Child support isn’t a penalty that goes hand-in-hand with losing out on child custody. In fact, some Tennessee parents who have been awarded primary custody of children have also been ordered to pay child support to co-parents who may take care of the children a few days each week.
The real purpose of child support is to ensure that children get the financial support they deserve — an amount calculated by a formula that takes various factors into account, including each parent’s income and obligations to support children from other relationships.
While this system seems to work well enough in most cases, there are always exceptions that critics can point to in making the case for a change. Take, for example, the case of one Tennessee man who has fathered 30 children by 11 different women yet is only 33 years old.
Earlier this month, that man ended up in headlines around the country after he went to court to ask a judge to modify his monthly child support payments in any way possible, either permanently or temporarily.
As the situation stands now, he is required to pay 50 percent of his income in support each month, which is then divided between the 11 mothers. The problem, from his perspective, is that getting to keep only half of the minimum wage he earns makes having any sort of normal, decent life impossible. There’s simply not enough left, he says.
Without getting into a debate about morality, values or the personal choices that led him to father so many children in such a short time, the fact that child support is not intended to leave paying parents virtually destitute and plain common sense tells us that the man probably needs to pay less than what would ordinarily be required under Tennessee’s child support guidelines.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Desmond Hatchett: Man With 30 Kids Requests Child Support Break,” May 18, 2012