Should Mothers Have To Prove Child Support Is Being Spent On Their Children?

November 5, 2015  |  

Many are of the mindset that the child support system greatly favors mothers. The truth is the system exists to benefit children, but because most of those children are in the custody of their mothers, that’s who gets the check. The problem a lot of people see with that — mostly fathers required to pay money each month– is there’s no checks and balances to make sure those checks are actually being spent on the child.

It’s a fair concern, particularly in the realm of the rich and famous, where women reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support annually. While we know it’s not cheap to raise a kid (the latest estimate says it costs $245K), we also know it doesn’t cost a million dollars either so some of that overflow of funds most definitely benefits the mother. But when you think of everyday couples who are not a part of the begrudged 1%, a policy requiring proof child support checks are spent on the child’s necessities and not their own wants sounds like more paperwork than it’s worth.

According to the 2010 Census, child support payments in America averaged $430/month that year. In few cities is that enough money to even keep a roof over a child’s head (which is part of the expense of raising a kid), let alone feed, clothe, put them through a good school, and pay for extracurricular activities. Asking a woman to account for such a small sum of money on a monthly or annual basis as any sort of routine procedure likely couldn’t be justified by the number of personnel needed to actually handle the paperwork.

What should exist though, is a procedure for men (and the 15% of women who pay child support) to launch an investigation into their child’s parent if they believe those funds are being mismanaged. For example, the child doesn’t have clothes or their shoes are falling apart, or they have reason to believe the home is being neglected in some way. It’s hard to deny the inherent bias in the child support system which often leaves fathers voiceless and expected to turn over a large percentage of their check blindly each month, but assuming all mothers misuse child support funds for the sake of their own benefit isn’t the way to go about evening the score.

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