Essay on Child Support. Should It Be Made Mandatory?
Should one believe that a parent should be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his or her child can live the best life they possibly can? There are many ways that parents ensure quality of living for their child such as providing a stable home for the child to grown up in, manageable income, and even simple instances like reading their child a story before bedtime. Any adult who truly has a sense of responsibility would want this for his or her child. In many cases, there are situations where children are in the custody of one parent due to normal social ills in life such as marital issues, lack of responsibility, career problems, and the list goes on. Child support is a government program designed to help these children and parents who live through the struggles of this lifestyle everyday. Raising a child is extremely costly, and it enhances the amount of stress projected onto one parent. With that being said, it is the natural duty of parents to care for their child. Child support should not only be an option between split parents, but it should also be mandatory for the non-custodial parent to be required to provide for his or her child.
On average, it costs about two-hundred thirty-three thousand, six-hundred ten dollars to raise a child not to mention the extra necessities of a child. Many low-income families find it challenging to acquire this money, so in response, they seek government programs for help, one of them being child support. In the article “Pros and Cons of Child Support Enforcement”, it is stated, “Financial stability for you and your child- Raising kids can be expensive. From educational expenses to medical bills, it is important that they be provided for” (The Harris Law Firm par. 6). It is an obligation that parents provide financial advances for children in order to cover these extra costs instead of choosing to elude their responsibility.
Anna Martin, writer of “The Pros and Cons of Child Support Laws”, also clarifies, “Raising a child, or several children, is a costly experience and having to account for every penny is an everyday occurance for a lot of people” (Martin par. 1). Making sure one has the anticipated amount of money to provide for a child without having another person to help them is extremely stressful and a difficult process that many people face. In “The Pros and Cons of Child Support Laws”, Martin adds, “Being able to claim child support is an entitlement that not only eases the financial pressure in the home environment but also reduces child poverty” (Martin par. 1). One of the main objectives of child support is to help a parent maintain stable finances to take care of his of her child.
In situations where the absent parent is subjected to paying child support, studies show that it indeed strengthens the finances of the household but also builds up a stronger bond between the non-custodial parent and the child. Angela Rachidi, author of the article “Don’t Let Absent Parents off the Hook”, writes, “Research shows that child support payments are associated with more contact between fathers and their children, suggesting that getting more families into the child support program may lead to better relationships” (Rachidi par. 9). Child support helps families improve relationships between split parents and the children. Anna Martin further explains this statement by saying that a non-residential parent who participates in making regular payments for a child is making an influence in that child’s life because they are still maintaining some form of contact with the child.
The separation of parents is a difficult part of life that children have to endure, so the least the non-custodial parent can do is show one’s empathy for a child by giving back. When a child knows that they are being cared for and recognized by both parents, the risks of a child being unstable goes down. Angela Rachidi proclaims, “Research shows that children do better when they have access to more resources, and income increases when both parents contribute...For this reason, child support has been linked to improved child cognitive development and fewer behavior problems” (Rachidi par. 6). Child support ensures that a child can live an adequate lifestyle without the strain of a struggling parent or a “dead-beat”, irresponsible parent.
Lastly, one statement that any responsible person can argue is that once a child is brought into this world, it is the absolute commitment of the parents to do everything they possibly can to fulfill their role of caring for that child, and those who refuse to pay child support are abandoning their role as a parent and put themselves at risk of being in conflict with the law. According to Angela Rachidi, “When the program was strengthened as a part of the 1996 welfare reform law, the message was clear- if you bring a child into the world, you must support them” (Rachidi par. 4). Anyone can recognize that with conceiving a child a person must have the ability to properly raise that child emotionally and financially. In “The Pros and Cons of Child Support Law”, Anna Martin confirms, “For many non-resident parents understanding the responsibility they have as a parent enables them to view the financial commitment in a more acceptable way” (Martin par. 7).
Understanding the dedication it takes to be a parent encourages one to agree on the terms of making monthly payments in order to insure the quality of life of their child. The author of “The Pros and Cons of Child Support Enforcement” acknowledges that parents have an obligation to support their child- it is an inherent duty that a parent provide for his or her offspring, and one parent should not be allowed to deny their obligations to their child (The Harris Law Firm par. 6). Either parent, whether it be the mother or the father, should not have to be forced to provide for their child because their actions contributed to the birth of a child, and one should embrace that responsibility so that they can successfully raise their child without adding corruption and tarnage to the family that the child is born into.
One might argue that child support may lead to worsened relationships between separated parents, and one who is compelled to make such excessive payments may find it difficult to consistently provide these funds monthly. A person may want to be able to support their child, but if maintaining a stable job is something that a parent struggles with, it makes it almost impossible for the parent to provide child support. The process of obtaining child support does not always run smoothly which has a negative effect on both the parents and the child. Whether there are instances where it is hard to meet the payments or not, a true parent should not have to be forced by the government to provide for their child. A simple minimum wage job is a start in the right direction to gain a small amount of income to help finance the life of a child.
Child support is a financial aid program that many single parents depend on in order to raise and provide for their child. It is stressful enough trying to keep a stable household with a steady income along with raising a child alone. One must have money in order to take care of a child, and the expenses that come with a child are endless from medical bills to education. Many children only live with one of their parents and rarely or never have contact with the other, so mandating that the absent parent pay child support will allow the child to have some form of interaction with the other parent. The phrase “It takes two make a child” is very true and supports the fact that two people should be willing to take the responsibilities of being a parent and fulfilling them to their best ability. It is the natural commitment of a parent to care for and support the child that they bring into this world.