Gender should not be a factor

This is to support The A-T’s editorial position, “Collect all child support” dated Oct. 17, while providing additional supporting data. A closer look at percentage data offers an objective analysis and yields to a different perspective. Please keep in mind, it can be difficult to obtain “current” data. Several data sources cite census information as their source.

One comparison states 41.4 percent of custodial dads receive due child support compared to 43.6 percent for custodial moms. A higher percentage of custodial dads, 32 percent, receive no child support compared to 25 percent of moms. Such statistics suggests collecting child support payment challenges exist, regardless of gender. Dare we say that “nearly” 1/3 of moms fail to pay child support, compared to “only” 1/4 of dads?

Are there other discrepancies, you ask? Yes, there are many!

Failure to pay child support has serious consequences. They include wage garnishment, asset seizure, credit bureau reporting, driver’s license suspension, passport denial, withholding of unemployment benefits, arrest and jail time.

A look at incarceration rates for child support non-payment offenses adds another interesting perspective. A Massachusetts report (2001-2011) indicates between 95 percent to 98.5 percent of sentencing outcomes by probate and family courts are against men. Using nationally based data, 12 percent of women paying child support are in arrears. When the law is applied equally, this should correspond into a 12 percent incarceration rate for women in arrears of child support payments. Translation, women in arrears are imprisoned at 1/8 the rate of that for men.

Gender should not be a mitigating factor in collecting child support, but it is! Furthermore, moms can drop off newborns at numerous locations without future child support obligations. Why?

In conclusion, the narrow focus of the editorial completely distorts, and ignores, the much bigger picture. A more insightful look at the statistics surrounding the non-payment of child support would be in order. The assumption that payments in arrears are “almost all men” is misleading. Likewise, feeding into such a public persona is harmful to men in general, dads in particular and a disservice to those that do pay!

After all, this is about what’s “in the best interest of the child,” right?

John M. Boes,

Ramsay, Michigan