Myths and Truths About Custody and Child Support
in the United States
||Deadbeat Dads are common - most men
don't pay their child support.
||Somewhere between 80 and 100% of men who
are employed pay all their
ordered child support, depending on who
you ask. Even mothers
(who are clearly biased against
honest reporting in this area) report
that 80% of fathers who are employed pay
all that they owe. One must ask, of
course, how you can expect a man who
doesn't have an income to pay child
The huge majority of men who do not pay their child support
are either (1) unemployed, (2) in prison, or (3) dead - literally.
It is impossible, of course, to collect child support from
any of these men, as they are unable to pay. Florida discovered
this when they spend more than $4 million and collected a
paltry couple of hundred thousand - proof positive that you
can't enforce payment in the event that the obligor simply
doesn't have the money - or isn't even breathing.
This myth that "deadbeat dads are common" is the
fruit of often-cited Census data on child support compliance
- data that is fatally flawed. The Census Bureau asked only
custodial parents if they were paid in full and on time,
and never cross-checked any of their information - nor did
they ask the non-custodial parent! Needless to say, asking
the recipient alone is akin to asking the fox to guard the
henhouse. (Source: US Census Bureau)
||Men make up the bulk of domestic
abusers and thus all allegations of
domestic violence against them are
WOMEN are in fact the majority of domestic
abusers. The percentage is not very different - 55 to 45%
according to the most credible and recent studies in both
the US and Australia - but it is a fact. Further, controlling
for the severity of violence (ie: hit with hand, used weapon,
threw object, etc) women still out-abuse
men by a small percentage. Yet virtually all domestic violence
"programs" and laws suggest - if not outright state
- that women simply don't perpetrate any
The "dirty little secret" in all of this is that
the highest incidence of domestic violence is among lesbian
couples. By definition there isn't a man in those households.
If men were in fact the perpetrators of most domestic violence
we would expect to see virtually no violence in lesbian households.
Rather, on a percentage-of-household basis, they account for
the largest percentage of such incidents among all
||Children are most often physically
and sexually abused by their fathers.
Children are most likely to be physically
abused by their mothers, and are more than
twice as likely to be killed by their mothers than their biological
fathers. They are most likely to be abused sexually
by their stepfathers or mother's boyfriends - men who were
invited into their home by their mothers! We could
eliminate the majority of sexual abuse of children
by refusing to allow a child to reside in his mother's home
if she has a live-in lover or remarries. (Source: US Department
of Health and Human Services)
However, unlike many "pressure groups" we do not
advocate separating kids from their biological parents under
any circumstance unless it can be proven that they
are in actual danger of harm.
||Most men abandon their children
following divorce and want nothing to do
Even if you ask mothers
how often this happens, only 12 percent attempt to
claim that their ex-husbands voluntarily
refuse to visit and spend time with their children. If you
ask fathers, only three percent claim that
they voluntarily miss time they should have with their children.
In fact, a quarter of mothers admit they
interfere with or deny entirely the children's father's access
to their kids!
The truth is that according to a study done by Sanford Braver,
PhD (Arizona State University) only one in six fathers get
the custodial arrangements they wanted. A study done by Stanford
University in the late 1980s showed the same thing - close
to 70% of fathers wanted either joint or sole physical custody.
Statistically speaking, fathers don't abandon their children
- they are forced out following divorce by the mothers of
those children, usually without justification or legally-relavent
||Women's standards of living drop
precipitously after divorce, while men's
||The source of this myth is a book entitled The Divorce
Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences
for Women and Children in America, written by Lenore Weitzman,
PhD, in 1985. This work has been thoroughly discredited - not
only were there simple mathematical errors in her calculations
but her methodology was fatally flawed. Yet it took her eleven
years to publicly admit to these mistakes - an event that
finally occurred in 1996 in American Sociological Review.
The problem with this is that a huge number of states -
virtually all - have upwardly revised their child support guidelines
by using and citing this work - a work which was and is an admitted
fraud! I say fraud
because there is documented proof
that she was made aware of the problems with this study fully
seven years before she admitted to the errors, taking them
from the realm of "mistake" into "deliberate
deception". Where is the compensation - the refund
- for all the fathers who have been massively overbilled - in
some cases by more than twice what they should have been assessed
- in child support as a direct consequence of this fraudulent
"study", and when will these laws and "guidelines"
be overturned now that the truth is known? The silence
from feminists on this point - faced with irrefutable proof
of the flaws in this work - the very people who pushed for these
guideline increases - has been deafening.
Indeed, even today we see people cite this book as "proof"
that child support awards are too infrequently collected and
too small to begin with. Not one major media outlet
has paraded the truth about this "study" - that
is was and is patently incorrect both in its methodology and
simple command of mathematics.
||Men are the ones who initiate most divorces and want to leave
the marriage - usually because of an extramarital involvement.
between 65% and 80% of all divorces over
the objections of their husbands.
Further, among causes for divorce an
affair ranks sixth and any sort
of abuse - whether alcohol, violence, or
drug-related - doesn't show up until the eleventh
cause. When a wife divorces her husband
for reasons such as a "gradual
growing apart" or "serious
differences in lifestyle" (the top
two reasons!) and takes the kids with
her, her ex-husband truly has been
disenfranchised - and left powerless.
||Child Support is for the children and
has to be spent on their health,
well-being and care.
Not one state in the US requires recipients of child support
to actually prove that the amounts received are 1) necessary
to meet the children's needs or 2) are actually spent in the
children. A number of states, in fact, actually document
in their laws that part of the purpose of child support is
to protect the standard of living of the custodial parent
- almost always the mother - which would have existed had
the divorce not taken place. If child support
were actually for the children then a payer would
be able to demand documentation that 1) the amount paid was
actually necessary for the children's needs, and 2) was actually
spent exclusively on the children.
In fact, one may reasonably wonder just what "child
support" is really for, especially in the case where
parents have joint physical custody. In most states, including
Illinois, the presence of Joint Custody has very little, if
any, impact on the award of child support - even though such
practices appear to fly in the face of the statutes as written
in many of these situations.