There are obvious differences when it comes to men and women. From the physical characteristics to the emotional DNA, men and women have distinctive qualities that distinguish the two genders. Not so long ago, from a young age, young girls have been taught, more so, to be domesticated while little boys were more involved in physical activities, may it be sports or household chores such as taking out the trash. However, little girls were taught to cook, clean, wash clothes and to take care of themselves. In essence, different sets of principles have long been engrained in the minds and hearts of men and women.
Moreover, women are typically held to a higher standard than men. For instance, when a man has multiple partners, he’s celebrated. However, in the same situation, a woman is ostracized or frowned upon by society; she wears the “Scarlett Letter”. There are a growing number of men staying home to take care of the children and the household while women are working supporting the family? In this instance, men would be viewed as taking advantage of his wife and not being the head of the household. However, for several decades, women have been pushing for equality in the work place, at home, in society and even in politics. In today’s society, women are the breadwinner in 40% of household, compared to 11% in 1960. The growing success of women’s financial status has seen increases in women being responsible for household expenses and in cases of divorces; women are paying alimony to their ex-spouse.
However, to get to the heart of this article, I have been in a ten year debate regarding women paying child support. Just in case you missed it, it’s worth repeating, I have been in a ten year debate regarding women, mothers, paying child support to men, fathers who have custody of their child(ren). Should a mother be financially responsible to the father when he has custody of the children? If so, when did the double standard change in this area? For argument sake, I strongly believe that it’s a mother’s place to raise her child or children. After all, for nine months the fetus depended on the mother while she was pregnant which formed a bond way before the father had contact.
First, double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations, or by two different people in the same situation according Wikipedia.org. Surprisingly, when custodial fathers were asked if they received financial support from the mother, the majority of fathers was not receiving money or expected money from the mother. However, reverse the situation and the mothers have custody, the majority, if not all women received child support or expected financial support from the father.
After a bitter divorce, Tracey and Scott had shared parenting with their daughter. After several years of living in a city that Tracey begin to detest, she decided to move back to her home town. When planning her move, Tracey never figured that a child custody battle would ensure for their daughter. Since the divorce happened in the county in which they resided, the court documents stated that the child could not leave to county’s jurisdiction. Still attempting to move back home with her daughter, Tracey had to resolve to leaving with the father having residential custody of their daughter. Tracey now became the noncustodial parent and Scott filed for child support. Tracey’s friends were flabbergasted that she decided to leave her daughter behind, but, was in disbelief when they found out that she had an order to pay money to Scott. Tracey was reprimanded by her peers on a regular basis by her decision and also spoke about how unfair it was for Scott to demand child support from her. Tracey said, “There were no differences between Scott paying child support because if I had custody, I would want him to assist in the financial as well as the physical upbringing of our daughter.” Tracey expressed that she don’t mind paying monthly for the well-being of her daughter. Moreover, she doesn’t feel as she’s abandoned her daughter, but knew that she had to make a decision that will place her in a better situation in which she could better herself to take care of herself and her daughter. Even though she’s scolded by her friends, she’s stands by her decision.
On the other hand, Jack is a father of five children by three different mothers. He’s actually married to the mother of two of his children. Jack has paid child support for three children and even when they are with him during the summer months. Jack says, “The mothers have never had to demand payment from me. I wanted to be responsible for my children and know the inherited expenses of raising my children. “It is negligence when one parent does not contribute to raising his children,” Jack said. However, Jack did confess that if he had custody of his children, he wouldn’t expect either of the mothers to pay child support to him. “It seems odd to accept money from a mother”, he said. Jack’s statement was in line with the majority of conversations I’d had with fathers. However, for Tracey, Scott was one of the few men that expected and demanded child support from the mother. Jack’s conversation brought back a question posed by a noncustodial father paying child support regularly. Like Jack, he too had visitation over the summer with his daughter. His question and concern was, “Why do I have to continue paying money to my daughter’s mother when my daughter is with me or my mother over the summer.” This father was very angered that he had to be financially responsible during the times he spent with his daughter. However, when asked did he want the mother to pay him during those months, his response was, “No.” He just wanted his payments suspended.
Now back to the double standard and the question posed earlier in this article, should a mother pay child support to the father when he has custody of the children?