Defending Dads

You're doing your jobs. You and your kids deserve better.

In Matters of Support

Child support as envisioned by the state is, for those forced to carry the burden, a nightmare. You will need to summon every fiber of self-control possible to swallow that bitter pill and go on with your life. Prepare yourself.

The state of Pennsylvania uses a formula to calculate the support you should pay. This formula does not take into account your living expenses and existing obligations. If you have any hope of maintaining the lifestyle you enjoyed before divorce, you will need to replace any income your ex-wife or ex-girlfriend takes with her and then some.

It is very possible you will need to drastically scale down your lifestyle to meet support obligations. This is punitive and patently unfair. Divorce lawyers have told me that this will not change in our lifetime. My question is “why?” Every divorce or breakup occurs under different circumstances, however, for men who have lived up to their obligations, the effect is we feel like idiots for having done right by our families. This is plain crazy and I, for one, cannot stomach it.

It’s critical to state that I am not bitter, I do not stalk the people who have used the system to their advantage and I do not seek revenge. What I want is justice. REAL justice. The laws should be re-examined, the rules need to change, the playing field must be leveled. If I’m obsessed with anything, it’s to see changes in the laws reflective of the casual attitudes people carry into starting families.

Guys, I’ve tried to avoid saying this, but I need to go on record today: Marriage as promoted is often pure fantasy. This is increasingly true for both genders, especially women for whom getting out of marriage is as simple as having a change of heart and hiring a lawyer. I would never deny anyone’s right to leave a failing marriage, but my concern is what happens once either spouse makes that decision without having a meaningful discussion about it with the other.

Divorce lawyers are a fickle breed. They generally make a living off the misery of others. The more misery, the more billable hours. They are no different from any skilled salesperson. They see potential clients walk into their offices, they make quick assessments, they play to the emotions of whomever is sitting in front of them, and they go about their business regardless of the impact to the parties involved, particularly the children. Amicable divorces are rare because of divorce attorneys! How much money can they make from couples who part on good terms?

Successful marriage today? Clearly, the odds are against it, particularly when people feel entitled to change their minds at the drop of a hat and renege on vows they took before God and family. I didn’t believe in the institution to begin with and having experienced it only reinforces that position. That’s fine, but what really disturbs me is that, suddenly, I have to deal with courts, lawyers and judges! These people know private details about and make arbitrary decisions that affect my life! In plain English, it sucks and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

The good news is that this is America. Fighting against what I see as a blatant violation of my rights is an uphill battle, but at least it is one I have the right to wage. And I will. For me, my kids and any dads dealing with similar issues who will stand with me. Guys, let’s do this.

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