Pamela S Baron
University of Tennessee Martin
You hear it about it on the news, from a friend, maybe you know someone who is divorced or unmarried with children. It’s more common today than before. Getting divorced can be difficult and in some cases it can become a nightmare. Many children live without their fathers. Single parent have a difficult task of caring for their child in many cases without the support of the other parent. We are going to see how the state and federal government has influence a change in the process of dealing with this issue. We’re going to go over some of the pros and cons of child support.
Let’s start with a brief history of parent custody and child support. Around 1700-1800’s, when divorce was taboo and children were considered property. A mother was powerless against their husbands. Husband use this to their advantage to keep their wives in line. The courts would rule in favor of the father. It wasn’t until 1839 when Thomas Noon Talfourd an English Lawyer challenged this preference, which argued that any child under 7 considered the “tender years” should be in the care of it mother. The only down fall was that the child had to be return to its father once they hit the appropriate age. The Industrial Revolution started helped with this trend. Father has to find work farther and farther away from home leaving their wives as the primary caregiver. Around this time women were gaining more legal rights. In 1848 the first Women’s Right Convention which one of the issues addressed was women’s civil rights to property and custody of their children after separation or divorces from their husband. Of course not all states agreed that mother had equal rights in custody issues but they can around. It was around the 1920s that you saw a majority of mothers gaining custody of their children and father had to start supporting them if not they were looking at fines even prison. In 1911 Illinois was the first state to offer funds to needy families; called the “Funds to parents” It was one of the first gender-neutral laws. But it was mainly widows who collected these funds. I believe the federal government stepped in about 1935 created “Aid to Dependent Children” for the same purpose. The next major change came in 1950 when President Truman overhauls Social Security. It required the state to notify law enforcement that a parent abandon their child normally the father. It’s hard to believe that it took another 20 years for the government to step in and start coming up with a plan to try and force father to support their children. Congress in 1974 created “Enforcement and Paternity Establishment program” with this a mother on welfare had to help locate the father in order to receive welfare benefits. With this it help the government recover some of its cost related to welfare. In 1984 Congress amend this program by providing guidelines the required the state to follow in order to receive funding. These guidelines it provides mathematical formula to determine support payment amounts. These guidelines have made it easier for judges to make support payment order in most if not all custody cases. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 gave court permission to punish the “dead beat parent” and gave ways for recovering support payments from parents who flee the state to get out of paying child support. A few of the punishments at this time were that dead beat parents were not able to get business loans, affected parents filing for bankruptcy and another state could not reduce their child support amounts. 1993 the government is trying to crack down on overdue child support especial families on welfare. I still don’t understand why the government keeps the child support payment and only give $50 dollars to the family even when they the payment is more than what the state gives in benefits to the families. Now let’s look at the current process for child support....
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