child support(24 Posts)
Okay, so maybe I'm being terribly unreasonable, but I feel like child support is a feminist issue. CSA currently puts it at 15% of income. But I reckon childcare costs alone are more than that in many cases. Do NRPs (mostly men) even cover the cost of childcare for half the week? Or are RPs (mostly women) subsidising the cost of childcare?
I might be coloured by my own experiences of course - DSis pays way more in childcare than her exP pays in child support.
I think a lot of issues around being a single parent are feminist and the low amount of CSA is one of them.
Setting such a low minimum allows NRPs to think they've "done their share" when they're not actually covering half the cost of raising their child which is absurd. But also, the lack of enforcement when NRPs falsely lower their income or refuse to pay is such a let down for the RP.
It never fails to amaze me how single parents are treated as the lazy good for nothings by the media, when people who abandon their children and leave the state and the RP to support them in their stead don't get an ounce of vitriol. It's completely backwards and almost certainly because most RPs are women and most NRPs (particularly the self employed I'm only earning £5 a week gov' variety) are men.
It is absolutely a feminist issue.
I don't know the answer though, as both parents need to have a home that the children can come to and that is a huge baseline cost for both.
I was on another forum sometime this week, which is mainly men posting. They were complaining about how unfair the courts were in terms of access and also about CSA.
It seems to be one of those things where everyone knows someone who's been screwed over. I've never really seen any statistics or evidence tho.
I have no stakes in this, but it does seem to me that if it's all about the children, then we really should be enforcing everything more.
Resident parents (generally women) who block access (sometimes even with very good reason) are sanctioned by courts, because they're stopping the child seeing their other parent. Yet NRP who don't bother to visit aren't sanctioned, despite their actions having exactly the same effect on the kids.
Ditto the money - if a RP wasn't providing clothing or unsuitable accommodation or food that would be neglect, but a NRP not providing the care or money is largely ignored.
It just all seems a little one-sided.
I agree GTJ, some actions from some NRPs would be neglect if the RP did them and it should be possible to take swift action (impounding goods or whatever) if mandated maintenance isn't paid.
Totally agree with GTJ. If costs for DCs were fairly calculated, 15% wouldn't cover it in the majority of cases. RPs are consistently seen as the money grabbers, while NRP who try and wangle the system or begrudge paying for their DC's are sympathised with far too often IMO.
I might be interesting to do a study based on how much 15% of the RPs income is, compared to 15% of the NRP's nationally.
In cases where the access arrangement is EOW and 1 night in the week, that tends to be because, in the court's opinion the parent with care has been the parent who has provided the lion's share of the care before the end of the relationship. This will often have catastrophic effects on the RPs earning potential.
38 hours a week at NMW earns £1018.40 a month gross. On that gross figure £152.76 is 15%. So, say £140 after tax an NI is what the NRP pays in child support, if they pay. That would just about pay for a week's child care if the RP works full time. It's bloody derisory. I suspect that, if the RP only spent £140 a month on the child, then there would be all sorts of sanctions made on them.
I recently read a book about single women with kids - there was one case where a woman wanted a child, while her boyfriend wanted no children ... but when she had separated from him and was looking for a sperm donor, he volunteered - basically, he wanted to get to have biological children with no responsibility.
It also said that about 90% of single men did have no wish to have children whatsoever - but of course they still want to be cared for in their old age, which will be provided by the children of other people.
In my opinion, the cost of childcare should be paid by government, fully, and financed by higher taxes for childless people (including men who don't live, full time, in the same household with children.)
I am aware that getting rich men to pay their taxes is hard, but so is getting fathers to pay child support - and single moms have other problems to deal with on top of that.
Something like 40% of single parents don't receive any money from the NRP. And those are only the ones that go through CSA (or whatever its called now). Gingerbread state that the majority of single parents do not receive any payments. Their stats page is here. As 91% of single parents are women this is most definitely a feminist issue.
It's shocking. I can guarantee though that if 91% of single parents were male and women were refusing to pay maintenance etc. the law would be changed yesterday. There would be penalties and sanctions. Being a deadbeat just wouldn't be tolerated.
The more I think of the rhetoric that single mothers are a burden on the tax payer, the more I realise that that's exactly wrong.
The single mothers are more than making their economic contribution to the country by raising the kids (and paying childcare whilst struggling to work once the children are 5 now)
Its the fathers, not paying their share who are the burden on the taxpayer - because it's the state that has to provide the money to help support the child instead (with the single mother doing the work of two parents to make up the inevitable shortfall in money and childcare).
Good point GTJ.
I am on another thread right now with someone arguing that all babies should be DNA tested at birth to avoid the fairly rare occurrence of a man paying for a child that "isn't his"
Considerably less outrage about the tsunami of men proven NOT to be paying for a child that IS theirs
Oh, that thread. I really do wonder how someone even gets this ridiculous idea.
Babys whose fathers pay child support ARE already tested if there is any doubt about parentage. It is only the children who live in an intact family who are not tested - and why would they? Why would a man not want to financially support a child he has the joy of seeing grow up?
Besides, this obsession with "who is to blame for the child's existence" is nonsensical, considering that developed countries have problems with too few children rather than too many.
The employees and taxpayers of tomorrow don't spring into existence by the magic of capitalism. They are birthed and raised by women - another field wherein women's work is invisibled.
They are birthed and raised by women - another field wherein women's work is invisibled
Yes - the financial contribution by a NRP is just that - but it really should also be compensating the RP for the extra childcare burden they are shouldering.
The reason it isn't is because childcare is women's work, it's seen as free, when in reality it's a huge economic contribution that a RP (who's doing the majority of the childcare - I'm assuming it's not 50/50 care) should be compensated for.
GreenTomatoJam I agree with you in relation to the abnegation of responsibility of non resident parents. It always stuns me that in terrible cases of abuse the NPRs have the brazen neck to go public and criticise social services for failing their children.
I can't recall the names now ,but there was that awful case in England of the little boy who starved to death in a rubbish filled house.His father,who lived in the same town, did the "my poor son bit"
It is interesting that if an NRP were to lose his job he would see absolutely no reduction in his mortgage/gas bill/ mobile phone contract but child support is seen as completely optional financial commitment.
Yep vestal just that "They are birthed and raised by women - another field wherein women's work is invisibled".
I've been a totally lp for 7yrs now and we need feminism more than ever. <<too tired to construct a decent post>>
I have brought DD up myself for nearly twelve years, her father left when she was a baby. Maintenance has not been forthcoming for eight of those years. I can't even be bothered writing the whole ins and outs of it; he has two other children now and responsibilities there, he says.
DS's dad, who I am separated from and never lived with properly, long story) pays basic maintenance but did once send me an email prevaricating about how he should calculate an annual increase - the difference in his methods meant a three pound increase monthly or a one pound fifty one. And I think the total paid a third of the childcare costs, when he saw DS EOW and not even overnight.
both DC are in school and I am still paying more childcare than I get in maintenance, but beginning to pay off some debt which is good. DS's dad is a bit better with paying for stuff but only because we are a bit more reconciled now.
It is a form of financial abuse not to pay; but paying can also be a means of control. I just do what I can for DC mostly myself and that is the way it is. But yes, absolutely a feminist issue.
I'm not a feminist, but I think childcare costs should be split equally between parents instead of being a percentage of an income.
I think it's very hard to quantify many parts of childcare costs - how do you quantify how much it costs to be solely responsible for a life 24/7?
At the moment, it's free - the money NRPs pay in maintenance (those that pay the 15% amount that is - even the DWP doesn't think that's more than 60%), wouldn't come close to paying for someone else to look after the children 50% of the time. If I go with Plays NMW figures above, then it wouldn't even pay for 1 child to go to a childminder for 2.5 days a week here - ie. it wouldn't even pay for the NRP to go to work, let alone make any attempt to compensate for the rest of the time that a RP would spend looking after the children.
And that's before you start on all the practical costs around raising a child (room, food, clothes)
Turns out I do have some strong feelings about this, despite not being in the situation myself!
Turns out I do have some strong feelings about this, despite not being in the situation myself!
Me too. The fact that I WOULD be in this situation if I chose to have children, and my choice is therefore restricted, is enough to make me very angry at this state of things.
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