Children are our future and they deserve a fair shake. Life is tough enough without having to worry about health care and education and living in a safe and nurturing home. Child support is about supporting our children. It seems absurd to think that any parent would not support their own children. Every man and woman wants their children to do well. So, what is Child Support? Why do we have child support laws in the first place?

Lets take a look back in time. Throughout history, women have been abused and exploited. One time, women were murdered simply because they were accused of something as silly as witch craft. Women in the US were never considered equal citizens. It took a national movement that started in 1920 for women to be recognized as equals. Even after women bailed us out in the 1940's, they were taken for granted and pushed aside. In the work place, women were given menial jobs and were always paid less than men. This disrespect for women was, and still is, prevalent in our society. Some men think they can do whatever they want to women. Men beat their wives and probably their children, too. And when that doesn't amuse them any more they leave. This kind of treatment was happening on such a massive scale that governments had to step up and force change.

That change came in the form of Child Support laws. Child Support laws provide the government with a way to help protect women and to provide women with a means to provide for their children. The court takes a look at the father's income and determines a “reasonable” amount to be given to the mother to provide for her children. And while we all agree that the child support laws are necessary and urgent, there is more. Child support laws go beyond merely providing for children. They also punish dead beat dads. In Massachusetts, failure to pay child support results in Child Support Enforcement (CSE) suspending your drivers license. Then, CSE suspends your business, professional, or trade licenses. Next, CSE revokes your motor vehicle registration. Then, CSE publicly releases your name along with all the licenses that were suspended and the amount of child support you owe. When we think about all the dead beat dads getting this kind of punishment, it makes the rest of us feel good. We feel justified because they get what they deserve.

But there is a catch. The laws do not differentiate between the dead beat dads and the good, honest men who want to provide for their children. If a man is separated from his family and the mother of his children sues for child support, she will get it. And she should! But what if this good, honest man gets laid off? What if he applies for unemployment and seeks employment every day? What if the economy is so bad that there simply aren't any jobs available? That good, honest, unemployed man gets the same treatment as all the jerks and low-lifes out there. In other words, he is a dead beat dad. He gets his license suspended. He is barred from doing business. He gets his car taken away. He is publicly humiliated. In other words the state takes away not only his means of survival, but also his ability to pay his child support in the first place. But there is another casualty of this perversion of the child support laws: Freedom. Child support laws are a loop hole that allows the government to restrict the movement and livelihood of men. Without any recourse, men can be stripped of everything. What once was justice has become a gateway towards a police state. Nothing short of a national movement can stop it.

Child support should be about supporting our children, but somehow it has become something else. CSE has lost focus of providing for the children and has become a tool to suppress and punish men. Child support should be a process to help parents support their children. CSE has an opportunity to help guide parents to become better parents. CSE has the means to help unemployed parents find work. CSE could provide a program that hires unemployed parents. CSE could have a program that provides health care for children and parents. Child support shouldn't be about courts and punishment, it should be about family.

It is true, there are bad men in the world, and bad men should be punished. But blindly punishing all men is not justice. CSE should be able to tell the difference. A man who has held the same job for 20 years and always paid his child support should not be treated like a dead beat dad. If we can all just remember that we are all human beings and we are all in this together, maybe change can happen. Maybe the future won't be about punishment, but rather it could be about preserving family and helping one another through difficult times. Let us support our children so they can make a better future.


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