The idea behind child support is that parents have an obligation to care for their children and the state has an interest in seeing that children are properly cared for so that the burden does not fall on the tax payer. If the central focus is making sure that a child's needs are met, then why is child support based on income? All kids need food, shelter, and clothing regardless of how much money their parents make. These expenses can be quantified into static terms. A cheese burger costs the same regardless of income. However, one parent may pay $300.00 per month for a single child while another pays $1500.00 for a single child, though both children are happy and normal. The only difference is the income of the parents. These orders don't serve the government interest of making sure that children don't go hungry. While it is true that parents should provide for their children and should be generous, should the government force parents to do more than meet their children's needs? Should the government decide what extras in excess of the child's needs should be bestowed on a child?
When I was 16 years old my parents refused to buy me a car. They told me that I was going to have to work, save money and purchase the vehicle on my own. They believed that if I worked for it I would appreciate it more. This was a parenting decision, not a money decision. How parents care for their children is a parenting decision. When orders are put in place that do more than provide for the maintenance of a child a parent's rights are being infringed upon.
You may argue that the parents should provide all that they have to their children, and you may be right; but should the government force them to do so? If a parent fails to pay child support they are subject to the court's contempt powers - in other words they may go to jail. Should parents be sent to jail for failing to pay for extras for their children? This is a fundamental violation of rights in my opinion.
The child support guidelines mentioned above are also flawed in that in some instances they are not only unfair, they are impossible. The US Department of Health and Human Services recently released some interesting statistics. They have found that parents that are ordered to pay more than 15% to 20% of their income in child support usually fail to pay at all. The burden becomes so great that it engenders despondency and guarantees failure. In some circumstances under the current guidelines parents are expected to pay more than 30% of their income in child support. The guidelines fail to account for the living expenses of the paying parent, a fact also lamented by the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Child support is not paid to children. It is paid to custodial parents, usually mothers. This coupled with the ease of obtaining a no fault divorce has resulted in 75% of all divorces being filed by women not men. Children are not better cared for under these circumstances as set forth in the blog below. There is now an incentive to filing a divorce. You can terminate your marriage and have your ex-spouse supplement your lifestyle through child support payments.
The desire to see that children are well provided for is a worthy desire, but child support has gotten out of hand. It has invited the state into our homes to make parenting decisions and has discourage two parent involvement in children's lives. The system should be reformed to meet the needs of children (its original intent) not to empower government or supplement lifestyles.