Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Making me Sick

There are no words for how repugnant I find this new show.

The show, called "Bad Dads" is being described as a sort of Dog the Bounty Hunter for "deadbeat dads." Setting aside my personal feeling that men should have the same rights to terminate an unwanted pregnancy as women, I have also done extensive research into the phenomenon of the "deadbeat dad" and here is what I have learned:

1.) Most of the debt owed by "deadbeat dads" is owed by men who make less than 40k a year. When states are asking men to fork over 30 percent (the industry standard) of their salary to a child, while trying to raise their own families plus trying to have some kind of home in which to house themselves and their children, it is too much to ask. Then these men cannot pay and they still end up with their photos on pizza boxes, humiliating both them and their children.

2.) Putting a man in jail or revoking his passport because he is a "deadbeat" does not help children get money. All it helps the child support collection agencies' PR machine.

3.) There is not another loan a person can default on in this country and be called a "deadbeat." But default on child support and you get to look like pond scum in front of everyone.

4.) Just because a man cannot afford to pay his child support does not mean that he does not see or love his children. And in fact, none of the other gifts he might give his children or space he provides in his house count towards his child support obligation. If he has to travel to visit them, it does not count. If he has to pay obscene amounts of child support, which are patently unfair, how can he also afford to see his children?

5.) Many women are living better than the "deadbeats" they are trying to get money from. But there is no formula for what a new spouse makes or what her salary is. In most states it is just 25-30 percent. Period.

The family court system in this country is in need of reform. In our criminal courts, all cases are given equal weight and consideration. In family court, lazy judges assign numbers and formulas to family time based on antiquated figures and research studies. And who pays the most? The children.

I am so sick of seeing men vilified by the media in this way, so sick of people's knee jerk reactions. This is simply a situation that is impossible to understand unless you have been there. But it is so easy for people to have opinions and so I am sure many man-hating women who have been dumped or otherwise mistreated by men will love this show. Meanwhile the men who want nothing more than to be close to their children, but cannot afford the ridiculously high child support obligation they were arbitrarily assigned will take another hit in the media.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

I agree with you. While there are certainly men who deserve the "deadbeat" label, there are countless others like those you describe here. The court system needs to change to take into account all of these factors. In some cases, the mother isn't thinking of her children's best interests.