Refusing Child Support
Once in awhile, I write a post that I know I’m going to take some flames for. I don’t write controversial stuff just for the sake of being controversial, but occasionally an issue comes along that I really believe in and I’m willing to stand up and speak my mind about, and this is one of those cases.
Some single parents refuse, or choose not to seek out, child support from their child’s biological parent. Why? The reasons I’ve heard include the following:
1. They can raise their child on their income alone, and don’t want help from the other parent. They would rather do it by themselves.
2. They feel that the child is better off without the other parent in their life for any number of reasons, so they don’t want to accept child support because they don’t want the noncustodial parent to be allowed visitation.
3. They don’t want to anger the noncustodial parent by seeking financial support– they want the relationship to stay civil and friendly for the child’s sake.
Although I can understand the reasons behind the decision, and recognize that really none of it is any of my business anyway (before everyone comes in here and screams that at me), I still personally take issue with it.
First of all, and this is my biggest issue: child support is not your money. It’s your child’s. The money is only paid to you because your child would probably rather spend it on candy or video games than daycare or vegetables. Maybe you truly don’t need that money to give your child the things he or she needs. But if that were me, I’d still take the money and put it in a savings account for college or something. Because that money is not mine to refuse.
Also, it’s actually a myth that seeking child support means you are obligated to allow visitation. Many single parents don’t realize that child support is actually an issue that is completely independent from custody and visitation– a parent who pays child support may be denied visitation, and conversely, a parent who is behind on paying child support cannot be denied visitation. The judge makes the decisions on child support and visitation, and they are not related to each other at all.
And as for the last issue, if you read this blog regularly you know that I am a huge proponent of keeping things civil between coparents at the expense of pretty much anything else, because it’s what’s best for the child. However, you have to stick up for your child and draw a line somewhere, and in my opinion, child support is a good place to do it. It’s one thing to let it slide for the sake of civility if, say, the other parent consistently shows up 10 minutes late. It’s entirely another to give them a pass on financial support that you could be using to give your child a better life.
Of course there must be special situations in which denying or not seeking support is the right thing to do, but in general, it’s not charity money– it’s a legal financial obligation, and to deny receiving it is to do your child a disservice. In my humble opinion. Now, go ahead and flame the bejeesus out of me in the comments. I’ve got my flameproof suit on and I’m ready.Add a Comment