Originally posted by Amorph
This last sentence is unfortunately the crux of the issue: They should assume abandonment, because that's what tends to happen.
The "sentencing" to 18 years of child support is nominal at best in practice. The majority of deadbeat dads don't pay, and get away with it. So, basically, men already can opt out, and they do in droves no matter what the woman wants, or what her circumstance is.
Well of course the majority of "deadbeat" dad's don't pay support. That is why we call them deadbeats. However of all father with support orders an overwhelming majority pay. Likewise of those who are deadbeats, most have paid to the best of their ability, but if you get behind even part of your support for even one month, they you are a "deadbeat."
Let me slap you upside the head with a few statistics, including that a much higher percentage of mothers with support orders against them are deadbeats than fathers.Information from multiple sources show that only 10% of all noncustodial father fit the "deadbeat dad" category: 90% of the fathers with joint custody paid the support due. Fathers with visitation rights pay 79.1%; and 44.5% of those with NO visitation rights still financially support their children. (Source: Census Bureau report. Series P-23, No. 173). Additionally, of those NOT paying support, 66% are not doing so because they LACK THE FINANCILA RESOURCES to pay (Source: GAO report: GAO/HRD-92-39 FS).
66% of single mothers work less than full time while only 10% of fathers fall into this category. In addition, almost 47% of non-custodial MOTHER DEFAULT on support compared with the 27% of fathers who default. (Source: Garansky and Meyer, DHHS Technical Analysis Paper No. 42, 1991).
Total Custodial Mothers: 11,268,000. Total Custodial Fathers 2,907,000 (Source: Current Population Reports, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Series P-20, No. 458, 1991).
Total amount of child support owed - $14,800,000,000. Total amount of child support received - $11,100,000,000. (Source: Current Population Reports, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Series P-23, No 173, 1998).
66% of all support not paid by non-custodial fathers is due to inability to pay. (Source: U.S. General Accounting Office Report, GAO/HRD-92-39FS January 1992).
The following is sourced from: Technical Analysis Paper No. 42, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Income Security Policy, Oct. 1991, Authors: Meyer and Garansky -
* Custodial mothers who receive a support award: 79.6%
Custodial fathers who receive a support award: 29.9%
* Non-custodial mothers who totally default on support: 46.9%
Non-custodial fathers who totally default on support: 26.9%
(Data obtained by asking custodial parents)
* All the following are for custodial parents-
Single mothers who work less than full time: 66.2%
Single fathers who work less than full time: 10.2%
* Single mothers who work more than 44 hours per week: 7.0%
Single fathers who work more than 44 hours per week: 24.5%
* Single mothers who receive public assistance: 46.2%
Single fathers who receive public assistance: 20.8%
If you will read and see the most overwhelming factor affecting support is whether the father gets to see the children. It's not hard to understand why a father might not want to send support of the mother is using it to move his children several hundred miles away from him where he cannot see his children for example. So I would call your "opting out in droves" to be no better than character assasination.
The argument in favor of the right to "opt out" of parenthood post hoc assumes good faith on the part of the absconding parent; requiring it as a right that can be asserted over and against the will of the other parent assumes bad faith on the part of the other parent. Given that an alarming number of men opt out despite the laws against such and get away with it, it's not hard to imagine a situation in which men do what they do now, only leaving the woman with a child, full responsibility for it, and no recourse whatsoever. With freedom comes responsibility. As for the supposed impact on democracy, Jefferson famously observed that a democracy couldn't function without a sufficiently educated and participatory citizenry. Right now, education of men as equal participants in a family is coming along, but it's not there yet. When deadbeat dads are rare and exceptional creatures, we can revisit this (and in that case, I would say that the legal ability of a father to opt out would end with the mother's practical ability to opt out).
If the woman wants the child, it's her body and her choice. Same is true if she doesn't want it. By notifying him early in her pregnancy, she can get to the truth of the matter regarding the man and his desire to parent instead of possibly deluding herself and carrying the child to term. Claiming that a man shouldn't get the right because a few men don't pay support is the most superficial argument I've read. If anything it supports giving men equal rights because it shows how women can force a man into parenting when he cares not to do so. You then say we can revisit this when deadbeat dad's are rare. I've already shown you they are so I suggest you get busy visiting it instead of dismissing it with false claims. Likewise if men shouldn't get rights because of deadbeat dad's then women deserve fewer rights as well because they default on support at an even HIGHER RATE.
The premise that fatherhood dooms a man to 18 years of hard labor is dubious, even leaving aside the statistical toothlessness of the current laws: Whether or not a man is ever a father (or for that matter, whether a woman is ever a mother) the odds are that they will be working. Right now, the odds that they'll be working two or more jobs, or for a total of significantly more than 40 hours a week, are very good. Whether he becomes a "mere paycheck" is up to him (unless he's such a freak that the mother doesn't want him anywhere near her, although, in that case the laws aren't much help either in practice). There is certainly no shortage of men who are not sole or principle supporters of children who work strenuous and hazardous jobs for whatever reason. Currently, motherhood "dooms" a woman to 18 years of labor in addition to 9 months of pregnancy if she wants the child; if she has no father, it becomes extremely hard labor with an unsatisfactory end result: Children don't do well with single working parents.
The labor doesn't have to be hard. The real issue with the "toothless" laws is that a man can be held in contempt of court of he quits a high paying job and takes a lower paying job. Thus if he was working as an oil refinery worker and earned $100k a year and quit to become safe and work as a bus driver earning $50k a year, he could be thrown in jail by our "toothless" support laws. As for those toothless laws, they allow a court to determine when you can visit your own children. They can ruin your credit, garnish your wages and tax returns, take your drivers license, and lastly toss you in jail for support orders. You tell me which of those provisions are toothless in today's society.
To dismiss it saying he would be working anyway is to support slavery. Just because someone is working doesn't mean they aren't entitled to the fruits of their labor. As for what motherhood "dooms" a mother to do. That is why we have legal abortion, adoption and abandonment laws. So she can choose not to do that to herself. If she still chooses to do it, then it is her choice.
I won't go into the problems pregnant women face in the workplace. It's better than it was, but the assumption that they're not serious or dedicated persists -- after all, they have a kid to take care of, and we know who does all that work, right?
Get out of the 19th century. You do know women can vote and even own property now right? The assumption that they are not "serious" and "dedicated" persists because most women are smart enough to see that your value to society and your family is not only determined by your job title or your paycheck. Men would like to move on to this understanding as well but they have this little problem called the courts which tells them when they can "visit" their own children and likewise that "parenting = paycheck."
Women opt (not are forced) to work part time at 5 times the rate of men. Quite simply put they have a different set of priorities. As for men being "serious" and "dedicated" well when your a$$ is going to jail over support orders it is amazing how "serious" and "dedicated" you can be about avoiding that. Why don't you pull up the news articles about all the women going to jail over child support orders for me?
Anyone living in the world has to accept the idea that you do not always get what you want. If you're a father, well, guess what? You're a father. If men want more freedom, they can behave more responsibly.
So you don't always get what you want. So perhaps it is women who should come to the realization that giving a man 15 minutes of fun doesn't = 18 years of support. Perhaps when women become more responsible and get their expectations realistic they will stop filing for divorces at 200-300% the rate of men just because they are "emotionally unfulfilled." Maybe women will become responsible enough to see that with their sexual revolution and abortion rights comes the responsibility to pick a father that will help them raise children instead of defaulting to some guy that was fun for that night.
And lastly aside from your cartoonish attempts to portray men as bad for not being a paycheck, you've shown no reason why they shouldn't have the same rights as women regarding the choice of parenting.