythingToGetBy said...

"Doesn't your child deserve it?"

- The supposed argument supporters of massive CS payments always seem to fall back on. I guess if you cry out to the heavens "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" you can only have good intentions and you have to be correct.

Insinuating that fathers who disagree with outrageous cs amounts simply don't care about their children is an extremely weak argument that usually has no basis.

Coincidentally they give out PHD's for everything these days. You can go to university and become a Dr. of feminism if you'd like.