Paying child support can be a bitter pill to swallow. Many soon-to-be divorced parents do not realize just how expensive it can be. It is not uncommon for a non-custodial parent to be ordered to pay well over one hundred dollars per week in child support. But it is essential that the parent incurring the child support obligation recognize a difference between the bitterness towards their former spouse and the obligation to their child.
Divorces tend to turn into a battle between two spouses. They learn to hate each other just as much as they ever learned to love one another. Even the smallest of issues can turn into giant mountains that both parties believe will never be overcome. Assets must be collected and divided. The parties must decide who will keep the marital residence and who will find a new place to live. Custody of the children must be determined and a parenting time schedule must be put into place. Then child support must be established. To top it off, typically all of those issues are decided, either by agreement or by the court, twice — the first time as a temporary order/agreement and the second time as a permanent order/agreement. Needless to say, the process can be heated, emotional and downright ugly.
It is easy for a parent to misdirect the anger and hatred he/she is feeling towards the other parent and direct it at the child support obligation. I received good advice from a more seasoned lawyer while I was still in law school. A client, who was a non-custodial parent, began to complain about the custodial parent’s request that child support be paid on time and in full. The seasoned attorney interrupted the client and put an end to the complaining. He explained that child support is for the benefit of the children, not for the benefit of the custodial parent. Complaining about the custody battle, the division of the assets, or the actions of the parent prior to the divorce was one thing, but complaining about paying child support for the children was inappropriate. He reminded the client that his children were stuck in the middle of the divorce and that being upset about paying child support is misdirecting the anger at the children. The seasoned attorney was right.
Child support is put in place to help the children enjoy the standard of living they would have enjoyed had the marriage never ended. This reasoning makes perfect sense considering that the children had little to no choice in making the decision for the parents to get divorced. Although the child support payments may appear to be more than what would have spent on the children had the marriage continued, which is a common complaint, rarely do the parents take into account that as divorced parents they now have two residences to pay for, two sets of utility bills to pay for, and two households to supply food for. Those added costs, however, are the consequences of the parents’ decisions.
The parents made the mistakes that ultimately led to the divorce, and the parents made the decision to get divorced. The children should not suffer from the divorce any more than they absolutely have to. Divorce is difficult enough on children, they should not be the target of unnecessary anger because of a child support obligation.
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