This is in response to “Parents want deadbeats to pay” in the June 5 edition of The Daily Reflector. From 1969-1983, my mom received no child support because my father left the United States before he filed for a divorce. So the current child support system would not have helped my mother to raise me. Deadbeats will always find a way to cheat the system.
Sure, the current child support system will do a good job of catching the middle-class, otherwise law-abiding fathers who remain gainfully employed. But there are three types of fathers that the system will never do anything about: career criminals, turnip dads and street-smart dads. The career criminal laughs at the system because he enjoys jail. He gets three hot meals a day, color cable TV, free medical care and he still doesn’t have to write a check. The turnip dad is too poor to pay child support. Because he is homeless or sleeping on a friend’s couch, jail is a paradise compared to his current lifestyle. And the street-smart dad may abscond overseas. This is illegal, but it’s also difficult to do anything about.
Now for the part that will make people angry: The best way to raise children is in a married nuclear family, not single fatherhood or single motherhood. Children in single-parent homes do less well in school, are more likely to commit crimes and are less likely to have successful relationships when they reach adulthood. For more information, see the research of Cynthia Harper and Sarah McLanahan. And a single parent is less likely to find a suitable replacement for the missing biological parent. For those who disagree, look up the “Cinderella Effect.”
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