In an extraordinary article last year in The Australian, still illustrative of attitudes commonly found in national and international groups, two major lobbying groups have openly linked parental access with child support payments:
Warring parents are seeking custody of children to avoid paying maintenance, the nation’s largest counselling group has warned the federal government.
Of course, we know that the gender neutral “parents” are fathers.
Relationships Australia has told the government’s child support inquiry that some parents are insisting on shared custody just so they can pay less — or claim more — maintenance through the Child Support Agency.
The accusation is a stinging one. Fathers are not actually interested in their own children, but will put up with them if it keeps their payments down.
The National Council of Single Mothers and their Children have gone one step further:
The National Council of Single Mothers and their Children has told the inquiry some fathers seek custody of children one day a week, or every second weekend, just to get a 24 per cent “discount’’ on maintenance payments.
If there was ever a requirement for proof that Child Support is just a different spelling of alimony, here it is. A “discount” on maintenance payments indeed. Never mind that they need to rent or buy a bigger place if the kids are to stay over. Never mind they have to feed the children, clothe them, entertain them, etc, etc, etc.
“We remain completely unconvinced that 24 per cent discount in child-support payments in exchange for as little as 13 per cent care is fair or equitable,’’ the council’s submission says. “We are concerned that the significant and disproportional outcome is an economic driver, which is contradictory to the ‘best interest of the child’.’’
Apparently, it is in the ‘best interest of the child’ that they don’t see their father whilst the mother maximises her income.
For most fathers, these statements would be seen as the utmost hypocrisy. The fact is that the Family Law Courts have long history of keeping the two issues as separate. The Family Court website, in answer to the question “If child support payments are not made, can your former partner see the children?” says:
A court considers child support and parenting issues separately.
Of course, unless the father is earning money on a “cash in hand” basis, the Child Support Agency can take the money from his employer. In practical terms, this scenario of access without payment is very much the exception rather than the rule. However, the opposite question of “If your former partner won’t let you see the children, do you still have to pay child support” is far more frequently asked, and gets the same answer from the Family Court. Keep paying, schmuck, because the two issues cannot be related.
And, of course, there is no government funded National Council of Single Fathers and the Children They Don’t See.
Relationships Australia does make one comment with which most non-custodial fathers would agree with, although not in the context that Relationships Australia puts it.
“The negotiation of three nights of care per week is a clear consideration for many of our clients as this is seen as the threshold used by Child Support,’’ [Relationships Australia] says in its submission to the parliamentary inquiry, which begins public hearings in Canberra today. “This means that the child support formula, rather than best interests of children, may drive the negotiation.”
The child support formula does add to the “negotiation.” Not only are fathers punished by their ex-wives by being refused access to their children, but every day that the father doesn’t get to see his children, he gets a double punishment in raised child support costs.
Revenge is not only sweet, but financially rewarding.
Relationships Australia also push another barrow which can only add to the problems of separated parents and the raising of their children.
Relationships Australia warns that children who prefer to live with one parent are being ignored because of the financial effect on the other parent.
This too tends to be a one-way street. If the child wants to see the father less, then the child’s wishes and their “best interests” are one and the same. If the child wants to see more of the father, and therefore less of the mother, then clearly the child’s best interests must override childish preferences.
Confusing “the best interest of the child” with the wishes of the child can cause parents no end of headaches. All too often, the result, of course, is that the parent who is willing to provide the more lax and “fun” home will not only win over the children, but benefit financially from the ploy.
The children will be well into their thirties before they realise just how they have been cheated.
Once again, we see Feminist ideology being used to punish fathers whilst hiding behind the “best interest of the children”. The punishment, of course, is simply because they are men. The underlying premise, as always, is that if he had been a better husband / father / man, this would never have happened. The facts are more that the mother is being bribed to get her ideology right.
The inquiry has received 10,000 responses to its survey about the scheme, which last financial year oversaw the transfer of $3.4 billion in maintenance payments for 1.2 million children.
If the government keeps each dollar it receives in child support for one week, on average, before passing it on to the other parent, they can easily make something like $4 million a year just in interest.
And you thought they were doing it in “the best interests of the children,” did you?