By Celina Mori
Around the world people’s parents are divorced, and they have to choose who to live with. Divorce is already troubling enough for a child to handle, it’s especially worse when the child doesn’t get to see one parent as often as the other. A new study shows that fathers who owe child support see their children less often, work fewer weeks per year, and are likely to have more children with other partners.
Million of fathers in the U.S. don’t live with their children. During a divorce, the courts will usually chose the mother to take custody if the child is not old enough to decide who they want to live with. Courts take in consideration on which parent is the primary caregiver. A primary caregiver is the person who takes care of the child’s daily needs such as feeding, changing, etc. Even if some families share the responsibility, women are more likely to be the primary caregiver. When children are young, the bond between a mother and child is stronger. Young children mainly look towards their mother for basic needs and emotional support, since the mother feeds the child through birth until their toddler years. Sometimes this bond is created unfairly too, mothers are given more time off to care for children. Yet in many situations it is up to the parents to make an agreement with help from their attorneys, counselors, or mediators, although if the parents can’t find a form of agreement then the court decides who receives custody.
When it comes to child support each state has a different way of calculating it, which is very complicated. When it comes down to the basics, courts will look into how much the parents make. In some states, the court will ask to see both parents income or others will only examine the noncustodial parent's’ income. The average amount of child support is about $430 per month according to the Census Bureau Reports, but each situation is different. The more money the noncustodial parent makes, the more they pay to child support. In 2010, 85% of child support providers were male, while 15% were female.
There are many reasons to why father don’t pay child support. For example, after the divorce a father might be forced to pay child support during a time that he is unemployed and can’t afford to pay it. This is can leave a very negative effect on the child. Not having money to pay for living expenses can add stress and it can also ruin the connection that the child might have with their father. Studies show that fathers who are behind child support were less like to partake in daily activities such as helping with homework, reading books, playing outside and will visit their child every few days per month. Demara Little, a student at McMahon, explained that she mostly visits her father when she needs to pick up her child support. “On the weekends it’s just really weird seeing him, it’s like I don’t talk to you all week and then here comes the weekend you know, it’s kind of weird for me,” She expressed. “ I just see him for a day or so and then I have to go back to not seeing him for a long time.”
Though there is some good news to this situation. According to Time.com, the divorce rate has dropped to the lowest point in the last 40 years and marriage have a 50% chance of lasting. Furthermore, if fathers can’t pay child support in cash they will find other ways to contribute like paying for school expenses. Meghan Joyce, a junior at McMahon, explained that while visiting her father he would provide her and her brother with food and clothing when they needed it, while also paying for child support.
In the end, we cannot force our fathers to pay child support, but we can always find ways to keep them in our lives.