Child support system encourages misuse

As an increasing number of states consider alimony and child support reform, a variety of social issues are coming to light that reveal the complex problems that plague these legal institutions. Child support in Minnesota is designed to improve the lives of young residents, not pad the pocketbooks of their parents. Critics of current systems argue, however, that many adults seek financial gain by manipulating laws. Poor parents are effectively punished through these requirements, while men and woman are both incentivized to have children with wealthy partners for their own gain.

A noncustodial parent with a high income - categorized in the millions - might not even notice the modest child support requirements levied upon his or her earnings. The squeeze starts to happen as soon as incomes drop even into the low six-figure range. Those earners are often severely affected, especially if they live in expensive cities such as New York.

These parents are victims of rigid child-support calculation codes that mandate specific formulas for income distribution. The court adds both parents' incomes together, using a specific percentage structure to determine who should pay whom for child support needs. Although these formulas may appear useful on the surface, they often yield unfair results for the non-custodial parent.

One Georgia man who was paying $336,000 each year in child support successfully had his payments lowered after an audit revealed that the mother of his children was mismanaging the funds. She had used the money to renovate the house and educate a child who was not related to the man. Further, she refused to seek employment despite her educational credentials and good health. As a result, his payments were dropped to just $60,000 each year.

Still, poorer parents struggle to pay the legal fees to get court-ordered child support enforced. Ultimately, the system is so broken that both wealthy and low-income families struggle in some ways to conform to existing requirements.

If you suspect that your ex-spouse is abusing your child support money, consult the services of a qualified family attorney. This professional can evaluate your existing order and determine whether it complies fairly with legal mandates.

Source:, "Child-support laws: a boon for gold diggers?" Keli Goff, May. 22, 2013

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