There are some places you just don’t anticipate a personal attack. I’m thinking funerals, baby showers, and court. Catie Scott-Gonzalez walked into a judge’s chambers expecting to come out as a new divorcee. Instead, the 23-year-old mom of two was hauled out unconscious on a gurney with a broken nose and jaw, riddled with injuries inflicted by her ex.
Although Paul Gonzalez — a former Marine who assaulted his soon-to-be ex-wife by choking her with one hand and punching her in the face with the other — gets a well-deserved promotion on everyone’s Most Hated Sludgebag list, it’s the reason behind his violent outburst that makes this story so senseless.
He doesn’t believe in paying child support, claiming it’s unconstitutional. Well la ti da ti. You’re right, bud. There ought to be a law against it. That and beating the living daylights out of the mother of your kids.
Now, this issue seems to be a real thorn in the sides of a pretty good sized proportion of men who find themselves on the paying end of the support order. And every time I hear some wayward dude complain about it (because I haven’t come across a woman who pays it, or if I have she isn’t making a public outcry about it), it just frays the ends of my nerves. From what I can gather from their ramblings, they’re typically upset about one of three things, or a combination thereof:
1) They think they’re shelling out way too much money
2) They don’t believe that their ex-wives/ex-girlfriends/ex-“we should’ve used a condom” jumpoffs will use the funds as intended
3) They think they should be allowed to determine how much to give instead of having The Man a la the court system do it for them
Contrary to what these disgruntled fellas make it out to be, child support is rarely a huge financial windfall, unless a woman has the good fortune of being a basketball wife or some high-powered executive’s dirty little secret. In real life, moms still got to get up and go to work everyday so although it may seem like a hefty amount to the man who’s doling it out on the monthly, the woman and her kids are more than likely not living any more high on the hog than they were before the order. I know ladies who get roundabouts $50 a week. Please. That’ll barely cover a night out at the Sizzler.
If a grown-up with experience paying household bills sat down and actually crunched some numbers instead of running off at the mouth, they’d realize that that very child support payment should be able to cover a slice of: rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, tuition if the kids attend a private school, clothing, shoes, healthcare, extras like dental and vision if that isn’t already included, and entertainment for the children, who need to get out and see a movie or play a round of putt putt from time to time.
If you have any experience in childrearing at all, you know that cute and cuddly and adorable as they are, kids are freakin’ expensive. And there’s always something new that has to be paid for like athletic equipment or school fundraisers or field trips or class pictures or driving lessons. And God forbid they need braces, too. Ouch.
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t cases where support has been exorbitant. It happens everyday. Shoot, it even happens to celebrities. I would tell anybody who would listen how greedy I thought obscure R&B songstress Kelis was being when she slapped her ex-husband and my favorite rapper Nas with demand for over $40,000 a month in child support for their son.
Forty-thousand dollars a month? Seriously? How in the name of all that’s holy do you spend that kind of money on a newborn? He can’t fly in his own private jet, he’s not in some high-priced boarding school, he doesn’t make boo-boos in gold-plated Pampers, so what in the world would call for that kind of cash shell out? That right there was woman-scorned vengeance with a twist of golddigging in its purest form. But for most women just trying to pick up the pieces and move on, child support can be a help, not an end-all, be-all.
Is there ever such a thing as paying too much in child support? How do you gauge the amount of money that goes into raising a happy, healthy kid?
Image via steakpinball/Flickr