The Beat Goes On…

As some of you know, I’ve been in a 17+ year battle to collect child support from the man who “fathered” XUP Jr. So far, we’ve managed to get a whopping total of $1800 from him — in 17 years — after two court orders — and about ten thousand phone calls to Ontario’s ironically named Family Responsibility Office (FRO).

This Ontario office has more than 180,000 active cases of deadbeat parents on their books with over $1.3 BILLION owed in child support. (It doesn’t include the god-knows-how-many deadbeat cases they’ve just given up on as they’ve tried to do to with my case several times now). And this is a province of only 13 million people! It’s beyond shameful.

If I were a math geek I could somehow figure out (using ratios and percentages and maybe even algebra) how many deadbeat parents and how much owed child support that might represent across Canada and/or the US.

And, how many children that might represent who are doing without things they might need because they’ve been shrugged off by one of their parents and the government. (I know, a bunch of you Anti-Nanny-Staters are going to say it’s not the government’s responsiblity to force parents to be responsible, right? That it’s our own damn fault for having kids with irresponsible people, right? Believe me, I think that often enough myself)

But let’s move on.

I think those deadbeat figures are mind-bogglingly shocking.  If my experience is anything to go by then, in this province, FRO can certainly take the blame for a lot of it because of their incredibly frustrating lack of ability to enforce support orders and for giving deadbeat parents opportunity after opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to weasel out of their obligations.

From where I stand, the deadbeat parent seems to control all the balls. They can keep filing Change Orders to get their support payments reduced no matter how many times a judge reviews their financial situation and orders them to pay. Deadbeats have all sorts of ways of showing little or no income and there’s apparently nothing anyone can do about it even if the deadbeat parent is living in a lovely, ocean-front home, owns a boat, has a holiday home in another country, drives a couple of high-end vehicles and has a very lucrative business. As long as the deadbeat is filing income tax forms that claim an annual income of only $10,000 they don’t have to pay child support.

And because of their “low” income, they get a free legal aid lawyer to help them while the other parent doesn’t even get a designated FRO case worker he/she can talk to, but has to call the FRO “call centre” and re-explain the entire history of his/her case at every single phone call. And, I’ve discovered regular phone calls to FRO are absolutely necessary if a person wants to keep their case moving along at all. If you don’t call them every couple of weeks, they do nothing with your file and eventually just close it.

The parent raising the child doesn’t have the luxury of saying, “Gee, I’m not really making enough money to support this child and maintain the lifestyle I enjoy, so I’m just not going to leave her on someone else’s doorstep now.” Not that a real parent would, because what kind of person doesn’t do whatever they can to make sure their own child is well taken care of? (The kind of person some people are foolish enough to make a baby with, I guess.)

But let’s broaden this discussion a bit more to see if there are any circumstances under which a non-custodial parent should ever not have to pay child support. First, here are the major reasons deadbeats say they’re not paying:

  • About 40% of all deadbeat parents say they don’t pay is because they don’t have any money.
  • About a quarter of all deadbeat parents say they don’t pay because they don’t think their visitation rights are fair.
  • 10% – 15% percent say they never wanted children.
  • Approximately another 10% say it’s not their child, so they’re not paying.
  • In addition, around 70% of all deadbeat parents say they’re not  paying because they have no say in how the money is spent.

Are any of these valid? (Aside from if the man is not the child’s legal father or if a DNA test proves that the man is not the child’s biological father).

One school of thought says that if you are involved in the conception of a child, regardless of circumstances, you are, at the very least, financially responsible for that child until he or she is an adult. (Unless the child is legally given up for adoption, of course). Can such a blanket statement be made?

There’s another school of thought that says that since women hold all the cards as to whether or not they’re going to keep and raise the child, the man should have some rights when it comes to choosing whether or not (and/or) how much child support he should pay. Examples can be cited of women who “trick” men into getting them pregnant.

Let’s look at some possible scenarios: 

  1. A man and a woman pick each other up in a bar, have protected sex, but something goes awry and she gets pregnant. She tracks him down and tells him and he says, “tough luck baby get an abortion,” but she won’t do that for whatever reason and decides to keep and raise the child. Should the guy still be ordered to pay child support?
  2. Or, what if a couple is married, have a couple of kids, but after a while the wife can’t take being a wife and mother anymore and leaves. The husband has a good, stable, well-paying job and is left to raise the kids on his own. They get divorced and the wife gets her share of the couple’s assets. It’s enough to buy her a modest home, but she is only able to find a minimum-wage job and is having difficulty making ends meet. Should she be ordered to pay child support?
  3. A man with a middle-class income has been paying child support of about $400 monthly for one child. His ex-wife works at a low-paying job so the child support is vital in helping to pay the bills. The ex-wife meets a new man and eventually moves him in with her and the child. The ex-husband feels that his ex-wife will now be spending his child support on things that will benefit the new man and feels he shouldn’t have to pay anymore. Does he have a point?
  4. What about the woman who, because of some bad lifestyle choices, loses custody of her children to her husband and is allowed only supervised visits with her children once a week.  Should she still have to pay child support since the courts effectively took away all her parental rights?
  5. What about a couple who gets divorced, their son is 15 and the father finds out that the boy was conceived during an affair his wife had with another man. The husband feels he shouldn’t have to pay child support.
  6. A couple have 3 kids. The husband leaves the wife her for another woman and quits his job, so he has never had to pay child support. He then develops a non-specific but debilitating mental illness, which puts him on disability. The kids go to stay with him 2 days out of every week so now he’s trying to get child support from the ex-wife to pay for things the kids need the 2 days they’re with him because he says he can’t afford to feed them and entertain them on his disability pension. The ex-wife has a good job, but is just making ends meet. Should she have to pay child support to him? (This one is actually happening to a friend of mine)

67 responses to “The Beat Goes On…

  1. I think the scenario where contraception fails and the man never wanted a child, but the woman decides to keep it, is probably the most difficult.

    Hopefully, there will soon be effective chemical birth control for men. With that, hormonal birth control for women, and barriers to prevent STIs and further reduce pregnancy risks, such cases should at least be rare.

  2. As a “resident Anti-Nanny-Stater”, I put on my “hat of 100 percent responsibility” and say this:

    “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

    If you play with fire, you might get burned. There is no such thing as 100 percent reliable contraception. If you’re not willing to pay for the upbringing of that child as well as support of the extra things the responsible parent requires, “take matters into your own hands”.

  3. I agree with Brett.

    A friend of mine had her ex run off to live in Indonesia to avoid paying his child support when the NS version of FRO finally caught up with him.

    My mom was a deadbeat, when she was finally forced to pay she had me sign over bonds my grandfather had gotten for me as a baby and paid with MY MONEY…and still complained that she had to pay.

  4. This may also be a good place to advocate forms of sexual interaction other than the conventional genital-genital sort. These have the virtue of not involving any meaningful risk of impregnation.

    Too many people seem to think that genital-genital sex is the be-all and end-all of human romantic/sexual interaction.

  5. I think teh basic fact, and why there are very few “non-child support” scenarios is that child support is about the child. It is not about the circumstances of visitation or parental rights or grandparents rights or remarriages etc…

  6. Oh my sister works in child support enforcement. The stories. The loopholes. It is so sad and frustrating. It is about children! (But you knew that!) In our state child support enforcement includes ALL child support cases- deadbeat dad to totally responsible regularly paying non-custodial parent.

  7. Milan – The two commenters after you say — if you’re a guy and you have sex with a woman of child-bearing age and you haven’t had a vasectomy, you are responsible for any offspring that might result. End of story.

    Brett – My anti-nanny-stater comment referred to custodial parents demanding the assistance of the government to collect child support from the non-custodial parent. I would assume someone with a 100% responsibility hat would say it’s my own tough luck that I got myself landed with a kid and that if I can’t get the father to pony up then I have to support the child myself – that I shouldn’t be looking to the government to track down the deadbeat and shouldn’t expect the government to force support payments.

    Mudmama – I’m surprised the NS office went to all the trouble to track down the deadbeat. When XUP Jr.’s genetic other left the country to avoid paying child support years ago, they just closed the file and said there wasn’t anything they could do and to let them know when he was back in Canada. (PS: Your mom makes deadbeats look like model parents)

    Milan – A perfect place to bring up alternate forms of sexual interaction and something that should be emphasized, explained and drummed into the heads of teenagers.

    Chris – $3.1 Billion in Ontario says it’s about pretty much everything BUT the child, unfortunately. Children are still very much treated like second or even third class citizens in this country – just look at the laughable sentences handed down to child abusers, child killers, etc. Look at how many children in this wealthy country of ours are living in poverty. Kids don’t vote so who cares.

    Missy – FRO includes all child support cases in our province (and other provinces) too. I was just pointing out how ineffective they seem to be with so many “active” deabeats on their files. I hope your sister isn’t anything like the people I’ve encountered in my child support office.

  8. if you’re a guy and you have sex with a woman of child-bearing age and you haven’t had a vasectomy, you are responsible for any offspring that might result.

    Hypothetically, what if the two of you conclude a written agreement beforehand that neither of you wants a child and that, in the event of pregnancy, it is the expectation of both of you that it will be terminated. Further, the contract explicitly states that the man is under no legal obligation towards the child, in the event that the woman decides to renege on the earlier pledge to terminate?

    A perfect place to bring up alternate forms of sexual interaction and something that should be emphasized, explained and drummed into the heads of teenagers.

    In many places, it’s tricky enough to convince school boards to educate teenagers about the basics of human anatomy and contraception. Imagine how difficult it would be to convince them to encourage teenagers to try non-genital-genital forms of sexual interaction.

    I agree that it would be wise of them to do so. Alas, it is also unlikely.

  9. Well, this is a hard one for me. My parents were divorced when I was 13 and it was awful, and messy.

    In the end, my mother fought for and got a deal that involved NO visitation. I think my father must have signed the deal out of guilt or maybe because he thought he could always go back and change it later. He agreed to pay child support, but after the divorce we literally did not ever see him again, although he did try to write to us and call us from time to time.

    In my own case I feel that he should not have had to pay child support. I don’t know how we would have survived without it, and even with the child support times were very lean as my mom had to go back to school and try to find a job. But it just doesn’t seem fair to me that he paid for us, yet had no rights at all.

    On the other hand I guess it says a lot about him that he was faithful to the payments even when he couldn’t see us.

    My older sister had a similar messy divorce many years ago. Her ex was ordered to pay support but almost immediately lost his job and never found another. My mother felt he was deliberately trying to avoid his responsibility but on the other hand, she and my sister were more than happy when fear/guilt led him to move away and get out of the kids’ lives altogether.

    They still badmouth him from time to time for not paying support but I know they also felt strongly that he should not have any visitation at all…and are happy he eventually gave up those rights on his own.

    I don’t think it’s fair to ask a parent to pay support unless they are an involved parent. They don’t necessarily have to have veto power over what the money is spent on, but they should at least be invited to be a part of the kids’ life and feel like an actual parent if they are going to be paying support.

  10. Wow… interesting scenarios you have there. Here’s my shot at them:

    1. No. There are options other than having an abortion. The woman shouldn’t be able to compel child support for such an accident, or at least the man’s opinion should be weighed as heavily as the woman’s. If she wants the child and he doesn’t it’s her problem. Turn it around… if he wanted the child and she wanted an abortion, should he be able to compel her to carry and deliver the child?

    2. Possibly. If the man/woman roles were reversed it seems to be common wisdom to take from the man, and to take from the person who walked out. Given that this article started by talking about deadbeats, it would be my suspicion that this scenario would lead to the deadbeat situation.

    3. ABSOLUTELY he has a point. Child support is for supporting children, not parent enrichment and not to make life easier on a future spouse. I know people who have solved this problem – child support paid into a trust account which requires two signatures to withdraw the money and has legal terms around it. Dad pays, and mom can only spend the money with Dad’s approval for the children.

    4. I have to say no. In fact, in that situation it’s probably better for everyone if she doesn’t.

    5. Again, I say no. It is unfair to stick someone with the bill. Although it may be in the best interest of the cuckolded father and the child to pay and maintain the relationship, it should be voluntary.

    6. No. She has custody. If she feels that the children are not being properly cared for, then visitation rights should be re-examined.

  11. Milan – I don’t know if such a contract would hold up in court, but it would probably dampen the mood enough for the couple to forego sexual relations. Ha ha. As for the teenagers, this should probably be a conversation parents have with their kids rather than relying on the school. With all the other stupid stuff they sometimes teach my child, I think stuff like this is important for her to hear from me.

    Lynn – I’m sorry about your parents’ messy divorce, but I don’t understand why you would grant your father the right to just bow out of his responsibilities as your father. If he had wanted to be involved in your lives he would have been; just like your sister’s husband would have been. I would move heaven and earth to be able to continue to be involved in my child’s life no matter what the other parent thought or wanted. A parent who is not involved is a parent who does not want to be involved. I don’t care how many lame excuses they come up with. And whether they’re involved or not, they created these children and they are responsible for their financial security at the very, very least. I’m sure if your husband told you tomorrow that he had had enough of being a husband and father and was moving to Hawaii and never wanted to see you or the kids again, you’d still expect him to provide for them. Why should children be deprived not only of their parent but also of stability and the necessities of life just because one of their parents is selfish?

    Squid – #1 I disagree. As I said to Milan, if a guy has sex with a woman of childbearing age and he has not taken steps to guarantee no chance of pregnancy then there is an implicit obligation there to be responsible for any offspring that result. As for #3 if the woman is taking paying for everything for those children what business is it for the father to say exactly how his money is spent? That woman is spending way, way more than $400 a month to care for that child if you include a percentage of her mortgage, utilities, furnishings for the child, clothing, toiletries, food, transportation, school supplies, medical and dental care. #4 – Again, I think the woman should pay something toward the child. I absolutely disagree with parents being able to wash their hands of their kids when they get tired of them. #5 Seriously? How is this boy going to feel when the only man he’s ever known as a father just writes him off? He’s the legal father. They have a long-standing relationship – a bond. What a horrible thing it would be if the father wanted nothing more to do with him. Are you thinking of the kids at all in any of these scenarios?

  12. Boy aren’t you glad that the governments around Canada have done so much to make it easier to collect child support. Without this there might be lots and lots of children doing without the necessities for a good life.
    Ask yourself how many people who owe taxes get to walk away every year and it’s clear that the people who spout off most about family values care much less about the lives of the children than they do about collecting their own incomes first.
    This is going to continue till such time as real support for children is awarded by the government who will then be free to go and reclaim the money from a deadbeat parent. When it starts coming out of government revenues they will I’m sure find it more convenient to go chase down the wealth.
    Of course I keep thinking of things like this during my acid flashbacks cause there is no way that any government in Canada is ever going to mandate adequate support for the children of this nation.

  13. Wow, just reading all this makes me realize how very lucky I was with DD’s dad! Our legal agreement was that he would pay the government-mandated amount for her each month till age 18, based upon his income, plus a percentage of post-secondary schooling and related expenses. Although his income wasn’t a lot and so his payments weren’t terribly substantial either, he paid regularly. Then, at about age 2o, DD chose to no longer see him, and I felt, rightly or wrongly, that it wasn’t fair for him to continue paying his share of university, so I stopped letting him know those costs. He’s never asked me about that, but he still phones DD every year at her birthday. She won’t take the calls, but at least the door is open if she ever wants to have a relationship with him again. And that’s the important thing.

  14. I don’t know if such a contract would hold up in court, but it would probably dampen the mood enough for the couple to forego sexual relations.

    I agree that it would be an awkward thing to negotiate with many people, but I am curious about whether you think it would be sufficient to morally absolve the man from paying child support, in the event of an unplanned pregnancy the woman decides not to terminate.

  15. Hmm.

    Perhaps I needed another cup of coffee before I commented, and my words were not clear.

    I should have expanded my comment.

    I was referring to the man, actually. When there are children involved, someone needs to step in to make things right.

    Even if it was just a “one-nighter” and the 25-cent insurance policy failed, the man must realize that he will be on the hook for his actions for the next 18 years.

    THAT is what the wearer of the hat of 100 percent responsibility believes.

    So I hope that you didn’t take my comment the wrong way.

    Government can and should help out in worthwhile cases.

    Government should be enforcing things like this, not copyright infringement, for instance.

  16. I say in all cases the non-custodial parent should be paying child support. The only possible exceptions are #5 and #6.

    I can understand why #5 might not want to pay child support for a child he has learned is not his. On the other hand, the child, after 15 years in the family, is probably ‘his’ in many ways other than biological.

    I can also understand why #6 doesn’t want to pay child support to the non-custodial parent for the 2 days a week he spends with the kids. However, it has to be remembered that the money is for the kids, not the other parent. So if she wants her kids to have their needs met seven days a week instead of just five, she should pay.

  17. I can understand why #5 might not want to pay child support for a child he has learned is not his. On the other hand, the child, after 15 years in the family, is probably ‘his’ in many ways other than biological.

    If the biological fact of having fathered the child is sufficient to make a man responsible for child support – regardless of whether he wanted it or not – genetic proof that he did not in fact do so should logically get him off the hook.

  18. Also, what you give to your children should not be contingent on what you get from them. (I say this to Lynn, who thinks parents who are not part of their children’s lives shouldn’t have to pay child support.)

  19. i was very fortunate to have been raised by both my parents, who remain married to this day. i’m not saying it was perfect, far from it, but it was much easier than many of my friends who had to deal with divorcing parents and custody battles.

    that being said, i have to agree with xup in her reply to lynn. any parent with a heart and soul would want to move heaven and earth to be a part of their children’s lives. and being a part of their lives includes the responsibility of raising them. i find it diplorable how deadbeat parents can get away with so much and the onus of it all falls to the parent who is doing all of the work.

  20. “If the biological fact of having fathered the child is sufficient to make a man responsible for child support – regardless of whether he wanted it or not – genetic proof that he did not in fact do so should logically get him off the hook.”

    Milan, I’d agree with that if the biological truth was established early on, or if the only connection between the non-biologically related parent and child was financial. But after 15 years of living together and acting as a parent and child, parental links are well-established. (This is also why step-parents are often ordered to pay child support.)

  21. That seems patently unfair to me. It is arguably tough but fair to say that a man is responsible for offspring no matter how little he wants them and what (ultimately ineffective) precautions he took to keep from having them.

    Having spent years incorrectly believing himself to be the father of a particular child doesn’t create a legal or moral basis for forcing him to do so for the rest of his life, in the event it is revealed that the child was never biologically his.

    I don’t see why step-parents should ever have to pay support for children parented by others, either.

  22. Hmmm… where does your dead beat dad live? I have a few creative ideas regarding how to obtain payment. I’ll only keep 10% of whatever I obtain. Do we have a deal? 🙂

  23. Milan, it has to do the circumstances within the relationship. There are stepfathers who encourage their partner’s to stay home and be a stay at home parent, who see themselves as the parent of the child and do things like cover their stepchildren under family dental and health plans, pay for schooling. etc. If the relationship dissolves the courts feel that the standard of living the family agreed upon for their children – step or otherwise is the standard of living the seperated family should still expect. so stepparents may well be asked to pay child support in these cases.

  24. Dave1949 – Ya, I’m pretty sure all this family responsibility nonsense is costing the government a lot of money, what with having to man that call centre and everything in order to efficiently fob off us annoying parents who want some sort of information on what’s going on with our court-ordered child support. I’ve written to the Minister and a couple of other nobs in important places because I know that this at least will result in a bit of paper being shuffled around on my behalf. One thing I’ve learned by working for the government is that if a citizen writes a coherent letter to the relevant Minister with a carefully worded question included, he/she HAS to answer it. And in the process of answering it, it will go through the hands of everyone below him/her and sometimes even a few heads will get knocked together in the process. You may have to wait 6 months for a response and you odds are you won’t get the response you want, but at least something is happening.

    Pinklea – I think you’re wrong that DD’s father should not have to pay just because she doesn’t want to see him anymore, but that’s your choice so that’s fine in your case. I don’t think that should be applied across the board. Lynn suggested that if the father isn’t involved in the kids’ lives for whatever reason he shouldn’t have to pay support either. But kudos to your ex for manning up all those years.

    Milan – I see. That’s tough. They’ve gone to all the trouble of writing up an agreement – yet the woman reneges on the agreement for reasons which I assume must have been compelling. Morally the man has the right to know what she’s decided so he can decide if he wants to be in the child’s life. And the child will eventually have some rights as they relate to the father. Morally, I don’t think the woman has a right to expect the man to provide for the child, but a moral man would do so anyway. The agreement, I think, carries the same sort of weight as a condom. With a condom the man has a pretty good expectation of not becoming a father, but it’s not foolproof and as such he should be ready to face the responsibility. The agreement is also not foolproof though he has pretty significant expectations with it. I wonder how legally binding such an agreement would be?

    Brett – No, I was pretty sure that’s what you meant, but since you were working off a quote that meant something completely different, I thought I would check. So, okay…now we completely agree. I have no idea where we go from here. This is unprecedented.

    Zoom – Ya #6 is tricky – maybe because I know her and she’s been screwed around by this guy a lot. He actually filed for spousal support from her, too. I think that’s still dragging through the courts. And for #5, I think the guy would have to be a real shit to punish his son by relinquishing a relationship they’ve had all the kid’s life. I think he would be legally bound anyway since he’s the legal father. I wonder if the woman could still get child support from the biological father? (And, your response to Lynn is ban on. I don’t even understand why that should be a factor – whether or not they’re spending time with the kids. In fact, if anything, if they’re not parenting the child in any other way their financial obligations should increase.)

    Milan – Legally perhaps, but there’s always more involved in these cases than the letter of the law. I agree that the biological father should step up as well, but it would be really wrong for the legal father to “get himself off the hook” at this point in the child’s life.

    Smothermother – Me too! There is so much involved in parenting – especially parenting alone – that we shouldn’t also have to fight tooth and nail to get a bit of financial support from the other parent. The crazy thing is that the support ordered by the courts is usually so laughably low it barely covers one hot meal a day for the child. And yet the deadbeats will quibble over that because it means they have to give up a couple of nights at the pub or something. I know parents (most parents really) who would gladly give up their lives for their kids. People who go through hell to be allowed the privilege of raising a child. And then there are other people who treat their children like unwanted appliances.

    OC – Others have offered such solutions before – for free.

    Milan/Mudmama – I think Milan is looking at this from the perspective of what is right or fair for the man (or woman) in the case and I can see what he’s getting at. However, the whole child support system/concept is (or should) be about what is right and best for the child regardless of how this might inconvenience the adults involved or how unfair it might seem to the adults. The focus needs to be on how this child’s needs are best met.

  25. There doesn’t seem to be any alternative to giving women unilateral control over whether they choose to have a child or not, once they are pregnant.

    That said, it does seem appropriate for consenting adults to agree in advance to certain consequences arising from either choice. Specifically, I think it is morally acceptable for them to agree that the man bears no moral or legal obligation towards the child, in the event the woman decides to keep it against his will. I also think it would be entirely moral for the man to hold her to that agreement after the fact, and provide no financial support.

    Whether that would actually hold up in a Canadian court, I don’t know.

  26. Pingback: Child Support Payments « Ocdriver2010's Blog

  27. If others have offered to obtain the payments for no cost, then the problem should be solved, right? Or is it a case of getting what you pay for? 🙂

  28. Hee hee hee, I am reasonable and realistic, when it comes to important things like children and families.

    I’m only obtuse when we’re talking about silly stuff 🙂

  29. I agree with Zoom, for the most part. Except, I’ll stretch it a little bit farther. You know the risks. You know what you’re getting into. You know if you do the dance, you may end up a parent. Not wanting that responsibility does not mean you don’t have that responsibility. Not wanting to see your kid does not mean you don’t have a responsibility to make sure that kid is taken care of. It took two to make the baby; it’s gonna take two to support it.

    Re: number 6. As I’m presently on disability in Ontario, and it’s just me–I have no kids, I can kind of see where he’s coming from. Yes, she may be making just minimum wage. But, that’s still more than his disability pension’s probably giving him. Were they still together, it would be her job that was doing the bulk of the paying for things the kids need, 24/7. Clearly, he still wants to be an involved parent–even if he’s not a very employed one. Clearly, she has no problem letting him be an involved parent. Which means she should have no problem at least helping out with the kids when he has them; just like she would have done had they still been together and the situation in question come up. It’s called equal parenting. If she’d have no problem collecting on child support were he making what he was before, she should have no problem sending child support for a whole 8 days a month they’re with him.

    Re: number 5. Just because he found out 15 years later the child wasn’t fathered by him doesn’t make him any less of a father to that child. Nor, I suspect, would it make him want any less to do with the kid–for all intents and purposes, he’s still his son. He still has that responsibility as the kid’s father to see that he gets the support he needs. At this point, it wouldn’t be a whole lot different than the stepparent position–and for that, I’ll just point at one of Zoom’s comments. She’s pretty much nailed it.

  30. Milan – They can agree on anything they want, but their agreement is really only between the two of them. The child has rights too which need to be taken into account. That child deserves to have the best life possible – morally and ethically. The woman perhaps has no business making any sort of claim on the man after everything they agreed to, but the child does have a claim on the man. I’m not a man, but I know with an absolute certainty if I had a child somewhere in the world, I would want to provide for that child regardless of the relationship I had with the other parent or with the child. I would feel a profound sense of responsibility for that life.

    OC – Hey, that’s 3 times in a row now you re-blogged my topic. At least you’re giving me credit… (Also, I’m sending goons out after my child’s “father” for pete’s sake. Just to be clear)

    Brett – Ah well then I’ll see what silly stuff I can come up with next.

    James – Ya, I agree with your assessment. As I mentioned before in some comment, I think the issue with the #6 scenario is that she’s convinced that he quit his job on purpose to spite her. His new woman left him just before he did that. Then he asked for spousal support from the ex-wife and when that didn’t work he went on disability. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with him, though I don’t suppose it’s all that easy to be on disability and I can’t imagine anyone doing that deliberately if they’re at all able to work. Anyway, on face value, yes she should pay him the child support for those 2 days a week and she has been.

  31. I would feel a profound sense of responsibility for that life.

    Would you feel the same way if you gave a sperm donation that resulted in a child?

    That is a much more intentional act of child creation, but we generally recognize the validity of contracts where sperm banks tell men they won’t be financially responsible for any children.

  32. Well, if he did intentionally quit his job just to spite her, which I’ll agree is possible, then he’s a jerk. A jerk with access to the kids and therefore a case to obtain child support during his time with the kids, but still a jerk. That having been said, it’s not very easy to get on disability even if you can prove there’s something wrong with you, but he’s taking perhaps a moronic risk if there’s indeed nothing wrong with him, since if he’s reported for it–which, if she suspects that’s what he’s doing she should probably do–it could mean at best repayment of every red cent he was given, and at worst jail time. In both cases he’s probably just lost access to the kids.

  33. Milan – Donating sperm or your womb as a surrogate I see as the same principle as giving your child up for adoption. You are legally surrendering any parental rights with the agreement of all parties (except the child). You donate sperm or your womb or give up your child for adoption to a family that will provide that child with a good life. Again, the child still has a claim (although not financial) to their biological parent. In the case of adoption children have a right to know and try to meet their parents. Surrogate mothers often maintain contact with the family for whom they were surrogates. I don’t know what the laws are with sperm donors with respect to children being allowed to know the names, etc of their genetic other. I imagine they must be allowed to have access to that information at some point, if for no other reason than medical/genetic issues. It’s certainly not a black & white topic. The wisest thing for a man who does not want children to do is to have that possibility surgically removed. It’s an easy procedure and will save him a lot of anxiety.

    James – That’s what I’m thinking.

    Brett – I’ll get right on it

  34. My ex intentionally quit his job 2 weeks before our day in family court. It most definitely happens.

    WRT #6 – 2 days a week is not joint physical custody, it’s visitation. It doesn’t require a larger apartment, more clothes etc. If food is an issue is there a family stipend that helps cover it, or is that only if custody is 50/50? My ex has the kids for 6 weeks in the summer the courts would not support a reduction in child support during that period because while it may be a long single period of time, he only has them 8 weeks a year, and things like my housing costs etc are not influenced by the visitation. I send all their clothes too. Child support isn’t figured to be the cost of having the kids day by day. its a more holistic figure

  35. @Mudmama: Whether the kids are there for 6 days or 6 weeks, in the case I was speaking of the husband’s on disability. They don’t exactly pay minimum wage here. I can barely support me on disability and I wouldn’t exactly call my living standards extravagant by any means. If the kids are staying with him, for the duration of that stay, his costs are going to increase–he’s buying groceries for 3 more people, for one. Whether or not it influences her costs, it does influence his.

    I’m not saying the husband or whichever intentionally quitting their job to get out of child support doesn’t happen–I have my own stories from relatives that say it very much does. But, as it applies to 6, since he was able to prove his requirement for disability support–legitimate or not–he’s effectively receiving less money from that than she is from her job, in order to support–at least temporarily–the same number of people. Therefore, since he clearly still wants to be an involved parent, whether or not he’s legitimately unable to work, and since she clearly has no problem with the current visitation arangement, she should at least be contributing something in order to make certain he can provide for the kids for the duration of the time he has them while he’s on the fixed income. Or, failing that, file a claim with MCSS if she thinks he’s BSing, and challenge visitation on the grounds that he’s blowing off his own financial responsibilities with this disability stuff. What it all comes down to is whether or not she’s satisfied with the current visitation arangement.

  36. I am currently going through a child-support/custody battle in the US (Kentucky). My ex makes $250K a year but his tax returns say 23-34K a year (as you also noted other people do). He is a farmer, and has ways to defraud the government. We went to court today, to where, he is pleading poverty and saying he is in “foreclosure” and barely living. Which is all a “tactic” to stop me from getting any money.

    On another note…..we have custody issues. I want sole-custody because he is an alcoholic, drug addict and has been arrested 2 times (both for driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a crime, and he is facing Felony Wanton Endangerment charges!) since March 3. And he showed up to court wearing one of those “ankle bracelets” that they give to criminals to monitor them, and he has no license so I have to basically carry the kids to him. The judge laughed in my face and said the court made their own “implications” and she said I had the same allegations against me (because the ex’s lawyer acused me of being on drugs, which I AM NOT)…. but I don’t understand because #1. I have NEVER been arrested, #2. I am not a drug addict, have never been proven to be or even suspected to be (besides retaliation from the ex’s attorney)…. The ex even admitted upon arrest that he had just recently flown to Florida to refill his prescription of OxyContin pain killers (illegally). The judge made us BOTH take a drug test today…. but did nothing to protect my children from this beast!! What can I do?
    Sorry to get off the subject a bit, I wanted to point out that child support is a big issue….. and ALSO you can’t even protect your children from harm anymore either!!

    As of right now, I am drafting letters to send to the state officials (representatives, congressmen, senate leader, etc.)… Do you think that would help?

    Do you think maybe the judge “overlooked” his arrests and criminal charges and just thought I was accusing him of drug abuse?

    I have 2 posts besides the very last one, that are about this very matter I am dealing with….

  37. This post makes me very sad because this week, my friend told me how her other girlfriend gave up custody of her daughter and her daughter is now in a foster home. Her daughter is disabled and she decided she couldn’t manage on her own anymore. The father was a deadbeat dad that she kicked out after he complained that she wanted him to help with the care of their daughter (e.g. look after the daughter while she worked). The father died though so then she was really on her own.
    What I find really sad about this is now that she has given up parental rights for her daughter, she has finally been able to purchase a condo. I know that looking after a disabled child is quite a challenge but I would hope that if I were in such a situation, I would choose my child over a condo. I don’t know for sure though. Can any one of us say that we could do better? I don’t think we can know until we are in such a situation.

  38. @ James

    What I was saying is that I’m not sure what the requirement is regarding time with the disabled parent, but ODSP does have funding for people with kids.

    The laws around child support wouldn’t allow for him to get child support for a 2 day a week visitation, but ODSP might have funds to give.

  39. The wisest thing for a man who does not want children to do is to have that possibility surgically removed. It’s an easy procedure and will save him a lot of anxiety.

    This is not a great solution for men who don’t want children at the moment (or with a particular person), but who want to retain the possibility of doing so in the future.

    A lot of men fall into that category.

  40. My most definitely loved and wanted 4th child was a surprise vasectomy failure baby. There are no absolutes in this world.

  41. “Child support isn’t figured to be the cost of having the kids day by day” – no kidding!! I would like to see them try and figure that out!

    Gayle – OMG!! And here I was whining about missing out on a bit of money. Do you not have a lawyer of your own? What is he/she doing for you? It’s supposed to be the lawyer’s job to make sure you don’t get shafted like this. If you don’t have a lawyer that’s the first thing I would do. And writing to your elected officials is always a good thing – as long as you write a clear, factual, coherent letter expressing your concerns and asking them a clear, specific question or making a request you think they can fulfill. The less emotional you can be in your letter, the better.

    Jennifer – I can tell you for certain that I would pick my child over a condo no question. If the child was in danger for some reason – because he or she was hurting themselves or if I were incapable of providing the medical care the child needed or something then I would seek help either with a home care worker or admitting my child to a facility where I could still be a regular part of the child’s life. Kids don’t come with a guarantee or warranty. You can’t return them if they don’t fit your lifestyle or match your shoes. People should think a little more carefully about the enormous responsibility they’re undertaking before they have a child. I’m very sorry for that poor kid who already has challenges to live with and now is probably going to get shuffled through the foster care system until she’s 18 unless some kind person adopts her and gives her the life she deserves.

    Milan/Mudmama – Ya, I know it’s not perfect. He could maybe freeze some sperm to be used when and if and then get snipped. There are no really good answers. Sex as a purely recreational activity with the illusion of no risk really only happened for a couple of decades post Pill. Before and since then it’s been fraught with all sorts of dangers and pitfalls. So, I guess what I’m saying is that people have to be aware of the dangers and risks and take every precaution including being more selective about partners, less promiscuity, non genital-genital sexual activity, prophylactics, contraception, full HAZMAT gear, etc., etc. It really too bad because we all might be a lot happier if we could engage in sexual activity freely and without anxiety or serious emotional entanglements.

  42. As a single parent I’m not sure how to answer this.
    My ex was relieved of paying child support by signing over her equity in our house.
    She visited them for about 3-4 hours a week although she could visit whenever she wanted.
    And when, after several other marriages, she became relatively wealthy, she started taking them on yearly trips around Canada and the U.S.
    I on the other hand spend all my earnings on keeping a roof over their heads, paying for food and clothing for them and for their recreational and educational needs.

    I would be inclined to say that life blows except that I’ve got to share their lives.
    She’s only shared their time..

  43. Glen – You answered it very well. And you’re so right about being the lucky one because you get to share in your children’s lives. My daughter’s father hasn’t even bothered to get to know her or share any of her time, so I guess when he’s crying about being poor, he’s telling the truth.

  44. XUP, prior to your daughter’s father’s decision to leave the country, what did he do to earn an income? Can he do that where he lives now?

    Reading some of the other posts along with your responses, the following came to mind:
    given the generally accepted wisdom the child benefits greatly from being with their mother for the first 5 years after birth, and given the unsolved difficulties connected to getting proper financial support from a non custodial father, I will now make the following inflammatory statement:

    From a purely practical point of view, young women need to approach sexual activity from the perspective of “what will I do if I end up alone with a child and no other support?”

    I have a 17 year old daughter and while I have told her a lot of things about the hidden agenda of young men, I had not yet told her the preceding inflammatory statement. I’m now planning a heart to heart conversation to cover this blog thread in detail.

  45. As the mother of a 17 year old son I have been very clear with him about his legal responsibilities to any child he fathers.

    I’ve also been clear that the decision as to whether a baby that is conceived is born is not ultimately his.

    We’ve talked about the moral issues as well.

    I’ve also talked with his girlfriend about how scary it is to be the mother of a son AND a daughter when facing this issue.

    I have not said it out loud, but as a grandparent (by choice or otherwise) I would help both my son and my daughter (and the mother of my grandchild) in any way I could, to understand their rights and responsibilities, to not “ruin their futures”, and to ensure that the child’s needs were met.

    Geez even having queer identified kids doesn’t protect you from this stuff, their ideas around gender are so fluid these days!

  46. Tough call when people reproduce with the wrong people eh? Sad for the kids to get dragged into the grown up games.

    In an odd twist, I knew someone whose ex was paying modest child support. He then had a midlife crisis, quit his $80K a year job to go back to school, then renegotiated their agreement so she had to pay support because.. tada! now she earned more.

  47. >>Are you thinking of the kids at all in any of these scenarios?

    Yes. In every single scenario, what is best for the child is the situation that creates the least amount of acrimony between the parents – a stress that will negatively impact the kids. Better to be poor and happy than rich and spiteful/hateful.

    I also have to consider treating the man fairly. Realistically, it is usually the man who gets pinned for support in North America.

    In your first scenario, your position puts all responsiblity on the man and removes from him all control except to say no at the initial encounter. I reiterate – if she has an opportunity to compel child support, why can he not compel putting the child up for adoption? Obviously if she needs support she can’t support the child. Or better still, why does he have no say except to write the cheques? That is the position you are taking.

    And per my counter example, what if HE wants the child and she doesn’t? If he can be compelled to pay, surely it is reasonable to compel her to have the child and turn it over to him if she is also responsible for the situation at hand?

    What you are suggesting is that any time a man has sex, he’s responsible for all outcomes. Where is the woman’s responsibility?

    In scenario 5, the revelation may well have irrevocably damaged the relationship. It depends on the man, but for many it may well be impossible to overcome that kind of betrayal. Is it better for the child to have a hateful parent compelled to pay support to a child who is a symbol of his wife’s infidelity, or is it better to just let it go? I’d rather my parents supported me because they wanted to, not because some third party thinks they should. In this scenario, the woman should be going after the real father (the guy who skipped town because she shafted him in scenario 1).

  48. I chose to live with Dad at age 15 (the time of the divorce) because I knew he would use me as an excuse to stay in Mom’s life and I felt she needed a clean break. There were no rules back then, thank goodness, because it would have been ridiculous for Mom to have had to pay child support. As for my own situation with my daughter, I left that husband for a sweet wealthy guy and asked for very little. I guess I was lucky.

  49. OC –I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about most of the time. What does that first question mean? As I stated clearly in my post – he has a very lucrative business. He earns at least ten times the income he’s declaring to Revenue Canada. And I feel very sorry for your daughter.

    Mudmama – Well, let’s hope we’ve taught our kids well enough and that they’re smart enough not to get themselves into a situation they’re not ready for. I’m sure your son, for instance has a much clearer understanding of parental responsibility than OC Driver has.

    Nat – Did they have shared custody? Otherwise why would she have to pay him child support?

    Squid – Yes, the man gets “pinned” for child support and the woman gets “pinned” with having to raise the kids by herself. What’s your point? In the first scenario the man has the choice not to have sex with a stranger. Men need to start sharing some responsibility for contraception, too. The onus is all on the woman. Condoms don’t provide much protection and they should understand that and understand that if they choose to rely on that and still choose to have sex with someone they don’t know or even someone they do know but don’t want to have children with then maybe they ought to rethink their choices. When the child is born he has the choice of being part of that child’s life or not. If he wants the child and she doesn’t absolutely he should be allowed to keep it and she should have to pay him support.

    The woman is responsible for contraception; she’s responsible for bearing and birthing the child or for having the fetus terminated; she’s responsible for raising that child and being a sole parent to him for the rest of his life and being totally responsible for him. That’s where the woman’s responsibility lies. All we’re asking from the guy is to write a cheque once a month. If you ask me the cheque writing is a hell of a lot easier than what the woman is responsible for.

    As for scenario 5 – lots and lots of mature adults divorce and do not have an amicable relationship yet are wise and grown-up enough to not let that affect their relationships with their children. What does the woman’s betrayal have to do with the son? He’s betrayed no one, but he should suffer and lose a father because of it? I don’t know what the law would do about that situation, but I think it would very shabby of the man to write off that boy he’s been a father to for 15 years.

    Geewits – It was nice of your sweet wealthy guy to step up and help you raise your daughter. Did her biological father just skip out of the picture altogether? And why would it have been ridiculous for your mom to pay child support? I assume she still had some role in your life though? Because really, if XUP’s father had shown a sincere effort to do the right thing and be a father to her and give us whatever financial help he could, I wouldn’t even have had to push for a court-ordered child support.

  50. This whole topic of conversation has led me to a series of conclusions.
    While there are a surprising number of deadbeat parents out there there are way more stupid people.
    There needs to be a sort of vaccination to prevent pregnancy, and a license should have to be issued by the government for procreation. Only after a government panel of doctors,psychologists and accountants have approved the couple to be healthy physically,mentally, and fiscally should the permit be issued.

  51. The obvious and shameful reality of our society is that we place a higher value on dollars than on children. Men who still earn on average 30 % more than women are forever complaining about the inequities of having to pay alimony and or child support. Meanwhile they also complain endlessly about having to pay high taxes because of all the “welfare moms” milking the system. I suppose the rational response is that if a man doesn’t want a child for whatever reason at whatever point during the child’s life we should just toss the child away and let them starve to death.
    The facts are that the vast majority of deadbeat parents are the men who decide their life styles are more important than their children. Certainly there are some who honestly can’t cope with parenthood or even support payments but usually it is some wanker living a perfectly normal life that doesn’t wish to give up the golf membership or the annual vacations.
    Meanwhile politicians of all stripes pretend to care but do nothing about actually easing the path for supporting parents to get the finances they need to give the children a decent life.
    I am and I think all Canadians ought to be ashamed of the way children are slighted in this society.

  52. Lebowski – a parental “license” is something I think we should have created decades ago. Could you imagine how different society would be if you had to prove that you were socially and economically responsible in order to become parents?

  53. I think you have every right to complain about not getting support! And I agree, let them figure how much it really costs to raise a child “day by day.”
    I do have a lawyer, but, his hands are tied, there is no way he can prove what the ex “really” makes. His tax returns only show a small profit and his assets are all tied into farming loans. It is an unfair situation.

    Also, you said….
    The woman is responsible for contraception; she’s responsible for bearing and birthing the child or for having the fetus terminated; she’s responsible for raising that child and being a sole parent to him for the rest of his life and being totally responsible for him. That’s where the woman’s responsibility lies. All we’re asking from the guy is to write a cheque once a month. If you ask me the cheque writing is a hell of a lot easier than what the woman is responsible for.

    I could not have said this better myself!! You summed it up so well! Even when a man write’s a check, that alone does not near cover everything a child needs or deserves in life….. And even if a mother is working, she still needs help. I hope you can get what you deserve out of the “father.” His loss for not being in her life as well!!

    On another note…. some say we should chose more wisely who we have children with, or they say men are “pinned” with paying support. Considering that, I never knew about my husband’s unlawful activities or lifestyle, I did not know he was a bad choice (maybe I could have seen the red flags?)…. We went to church, and led a normal, morally sound life. When I found out what he was doing, I left him. I was tricked into believing he was a “good guy” and had changed his life for the better. Regarding him wanting children, he paid over $10,000 for invetro for us to produce our first child, then he encouraged me to try for #2. After I had our second child, he then encouraged me to quit my high-paying job (although I did hate it, so he really didn’t have to twist my arm), now I am back in school trying to find a way out of this situation I am stuck in. I can not find a job that will support myself and my children (or a job at all for that matter).

    Now that he has been exposed for being a criminal, he feels as though he shouldn’t have to support his children monitarilly or otherwise…. He wants to walk away leaving me totally responsible for the children. His lifestyle can not be disrupted in order to actually visit with, or take care of his children. Yet he will not give up his “joint custody” just because he would have to pay more, even though he does not excersise his right to make decisions, or to have liberal visitations, and his life-style is destructive and dangerous at best.

    I think Dave1949 had a great comment as well! Good for you standing up for the children!!

  54. Lebowski – People wanting to adopt kids have to go through stuff like that. Some countries have laws and conventions in place that sort of amounts to the same thing. It would be a good debate to have some time for sure. For the record, my daughter wasn’t an accident. We both, together, planned it. We both were financially secure, certainly old enough and, emotionally ready for a child – at least I was. Things, apparently changed not too far down the line. (PS: You may have noticed that I edited a bit of your comment. I don’t usually do that, but for reasons that I’ll be happy to talk to you about, I felt I had to in this case.)

    Dave – I then I read the other day that our infant mortality rates are abysmal. One in nine Canadian children live below the poverty line. Those in single-parent families live way below that line. That’s over a million Canadian children who aren’t getting their basic needs met. In a country were we can blow $1 billion in a couple of days on security for 20 people. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell to think.

    Ken – It would be interesting for sure. I know there are a lot of human rights arguments against such a thing, but if we can put adoptive parents through such a wringer, why not all parents?

    Gayle – I do beat myself up a lot about making such a foolish choice for a partner, but then realistically, I don’t think a person can be expected to know another person well enough to be able to predict what they’re going to do in the future. You go by what you know of that person. You trust your judgment. And you do what you think is best. We have no way of knowing that a person who wants and helps you plan a family will one day decide it’s not his cup of tea afterall and walk away. When I asked about your lawyer I was actually more concerned about your ex-husband’s substance abuse issues and criminal activities and why your lawyer would not be able to use those against him for the custody decisions. The child support thing – it’s a good thing to keep after no matter how much he pleads poverty or how busy he is hiding assets. Don’t let your claim go away because you never know what’s down the road. If anything happens to him, your kids should have a claim on his estate at least. The main thing now in your case is to keep them safe though.

  55. Here’s where we’re going to disagree, Xup. The kid has two parents, not one parent and one bank account. If the parent with custody doesn’t want the one without having anything to do with the child, then s/he shouldn’t want them to have anything to do with the child, period. That includes financially. If I’m gonna be supporting the kid financially, I’m damn well gonna be involved. It’s the single parents who try to go after the one without the other that I can’t wrap my head around. In situations like that, where the parent with custody is trying to obtain child support while not entertaining the idea of visitation if not joint custody, I have very little sympathy for the parent. In fact, were I in the situation of being the one without visitation access at the very least, I’d be fighting tooth and nail against paying child support for sure. If you want my money, that’s fine. that’s great–here you go. But, I want’ access to my child.

  56. Good lord. What nightmares you conjure with your scenarios. I can’t even begin to untangle the issues here.
    I will say, however, that if some guy accidentally knocked me up and if I were consistently drunk/hit on the head hard enough/brainwashed to make me want to keep the child, I certainly wouldn’t try to screw over the DNA donor. My decision, my consequences. Sex is already a dicey enough proposition what with STD’s and all; I wouldn’t up the ante and hang him out to dry for the next 18 years for *my* choice.

  57. @James. But you aren’t paying for a product. The money is to help support your child regardless of other circumstances. The child isn’t a possession.

    It is illegal to withhold child support over access issues AND it is illegal to withhold access over support issues.

  58. I used to visit Mom after I got my license and she came to see me sing once at the mall and stopped my by work a few times. But really I just don’t think she should have had to pay Dad any money. The whole divorce was his fault and she needed a clean break. He was actually ordered to pay her $1000 a month for 12 months. He made plenty of money and she was a secretary. I came to live with her here in Texas when I was just 4 months from 18 and he sent me money for spending money but as far as I know sent Mom and StepDad no money. It all worked out for all of us.
    As far as my daughter, her dad sent money every month during the school year but not during the summer when he had main custody and I sent him no money then. He was a huge part of her life and was there for every dance recital, volleyball game and theater performance. We also switched off all the main holidays. Like I said, I guess I’ve just been lucky.

  59. Opps… Why hasn’t anyone created a sarcasm smilie yet?
    I would NEVER actually seriously propose that the government have to issue you a permit or a license for you to procreate.
    The gov’t has no place in the bedrooms of the citizenry, and definitely NOT be in charge of procreation.
    By the time a decision would be made, it would be too late to actually do the duty.
    “HANDS OFF MY GENITALS!” (Unless you are buying me a drink first)

  60. James – I agree that whenever possible both parents should be involved in the child’s life. If, however, the non-custodial parent is violent or abusive or otherwise a danger to the child then he shouldn’t be alone with them – supervised visits perhaps. But if the father chooses not be involved in the child’s life or if the court orders him to have only supervised visits or even no visits then he still has to financially support that child. Why should the child go without financially just because he’s got an parent who doesn’t care or who is abusive? If you lost your visitation rights there is usually a reason, but that’s no excuse to wash your hands of your kids altogether.

    Susan – It was his choice also to have sex with you – a drunken/unconscious stranger. Why aren’t men just as responsible for conception and/or contraception?

    Mudmama – Thanks. People sure have some funny ideas.

    Geewits – You have been lucky to have responsible, reasonable people in your life. And your daughter has been lucky too, to have such mature and caring parents.

    Lebowski – It’s really not that terrible of an idea. Like I said – you have to go through a lot to adopt a child to prove you’re going to be a fit parent, why not go through the same process to have a biological child? Of course I don’t know how that would be regulated or implemented without gross violation of privacy and such. I was thinking of countries where they were or are trying to encourage a zero population growth where there are big rewards for not procreating.

  61. Like Brett says,no contraception is 100%. The last thing I want to do is end up paying for it for the next 18 years.

    And that’s assuming the woman is 100% honest and straightforward about her birth control. Which isn’t always 100% the case.

    This is why I’m reluctant to get involved with someone unless I really REALLY know them and trust them.

    And since I don’t currently know anyone who fits that category, for the time being, it’s easier to just stay away from the whole damned thing.

  62. Friar – Very wise. Is this wisdom you’ve acquired with age or were you always this responsible? Too bad there are still so many people – men, women, governments – who think it’s completely the woman’s job to prevent pregancy and to look after any kids that might result if they can’t/don’t

  63. You misread me somewhat; I was saying that something drastic would have to occur to me in order to make me want to carry the pregnancy to term.

    Your question still stands, though, and to that I say: sex doesn’t have to equal procreation. Recreational sex is perfectly valid (in my world, anyhow). Getting laid shouldn’t be a life-sentence for anyone.

    If I want the child, that’s *my* choice, not the sperm donor’s. If I frigged up with birth control, that’s *my* issue, not his… and if you’re leaving it (birth control) up to him, well, then, you get what you deserve. No, no method is perfect but you can come pretty freakin’ close if you put a little planning into it.

    It’s our body that bears the brunt of pregnancy, not theirs, therefore the onus of contraception is ours.

  64. Susan – Well, the onus certainly has always been on the woman, and yes, I agree that recreational sex is valid, but I still think men ought to take some moral responsiblity for offspring that might result from this recreational sex. It’s stupid on both ends to engage in sex with a stranger and think that there’s no possibility of consequences. What if he was infected with HIV from this woman because his condom was faulty? Is that all her fault? Even if she told him she was HIV positive? He chose to take that risk just like he chose to risk impregnating someone that he doesn’t know well enough to know whether or not she’d give birth to a child for which he would then be responsible. And he would be – legally – responsible. And, I think morally, too. It sucks for both of them. And it sucks that sex is fraught with so many pitfalls, but when there’s a kid in the picture, we have to make some big sacrifices to make sure that kid has the best possible start in life.

  65. my mother never got a dime of child support, our bio dad left her with three girls to raise without help. he’s an alcoholic (untreated). he now tells me that she wouldn’t accept any help from him.

    in the us, the man’s wages can be garnished (this is what my oldest sister did after many unsuccessful attempts to get it on her own).

    in our situation, the husband never wanted his ex to pay child support (he knew she would never be able to keep a job long enough to pay anyway).

    we now pay her child support, but our daughter often tells us that she doesn’t get new clothes or other items she needs. sadly i think the child support is just another way for his ex to screw him b/c she doesn’t even parent our daughter.

    things like this aren’t fair and don’t make sense. i hope beyond all hope that you can get your rightful due from the bastard. if a person makes a decision to have sex, they are also making the decision to become a parent.

    i think child support should be paid whether you are a man or woman.

  66. Leah – Right on. We garnish wages in Canada, too — in theory. This is what’s making me really ticked off is that the FRO hasn’t done this yet. They’ re still “waiting” to see if he agrees with the judges ruling from 12 months ago.