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So, the other day I read an article online through Time Magazine.  Here is the link to the article: Time Article Entitled “Deadbeat Dads”. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The point of the article is pretty basic:  Some dads get a bad wrap for being considered “Deadbeat Dads.”  The article likes to point out that while these dads aren’t paying child support per se, they are providing other things for the kids such as buying them things directly, giving gifts or useful things to the kids, buy baby supplies and ect.  That’s great.  But you know what I call that, gifts.  Not child support.  And its nice that they are buying gifts and giving a bit extra but what would really be nice is if they would pay what they are required to pay.

Im sure the single mom out there that has to pay $500 – $800 per month just to put there children in daycare really appreciates the few box of diapers, formula, and toys the father brings over but that’s just scratching the surface.  I’m sure what these mothers really need is money to put towards this daycare cost which enables them to work one to two jobs to make all the ends meet.

The article further wants us to feel sorry for these guys for “doing the best they can.”  But I don’t think they are.  If I were to interview some of these single mother’s out there providing for nearly everything for the children, I think a comparison of what “the best they can do” far exceeds that of the best these deadbeat dads are doing.  You see, when the monthly bills, daycare, rent, food, extra-curricular expenses, medical bills and all the other expenses associated with children are staring a single mother in the face, her best is usually shown by her working multiple jobs, borrowing money from family, and quite frankly doing whatever it takes to make sure her children have what they need.  That’s the standard we should be measuring these dads by.  Are they doing “whatever it takes” instead of “just the best they can.”

If they haven’t paid their court ordered child support one month I want to know, how many friends or family members did they ask for financial help of if they tried to sell off something for money like a guitar, a rifle, any collectible items, sell plasma or semen, take online surveys for money, or do anything else in an attempt to create value and generate money.  Then I want to know how many hours they are working each week.  Are they working at least 60 hours per week?  If the answer to all of these questions is “no” then that person simply isn’t doing “whatever it takes” they are lazy and just choose to consider this half ass approach in life as being their best.  They need to raise their standards and when that happens, everything else will fall in to place for them.

I did sympathize with one group of men in the article as in my early years of practice I had represented quite a few of them.  These are the men that pay there child support every month but do it directly in the form of cash or direct deposit in their ex’s bank account.  I have seen the attorney general go after these people in the past and back then I would help get them off.  I remember getting an individual out of jail who had made $150,000 in direct deposit payments over the course of 6 years, but the OAG at first didn’t want to give him credit for any of it since it didn’t actually go through the Texas State Disbursement Unit, which is normally where all Texas Child Support must be paid and then it is forwarded to the Custodial parent.  I am not talking about these men.  They are just unorganized and do not pay attention to some details as much as they should, but they are not deadbeats and if the article above only addressed these types of individuals, I would be in full agreement, but these individuals received very little attention.

Lastly, this article tried to give credit to those men that didn’t want to give money or things directly to the mother but instead to the child.  The reason was rationalized as being done as part of a bonding experience.  I’m calling bullshit on that.  After nearly 10 years in the family law field, I will tell you what’s really going, its about control.  These deadbeat dads that take this approach have the petty view that “I don’t want to give her money to spend on someone else or blow it.”  Again, its control.  They want control over how the money is spent, and they want to keep the mother dependent on them.  They shouldn’t be applauded for trying to go around the mother to give things to the kids that is supposed to be the equivalent of child support.  No, if they want to give something to the children to help bond, that’s great, give them a damn gift without expecting the cost of this “gift” to be credited toward their child support obligation.  I think the phrase deadbeat dad is quite appropriate as it carries a stigma to deter those from shunning their financial obligations.  Grow up, pay your support, and do whatever it takes to help your children grow into competent well rounded adults.

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