A woman waited years for her ex-husband -- the one who left her with two daughters and one on the way in 1976 -- to pay all of the child support he owed her over the years. Last week, with all three of her daughters grown, she finally got the $93,000 her ex was hiding in an account, $60,000 of which was interest he accrued after taking so long to pay.
When asked what she planned to do with the money, Kathi Smith-Petersen said she is going to share it with her daughters. Share it? Isn't the whole point of child support is that it's for the children?
The reporters asking the questions seemed to think that was terribly magnanimous and loving of her, which is true. But it's also just the right thing to do. The fact is, child support is for the kids, not for the mom. And whether it's collected at the time the kids are little or when they're 80, that money isn't hers. It belongs to the kids, period.
And maybe it should have been given to them instead.
There really does seem to be this notion out there that child support is somehow for the parent. This is why some orders, especially for celebrities, are so obscenely high.
It makes no sense for a child support order to exceed the cost of raising any child. This whole notion of the child living to the standard of both parents is slightly absurd and only encourages women to try to get pregnant by rich men. Why not? It would pay for their entire life!
Smith-Peterson obviously deserved the money she got and she is doing the right thing with it by sharing it with her daughters who are the ones left behind. Leaving a wife is one thing, but leaving your children is another.
Sometimes it seems like the two are too closely intertwined in our culture. There is nothing wrong with a man leaving the mother of his children if he doesn't love her, but financially abandoning his children and hiding accounts is pretty low. Those kids deserve every penny of that money for being dealt a terrible hand in terms of their father. But the money is theirs, not their mother's.
Do you think it's weird that she is being applauded for sharing money that wasn't hers to begin with?
Image via AMagill/Flickr