A Fathers’ Right Myth: Paying Support
July 22, 2013
In more than one article as of late I have read, “A father has a right to pay child support,” or similar and have been left completely bemused. This type of comment is so very wrong.
For starters the point of view this is made from is rather sexist. It dismisses joint custody, shared parenting or that mothers should pay support. It assumes maternal custody and that a male is supposed to financially subsidize that arrangement.
Not only sexist, it is factually wrong. Don’t newsrooms employ fact checkers anymore? What the law says is that a child has a right to receive support, not that a father has a right to pay it. Even without knowing the law though the statement should be seen as obvious drivel.
Currently when a father doesn’t pay child support he is considered to be denying a child its federally protected right to receive support. So he gets arrested, sentenced, thrown in jail and branded a convicted felon after that for denying the child its protected right.
So if, as many would have us believe, that a father has a right to pay child support, what happens when a mother does not tell a father about a pregnancy?
Kinda hard to pay support for a child you don’t know about. If a father had a federal right to pay support then the mother would be arrested, sentenced, thrown in jail and branded a convicted felon for denying the father his right to pay support.
We don’t do that of course because a father doesn’t have that right. Nor does a woman in the U.S. have a legal obligation to inform him of a child in the first place.
How about paternity fraud where a support order is placed against some chump and not the actual father?
Even if the actual father knows about his child he still can’t pay support. You can’t have two support orders for the same child from two different fathers. And please don’t say, “just give the mother money,” either. Almost everywhere inclulding here in Washington state that is a gift, not support. So if a father really had a right to pay support, women who commit paternity fraud would be arrested, sentenced, thrown in jail and branded a convicted felon for denying the father his right to do so.
We don’t do that either. Not only because a father doesn’t have that right but paternity fraud is perfectly legal and morally acceptable here.
How about Putative Father Registry (PFR) states such as my neighbor, Idaho?
These PFR states in the U.S. allow mothers to take a father’s child from him and place it into adoption without his consent or even notice. How do you pay support for a child that you don’t even know exists? If a father, “had a right to pay support,” then each woman who did this would be arrested, sentenced, yadda yadda, yadda, for denying a father his federal right.
Again, we don’t do that because a father doesn’t have that right. For states that don’t have a PFR you can apply the same question to Safe Haven laws that allow a mother to abandon children without consent or notice even if it has a fit father.
And not only is the statement sexist and factually wrong but it is rather prejudice. It assigns a father’s parental responsibilities only to males. In Washington State we legalized gay marriage a bit ago. When two women divorce the non-birth woman is considered the de-facto father. A child has the same rights to collect support from her as it would from the male father of a hetero marriage.
If it really was true that, “father’s have a right to pay support,” then non-birth mothers of gay marriages would be denied their right to pay support as the child’s legal father once divorced. The child would also be denied its right to collect support since it has two mothers and no male father.
Sexist, prejudice and just plain wrong. So next time you run across this type of statement being used to justify one issue or another hopefully you’ll see it for the nonsensical gibberish that it is.
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