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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Man solicited for child support...

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Author Topic: Man solicited for child support...
Dzuunmod
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...years and years after the fact. But that's not even the main story.

John Walker is a 25-year old London (England) man who received a letter from Britain's Child Support Agency saying that he had to find 55,000 pounds (I don't have the keyboard symbol for that...) with which to support the child he apparently fathered when he was 15. Not only that, but the woman who had the child was twice his age when it was conceived.

This brings up an interesting debate: when men are left out of the discussion on a child's future and upbringing, should they be forced to pay child support? Take this case, but ignore the 'twice his age' bit for the moment. Should he be forced to pay child support when this woman has not, it seems, made any attempts until now to contact him, thereby leaving him out of the kid's upbringing entirely?

To those who'd answer yes, I'd say that in that response, the message is: men aren't good for raising children, just supporting them.

As a man, this case makes me hopping mad!


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Bobolink
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Welcome to reality, Dzuunmod. In Anglo-American society, men have no rights regarding a mother's decision to carry a child to term. There is a similar thread about this elsewhere on the boards. Biological fathers are also responsible for child support. Courts have overridden previous contractual relations between a father and mother absolving the father of child-support obligations. The reason? Child support is a legal obligation from father to child, not father to mother. A child is legally incapable of renouncing such support. Yet another reason to practice safe sex.

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[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 11-09-2001).]


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Bobolink:
Child support is a legal obligation from father to child, not father to mother. A child is legally incapable of renouncing such support.

What a quandary. The central problem that I see here is that men are essentially left out of the equation entirely. We are capable of being sperm donors, but incapable of having a say in what becomes of the child that we have helped to create. I certainly wouldn't want to take away a woman's right to do whatever she wants with her body, but it doesn't seem right that abortion is a decision that is fairly well left solely to the woman with no requisite consultation by the man involved.

Somehow I keep thinking of the American Revolution here, with the battle cry of "no taxation without representation." It seems that in a sick way, this scenario is related in that men have very little say in whether a fetus is brought to term or not, yet they are compelled to support that child financially based upon the ultimate decision by the mother.

I suppose this is why the Almighty Sex Readiness Checklist is so vital. Since accidents do happen and a couple needs to ensure they are financially prepared for any outcome.

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John Doe
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It is totally unfair. As for the argument about the sexual rediness check list etc. Its all true, but it does not make it any less fair. You often hear the argument that a man gets his choice when he decides to have unprotected sex. But couldn't the same argument be made against a womans right to an abortion. After all she also made the decision to have unprotected sex.
I suppose if 15 was under the age of consent at the time, the best thing for this guy to do would be to have the woman arrested for statutory rape. Now i'm not a big fan of statutory rape laws and ages of consent, but with a woman who tries this ten years after BS it would serve her right.
And people gave me grief in the "are we equal thread" when I suggested that men were on the short end of the stick. How much shorter do you want than cases like this.

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Beppie
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Let us remember though, when talking about abortion consultation, it is the woman who is taking risks with her body. I know that this case is the opposite scenario, when the man may have preferred for the woman to have an abortion, but when you're talking about consultation it goes both ways. I do think that when the decision is the decision to abort that it is ultimately the woman's choice, because it is the woman who is risking her health with a pregnancy- even these days, women still die in childbirth. In fact it almost happened to my mother when giving birth to me. Given the risk, I think it's the woman's choice, although I do think that the father should at least be consulted in the decision.

However, this is a different case, and I would say that given that the man in question was not consulted at all about the child, it is hideously unfair to require him to pay child support. Nonetheless, if he had been an adult at the time of conception and if he had been consulted, I think he should have been required to pay child support unless he had actually renounced any legal claims he has upon the child (I believe this should be a right for either parent).

On the sperm donor issue, I do see that as renouncing the legal claim over any possible child that could be conceived as a result, and I believe the same of egg donors. Must as I hate to quote a teenybopper movie like Legally Blonde, it does make a good point about such situations- if giving a sperm equates to having a child, then any masturbatory activities involving ejaculation could be classed as reckless abandonment. And the same could be said of a woman with regard to eggs every time she menstruates. Naturally, I do not believe that the biological parent in the case of sperm and egg donors have any responsibility to support any children that result from their donation.


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BJadeT
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You say that the man is on the short end of the stick when it comes to this, but isn't it the woman who has had to actually raise the child over the last 10 years, a far more difficult task than paying £55,000, unreasonable as that may seem?
Maybe she couldn't have an abortion, maybe she had strong religious reasons not for having one-either way she has taken responsibility for bringing up the child, and the father is not. He should have some obligation to contribute towards its welfare.
I really don't think the woman is getting away lightly here. She has allowed him to finish his childhood, mature and get an education without any responsibility from that child. Personally, I wouldn't do that to anyone who fathered my child, but it seems that she actually cared enough about his welfare to allow him to develop.The least he could do is pay something towards the child's welfare when he is old enough to be earning money.
That's just my thoughts on it. I'm always wrong anyway

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John Doe
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I think that Beppie has hit it just right on this one. BJadeT, you make this money grubbing woman sound aultruistic, come on! Is having a child all pain, with no rewards. the man in this case got nothing of the joy of watching his child grow up. No say in how the chiild was raised. No hugs and kisses from the child. A father is more than a Wallet. I suppose that next you will say that a set of adoptive parents can come back a decade later and hit up the birth mother for close to a hundred grand.
Not that it would be fair to the child, since he or she does not know the guy, but from the parents perspective wouldn't requiring this woman to give up custody of her child to the man be fairer.

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BJadeT
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I said I was always wrong
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Confused boy
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You should be a little more defending of your arguments BJadeT. Make tactical retreats rather than complete capitulations since you do bring up a reasonable point. 55,000 pounds is a stupid amount. Since the woman is demanding child support now, he should have to pay child support FROM now. That is for the remaining 6 years that his child is legally one. Standard visitation rights should apply since he is not an especially violent or dangerous person.

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alaska
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BJade, honey, just because someone disagrees with your point of view doesn't mean that you are always wrong. Stand up for your opinion, gal!
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BJadeT
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I'm sorry, I'm just feeling pretty awful today.
What I was trying to say is that raising a child is a pretty damn hard responsibility, and women should have the right to claim financial support whatever the situation. Even if she gets £55,000, I don't think you could say she's just coasted by for the last ten years, and now wants cash for it. Yes, it is a very large amount, probably too large, but it is a very large responsibility that she's taken on, and it shouldn't just be looked at as a financial transaction.
Did that make any sense? Probably not.
Ukkkk. And I'm trying to do an analytic history essay whilst feeling like this. Not a good day.

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Confused boy
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It is a point, if you count it up financially I am sure that man owes her all that much in lost payments. However, that kind of logic indirectly caused the Second World War when Germany was told to pay for all the allies expenses from WW1!

This woman has already coped with having a child. Its not that this money will go back in time and help her in the past when she was struggling (or not as the case may be). This is more like paying her for a job rather than supporting the child! So it is clear this man should support her now but not for past deeds. An average 25 year old will be forced into massive debt by this £55,000 demand. Its like half a mortgage or something.

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Aria51
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I agree with you completely, BJadeT.

Raising a child alone is an extremely difficult and thankless job, and this woman is indeed entitled to monitary support. Maybe not the back-support, since it would probably be a little too much of a strain on the guy, but I think he has the obligation to begin paying support from this point on, or legally give up his parental rights so someone else can adopt the child and be responsible for part of its care. This other person could be the woman's husband or partner or whatever -- this is what we did with my child. His biological "father" didn't want to pay support, didn't want to have anything to do with the baby, didn't even care whether or not he survived being *born*, so he no longer has legal rights to the child. Soon, my fiance will "adopt" my child and have the legal rights the child's biological "father" would have had.

I have to wonder how this man didn't *know* about the child. I really don't think we're getting the entire story here.


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Dzuunmod
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I still don't think it's clear that this man should be forced to support the mother from now on. I think there ought to be a statute of limitations on things like this. It isn't like he's been planning for this, or anything.

Normally, when someone has to start paying child support, they've been given a fair bit of advance warning into the whole matter. She was irresponsible here, first by having sex with someone so young and second, by not consulting with him on any matter.

He's not at fault. If children are used as pawns in crimes, do you wait ten years and lock them up when they are adults? Of course not, they aren't at fault, and they shouldn't have to pay for someone else's manipulation of them.

And also, John, you can't take one case like this one, and apply it to all of society, saying men are so hard done by. I'm sure somewhere tonight, a woman will be raped. Does that mean then, that all women are so hard done by?


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Aria51
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He wouldn't be forced to support the mother. Child support is for the child. It is very, very rarely enough money for the mother to live on alone. Maybe when the father is Bill Gates, but a 25-year-old plumber? Let's be reasonable here.
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sapphirecat
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Given that the guy was a minor in the first place, and that he didn't even know he had a child, I'm going to agree with Confused Boy in that he should pay child support from now (as a worst case.) I can't see where one can logically be liable for something one does not know about, regardless of law.

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John Doe
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Aria, your first point about how he could not have known about it is rediculous. a guy has a one night stand, and never sees the girl again. How the heck is he supposed to know she got knocked up. it looks like this guy would be more than happy to sign away his parental rights, seeing that up until this point he never knew he had a kid to have any parental rights over.

BJadeT, yes it is a big responsibility she has taken on, BUT it is one she chose to take on. it is one with huge rewards as well as having times when its tough. if you really feel this way about raising kids, you should go get a hysterectomy.

CB, possibly the idea of paying future child support might hold water, along with standard visitation. However it still isn't fair. This is a 10 yo kid we are talking about now. S/he has no knowledge of this guy. what kind of bond it likely to take place durring that visitation.

Duz, I will grant you that this is an extreme case. Still it strikes me that most of the "pro choice" people around here really only mean choice for 50% of the population. if a guy wants to sign away his parental rights, then he should be let out of paying child support. it is exactly the same thing as putting the kid up for adoption. Again should adoptive parents be able to go after a birth mother ten years later for back child support?

Personally i would never do that. But then again I'm pretty sure that if I were a woman that I would never put my kid up for adoption or have an abortion.

Children are the ultimate blessing in life. However, all people should have a choice about their right to reproduce, not just those with two x chromosones.


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Bobolink
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John, your comment to BJadeT was totally uncalled for, An appology is in order.

I have discussded this with MizS. Please consider this your final warning. Further comments in this or similar vein will result in your permanent suspension from Scarleteen Boards. Complaints about the moderation policy should be taken to boards@scarleteen.com

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 11-09-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 11-09-2001).]


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DarlingBri
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It is a fact of life that medical complications aside, when a man and a woman have sex, there is ALWAYS the chance of conception.

It is a fact of life that when a woman gets pregnant, it is HER choice to terminate the pregnancy or have a baby.

It is a fact of life that if two people concieve a child who is later born, they are equally responsible for the existence of that child.

It is a fact of life that each individual human being is directly responsible for the consequence of their actions.

If you are totally unwilling to bear the consequences of intercourse, then don't have sex with women you are not even remotely willing to father a child with.

Abortion is not a form of child support payment control any more than it is a form of birth control.

[This message has been edited by DarlingBri (edited 11-09-2001).]


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John Doe
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Yeah perhaps that was a bit overboard, but I just don't buy into this attitude that having a kid is all pain and suffering. If someone has that attitude they should not become a parent. More than once I have seen it argued that if a man does not want to become a dad, but still wants to be able to have sex, that he should go out and have a vasectomy. What is the difference?
As for it being a fact of life that it is the womans choice, and only her choice, that has only been the case for the last 1/4 century. it is a legal fact, not nessicarilly a moral fact of life. In some cases abortion is used as a form of birth control. It is usually done when the woman decides that she does not want to be tied down to raising a kid for the next 18 years. The exact same argument you make could be used against a womans right to have an abortion. After all she knew that there was a chance of conception before she had sex, so why should she be allowed to change her mind afterwards. I would also point out that ALL forms of contriception with the exception of the condom are controled by the woman. The condom is jointly controled by the man and the woman. I would therefore argue that it is not a fact of life that if two people CONCIEVE a child that is later born, that they are EQUALLY responsible for the BIRTH of that child. The woman can make a choice after conception as to if the child will be born or not, the man does not have that choice. i'm not saying that a man should be able to force a woman to have an abortion, or that he should be able to force a woman to carry the child to term. i am saying that if a woman decides to carry that child to term, against the wishes of, or without the knowledge of the man, that she should be responsible for the consequenses of her decision.
Again nobody has answered my question. how is a guy deciding to sign away all rights to a child, and not be responsible for child support, any different from putting the child up for adoption.

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DarlingBri
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Because he's foisting the full financial responsibility for half his child onto the mother.

DUH.


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Lynne
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I don't think he should have to pay. The fact that a man helps conceive a child does not automatically make him responsible for it when it's born. Why? Because it's not his fault if it's born. Children might get conceived by accident, but in countries where abortion is legal, they're not born by accident -- children are born because the mother made a deliberate decision not to abort. The choice of whether or not to bring a child into this world lies solely in the hands of the woman. The man has no say in this. Forcing him to cough up money is not forcing him to be responsible for his actions. It's forcing him to be responsible for the woman's actions.

(If a man is actually able to act as a father to the kid -- with visitation and so forth -- then of course he should have to pay, since at that point he's choosing to become involved.)

[This message has been edited by Lynne (edited 11-09-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Lynne (edited 11-09-2001).]


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Dzuunmod
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Foremost in this case, I don't understand how you can all say that he should be responsible for the consequences of someone else's crime! I shudder to think at what sort of precedent this could set: maybe a burglar could sue me if s/he slips on the floor of my apartment after s/he's broken in; maybe someone who would punch me in the face could send his/her dry cleaning bill along to me because I bled on their shirt!

In principle, this isn't unlike what happens in China, where the families of capital punishment victims are billed for the cost of the bullet that the government's firing squad used!

And one other general thing: if this is allowed to happen once, don't think that it won't happen again. This could allow wanna-be moms who are unable to find wanna-be dads to seduce kids (it's what he was, after all), get their baby, and then have the then-grown man supporting the child.

If this is okay, the legal age for everything in jurisdictions which support it really ought to be lowered to 15, 14, 12 or what-have-you.

Aria, in this case, the man would be supporting the mother's irresponsibility, the mother's crime. I stand by what I said about him supporting her, and not the child.

Bri, I don't doubt that you and many others believe that the things on your list are true and obvious, but they aren't all actually facts.

And, using your logic, the woman should be totally responsible for the child's welfare in this case, because she committed a crime, and she ought to be responsible for her manipulation of someone who wasn't old enough to deal with it properly. But, also, they both ought to be responsible, because they both created the thing (though one of them, probably unknowingly). I would alter your next-to-last statement to read: If you are totally unwilling to deal with the fact that a fifteen year-old often can't grasp the concept of parenthood, and a fifteen year-old is still a child, don't have sex with one.


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Confused boy
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"I shudder to think at what sort of precedent this could set: maybe a burglar could sue me if s/he slips on the floor of my apartment after s/he's broken in."

Funny you should mention that Dzun as I heard an interesting discussion related to that Mr Martin (the farmer who went to jail for killing a burgular) about someone who wanted to take house protection to another level and asked the police whether it would be ok to install barbed wire over his fence. The police said that anyone who got hurt climbing over that fence onto his propery could charge him with assault, whatever their intentions in climbing over the fence were.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Bobolink
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I think we are getting away from the thread here. As BruinDan has pointed out, our Sexual Readiness Checklist deals with the consequences of sexual behavior. One of these is a possible child. While we can discuss the possible motivations of the mother and father, we can say for certain that the child had no call on whether or not s/he would be born. Both parents, regardless of circumstance, have obligations towards that child.

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 11-10-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 11-10-2001).]


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'rin
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i can agree, somewhat, with the idea that he should help support the child from this moment on. but back support, c'mon. the mother CHOOSE not to tell him about the existance of this child. she made the choise to exclude him from the childs formative years. she cannot then go back and ask for back support for a child he never knew he had. it's asking to have her cake and eat it too - she had no interference in raising the child, no fights over bed times, allowance, bad grades and the like, no arguments over how to discipline the child...none of the bad stuff that comes with having two parents supporting a child. it's selfish of her to ask for the good half of having two parents supporting a child after she skipped out on the annoying part.
but, having said that, now that he knows aobu the child he should have some responsiblity and should have visitation rights as well.
'rin

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