Loving Father Holding Young Son

Why I REFUSE to pay child support

When people ask me how can I be divorced with two children and pay no child support, I tell them I took a cue from Nancy Reagan; I “just said no.”

I took the road less traveled. One that more men should be allowed to travel.

For the past 13 years, I have been fortunate to be a full-time musician. Since the time of our daughter’s birth in 2003, I was at home with her during the day and working at night. Three years before my marriage ended, my wife and I agreed to switch roles. In order to make this arrangement work, I was extremely ambitious and found a way to work a 9-5 job as well as teach, perform in an Off-Broadway show and perform in weddings and corporate events. I paid all the bills while she took care of our daughter.

After two years of trying to fit back into the corporate world, I noticed a lack of communication between my wife and I. My focus was on our family; her attention appeared to be on the social calendar. My frustration with what seemed to be a lop-sided allocation of duties in our home-made for several stress filled months. Not only was I the sole breadwinner, I took care of many of the duties at home. The birth of our second child only intensified the tension in our home.

Working a full time job, gigs and doing much of the house work burnt me out so I quit my corporate job. Meanwhile my wife was unwilling to continue the therapy sessions we’d set up to find a way to repair our marriage. She hired an attorney and filed for divorce.

Our custody battle began in Family Court. During our first hearing, I received a court order for spousal support, which stated I was to continue paying all the bills until our case went to Supreme Court. On top of paying the household expenses, I had to pay my ex an additional $500 cash each month. I was furious. I questioned why I was responsible for everything and my wife was only responsible for being with the children.

Soon after filing, my wife began using the children as pawns. She filled the kid’s day with play dates, and after one of our many heated arguments, took the kids to her mother’s home in another state for two weeks so I could not see them. In addition to the attempts at alienating me from my children, my wife called the police after several arguments in futile attempts to have me vacate the marital residence and be thrown in jail. Luckily for me she was never psychotic enough to hurt herself or abuse the criminal justice system’s bias against men.

When our case was transferred to New York State Supreme Court, things began to change. A few months into our dispute I received an unlikely source of inspiration. My family had given me a father’s day gift certificate to a men’s spa. Here is where I received life-changing advice from a female staff member who’d gone through a divorce several years before. She and her former spouse had mutually agreed that their son be raised by his father. She informed me that in New York State, couples had the option to “opt out” of paying child support upon dissolution of marriage. I immediately called my attorney and told him I wanted to do just that: opt out.

I must acknowledge one piece of the puzzle that gave me a slight advantage that no one has today. At the time of my lawsuit, New York was the last state who hadn’t adopted no-fault laws. This gave me leverage that no one can use in court today. Now, everyone is at the mercy of their spouse and can’t contest their divorce. In fact, most people have no idea that your spouse can file for divorce for any reason and not have to prove why they want out of the marriage. This is a real disadvantage for the monied spouse in my state because the custodial parent gains an advantage with the child support guidelines. The spouse who makes more money is ordered to pay the non-custodial parent.

At the time, my attorney and I decided to contest my ex’s grounds for divorce. We were willing to compel her to tell the truth under oath. My ex would have perjured herself in court since there were several inconsistencies in her sworn deposition. Her attorney decided it would be unwise for her to proceed in that manner. This was the turning point that forced a settlement.

After 11 months in and out of court, we agreed that my parenting time would take place during the day; hers at night and that no one would pay child support. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I walked out of the courtroom secure in the knowledge that I could financially support our two children in a way that made much more sense to me. I did not succumb to the societal pressure to pay an ex-wife, child or spousal support because men have historically done so.

I’m not sure many men have the testicular fortitude to endure the pain it takes to achieve this goal today. Particularly since the avenue I pursued is now closed off to men in the family court’s crusade against fatherhood. I certainly thought of giving up but never did. I was also determined to get the court to understand the seriousness of my desire to be a fully committed parent and I was willing to go through the financial expense of seeing it through.

During my custody battle, I came to a deeper understanding how the courts system works and how the law applied in my particular case. I persevered by demonstrating that I was rational, reasonable, and always focused on the best interest of my children. Instead of relying solely on my attorney’s advice and historical precedent, I saw the bigger picture and thought long term.

I used several tactics to my advantage. I never left or was forced out of our marital residence, I managed to avoid physical altercations by keeping my emotions in check as much as possible, avoided being taken to jail by the NYPD by calmly explaining my side of the story and kept my focus by remaining totally devoted to my two children. I always took the high road and never talked badly about my ex to our children, no matter how tempting. I still don’t-she is the mother of our kids. They love her just as much as they love me.

I know all too well the stories of men who get taken advantage of by unscrupulous attorneys who don’t offer alternatives and other potential options their clients can pursue. State ordered child support should only be enforced when a spouse chooses to abdicate the responsibility of raising their children. There is no excuse for a parent to abandon their children. In my subsequent research, I have discovered that many fathers do not want to leave their children. Many times they are FORCED out.

Mandatory arrests laws that were written to protect women over the years have often been abused and are at times used to force fathers from the home straight into jail. This, in conjunction with punitive child support orders and the threat of imprisonment if it isn’t paid have been just a few of the reasons for the increase of widespread fatherlessness over the past 40 years.

The threat of divorce, child support orders or jail should ever stop a devoted father from having a healthy relationship with his children. No one should have the right to deny that important relationship unless there are serious criminal matters and there is due process.

Today it seems that many women intentionally abuse a system that was set up in the 1950′s and 1960′s to assist with the necessary expenses of child rearing for children that both parents gave consent to have. Now that women have joined the workforce in unprecedented numbers–and birth control frees them from the constraints they were otherwise under–it makes little sense to keep men stuck back in an era that has long passed. Women don’t want to go back to that era-men don’t either. If times have progressed for women, why are men forced to stay in the past?

I have seen many cases where spousal and/or child support is automatically assumed to be part of divorce even though it may be unwarranted, and most attorneys don’t even discuss potential options for their clients. I truly feel that men who desire to be a part of their children’s lives need not pay their future ex-wife at all.

My ex wife and I, more often than not, peacefully co-exist without a state ordered child or spousal support. I must emphasize this particular point: if anyone chooses the road I took, it requires a lifelong commitment of taking care of your children – something that unfortunately, most men today are not even given an opportunity to do.

I feel the default option in custody cases should be joint legal and physical custody with no court ordered child support absent a strong reason. Start with a 50/50 split of parenting time with the children. If that can’t happen and money needs to be transferred, the person receiving the funds needs to be held accountable for how the money is being spent. As it stand now, there is no way to account for how the funds are being used for the children.

The more often we keep the filthy claws of state and federal government out of our lives, the better. Once they get in, they never let go. The formation of the family court system, the state and federal offices of child support enforcement and all of the affiliated positions associated with it, has resulted in the creation of a massive state controlled Industry whose sole function is to affect the massive transfer of wealth from the father to the mother. The increase in state intrusion in our personal lives coupled with the culture of entitlement and unreasonable expectations currently embedded in our public consciousness, creates a system that feeds upon itself. It appears that this former government safety net has turned into a spider web. Eventually it will bleed fathers dry and the real victims will be their children.

When there are two loving parents that want to be actively involved in their children’s lives after divorce, there is no need to travel down the expected path of family court and mandatory child and/or spousal support. Women can learn from my story and understand that just because you may no longer love the father of your kids, your children do. Children need their mother AND father. Find a way to stay out of that hell hole they loosely call “Family Court.” I am living proof that there is another way.

For father’s day, give your ex the gift of letting him be a father.

 

About Clayton Craddock

Clayton Craddock is a dedicated father, a consultant for divorcing fathers, a social reformer, and advocate for fathers' rights (and especially those of their children).

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  • http://www.avoiceformen.com August Løvenskiolds

    A breathtaking article, and perfect for Father’s Day. Well done, Clayton.

  • JFinn

    People don’t want to learn from your story. People want to create more and more fatherless children. Learning from your story would force people to view you as a human being,

    I feel the default option in custody cases should be joint legal and physical custody with no court ordered child support absent a strong reason. Start with a 50/50 split of parenting time with the children

    This is what people especially hate: equality. Agreed with every word.

    • lorial

      Should it be joint if the father was not involved until he discovered he’d have to pay child support?

  • Bombay

    Even with a 50/50 custody, the person who makes more can be forced to pay the other. Without a child support order to the effect that neither one pays the other, the woman can nail your for retroactive support.

  • Keith

    I couldn’t agree more Clayton. It’s time to remove the extortion from family law and allow the natural progression of attachment between children and both of their fore-bearers. Anything less is a crime against life, existence and breathing. This single issue is reason enough to dismantle the western world and the whores that govern it.

  • kaazzii

    Here in Australia, even if one has 50/50 split, the person who earns more pays a % of child support. It is very rare for spousal maintence. I am a women who has in previous years paid child support when I left my ex – due to emotional, some physical and other abuses. To begin with he had 85% care as at the time I was in the defence force (and so was he) but I had to find accomodation, furnish the house before the kids could come to me. I have been thru the court system and HATED every minute of it, having the children subjected to psychologists that twist and turn information.. even my kids said.. hey mum they only said a part of what I said…
    When I had joint custody, 1 week with me, 1 week with him – it was stipulated I had to reside within a certain distance of where he was. But the kids were happy, and so was I. But I know I am from a very small % of the other sex how has paid C.S so I totally understand everything that the men go thru.

  • Jay

    “The more often we keep the filthy claws of state and federal government out of our lives, the better.” Couldn’t agree more. And that’s why I’m on the MHRM train – and also to call out the feminazi.

  • neochronoandero Reeves

    To all Americans (and people in Western Jusisictions) -

    1. Iran arrests and imprisons 20,000 people every year without trial. Iran is a state of tyranny.

    2. US imprisons 400,000 people a year without due process for non-payment of child suport. US is an egalitarian state.

    Wov!!! What logic.

    Guys, don’t marry. Don’t have children, Don’t have sex in Western Jurisdiction.

    Go to Thailand/Singapore for sex. Else, climb on one of the sex-boats – Egyptian ships which take you 50+ miles out of sea and is considered Egyptian jurisdiction. Use sex toys, playboy and sex VRs

    Don’t have children in Western Jurisdiction. Have them in Eastern Jurisdiction through surrogate wombs.

    Pay small donations to organizations devloping artificial wombs.

    Every month, put yoiur savings in offshore trust funds. Even Prez cannot touch them

    Be prepared to go to prison.

    Now wait – for the cruel hand of Adam Smith to strike.

  • Tamerlame

    Real victims are the children? No, no, no, no. MEN ARE THE PRIMARY VICTIMS!

    As men we got to think about how things affect us, it is the men who are getting destroyed.

    Sick of this women and children first bullshit. If the women is hold the kids welfare hostage, that is the women’s fault.

    • aimeemcgee

      Tamerlane, children are victims of a system where they have no choices, they suffer the loss of contact.
      If you want to get support for presumed 50:50 custody, you have to frame the argument in the best interest of the child. It sucks but that’s the reality

      • http://gravatar.com/coltov coltov

        it’s kind of obvious that children should have unfettered access to both their parents whether or not the parents are married. The best framework that supports that is a 50-50 split. Once the children can orbit both parents without pre-arranged scheduling and without one parent fearing the other will leverage the changing percentages in court, kids can have a equally good “quality” relationship with both their parents regardless of the exact quantity.

  • http://tenfoured.blog.com HeligKo

    I am 100% agreement. Child support should be removed from the default path of divorce. It should be assumed that there is Equal parenting time, joint-legal custody, and I would argue that 50/50 split of expenses, but a split based on income would be better than it is now.

    • darrarizer

      As a woman who has had her ex withold her child and pays child support to a man who makes 6x what she does, I could not agree more!

  • trish meissner

    It takes 2 to have a child and it takes a village to raise one. This is why for the best interest of the child the parent that no longer lives with the family should pay if the income is greater than the one left. To be a mother in this world is hard enough. Never mind the single mother. Over and Over again women are shot down. We are not manipulative and evil we just simply have to take over the emotional and physical well being of the child most of the time. I have no time for women haters. We carried these children and men should step up to the plate so to speak. We don’t need more court dates we need more support for mothers who care.

    • Carlos

      Thank you for sharing your steaming pile of bullshit with the rest of the class.

      • ashleeraina

        Her point is a bit off but I understand both sides really. I know plenty of women just out for money and that is so sad. And I know plenty of men who dont pay their stuff for stupid reasons. Im a single mother of a darling little girl, the father of whom is not around but is paying child support not my wishes at all. He didnt want to see her nor did he ask a thing anout her after countless attempts from me. Now after 4 years he is “demanding” that she stays with him for 2 weeks. I dont feel comfortable with that for the simple fact that he has not once tried to fix anything he even denied paternity. I would just like it if he would sign over his rights that way he wouldnt be paying for the child he doesnt want and I can continue to raise her. It may seem selfish but her best interests are living with me.

    • Fredrik

      Let’s play Guess the Number! What percentage of separated men with estranged children would rather be single fathers, even with no support from the mother, if only they were allowed? I promise I won’t cheat with Google or anything. My guess is 80%.

    • Kimski

      “To be a mother in this world is hard enough.”

      You know, this may come as a huge surprise, but in a world so massively overpopulated that large numbers of children are dying from starvation every second somewhere, you actually have a choice NOT to have any.
      In fact you have SEVERAL choices, even from before conceiving.

      Yeah, thought that would throw you off for a bit, there..-But seeing that having a child is ultimately the woman’s final decision, wouldn’t it then be fair to also expect her to live up to the responsibility of such a choice?

      Especially if she chooses to divorce the father, and not allowing him to be part of the child’s life, for whatever damned reason that might please her?

    • http://gravatar.com/mragh MRA Greatest Hits / Encyclopedia MRA

      Reading your stale old misandric garbage makes me want to yell obscenities at you. However my resolution to not entertain the sexist drivel of fools is something I intend to stick to. Suffice to say I hope you go publish your bullshit somewhere else, you have the whole rest of the world where this shit fits right in yet you feel to dump it here.

    • http://gravatar.com/coltov coltov

      speaking as a caring, responsible father deprived of his child by both her mother and the courts, I think that you are missing most of the picture. The only plate that men need to step up to is to actually care for their children rather to than pay some prostitute to do it for them.

  • yinyangbalance

    “There is no excuse for a parent to abandon their children.”

    I support this. However, I want to point out that this attitude goes against the grain of this website. Luckily AVFM does not silence me. Many MRA’s, instead of demanding women be just as responsible for their children as men are forced to, want to advocate equal IRRESPONSIBILITY that mothers enjoy. I dont support that. Just ask JTO or Paul, they think Fathers have the right to opt out of fatherhood. Hmmm. Yea I said it, bring on the down votes.

    I’m a single father as well, I had to battle the California courts. I actually GET child support now and I actually have physical shared custody of my child.

    If you produce a child, you are responsible for it. We should not admire women’s scape goats, we should not advocate the power to murder children either (abortion). This goes against AVFM, but AVFM lets me do it (unlike Feminism) so I will not remain silent about it..

    I dont even want to get into adoption either. Adoption is something that should arise out of very complicated situations, and should ONLY be used when a parent CANT be a parent besides making arrangements for the child to be cared for in their absence. Adoption is a form of responsibility being handed off to a trusted individual. Having this idea that one day any parent can wake up one day and decide “I’m going to adopt you out because I’m tired of you” is absolutely wrong.

  • kurt

    No fault divorce has been a disaster for men because no fault divorce really means ‘mens fault’ in practice. why would women initiate about 70% of divorces if they weren’t so sure they would do so well out of it?

  • SomebodysMom

    To the fathers commenting and the one who so passionately wrote this post… Until you are a mother you will not know what it takes to be one so your perception is limited in that regard and it is important to be aware of that. I am a mother of a bright eyed little girl who turned 4 this year. Her father and I are divorced and YES I filed for divorce. 1st let me address the “no fault” issue… We are divorced citing irreconcilable differences and “no fault” however due to him having a child outside of our marriage YES I divorced him. Now I didn’t need a reason nor does any man or woman who wants out of a marriage they may one day feel they no longer want to be in. So any men on here bitching about wives leaving husbands as if husbands don’t leave wives all the time… MAN UP! If she no longer wants to be with you no need to be bitter about it!

    Now on to the issue of child support. I believe that child support makes parents responsible and more conscious of what it really takes to raise a child.

    Here is my story…
    During my divorce I did not see a need to pursue child support because my ex who owns his own business and grosses 400k+ a year from said business has always been the bread winner in the home. He has always taken care of the financial aspect of the household without fail and I assumed he would continue to take care of our daughter in the same manner he had before. We moved to separate residences and I footed all of my own bills. At the time my daughter was just a few months old and constantly needed milk, pampers, clothing, daycare expenses. Daycare alone was $276 a week. I went her entire first year calling and chasing behind her father to help me with her expenses. In her first year he gave me a total of $500. Again daycare alone was $276 a week. His contribution was not enough to cover 2 full weeks of daycare. At any rate I made sure what she needed I provided. He saw her every now and again and was paying really NO money to support her financially.

    Now in order to understand what happened next you must first understand that a child does not need to be supported today alone but for 18 years. When my daughter turned one I spoke to a close friend about the troubles I was having getting the father to step up and their words hit me like a ton of bricks… “You are neglecting your child!” What she meant was by not making her father step up financially I am neglecting the needs of my child. I couldn’t expect him to reason as I did because he was not with her day in and day out.
    He didn’t know what she needed. And like most non-custodial parents they do not know what it takes financially, mentally, or physically to raise a child. I took him up for child support. Of course he was angry, of course he tried to make me feel like I was robbing him but I wasn’t operating emotionally I was being smart. I was securing my daughters future. After all, how could I be robbing someone who in 1 year only contributed $500 when he made $400k+? So spare me the BS that fathers want to be a part of their child’s life but the child support won’t let him… Fact is there are a lot more that skate by doing nothing for their children until someone takes them up for child support. And if a man stops seeing his child because he has to pay child support then he should not be allowed to be a father. Period! You don’t stop appreciating the life you helped create because of money. That’s a no brainer!

    For me it was much more than milk and at times fathers do not understand that you have to be conscious of the future. To him it was ridiculous because all she needed was milk and diapers. To me it was necessary because she would one day be entering into private school, then she’d be going off to college. Maybe she will need braces. My daughter starts school at Collegiate next year. It’s 18k a year. Sure, I can afford this on my own but why on earth should I have to? When we were together we discussed private school and both were in agreement now that we aren’t together why should she have any less than when we were? A woman does not have to stay with a man but a man does have to take care of his children!

    • http://shiningpearlsofsomething.blogspot.com Suzanne McCarley

      ” Until you are a mother father you will not know what it takes to be one so your perception is limited in that regard and it is important to be aware of that.”

      Your anecdote is not data, but thanks so much for your gynocentric contribution. Obviously no one here has ever heard that revolutionary new perspective.

    • darrarizer

      Then why not LET him be primary custodian, so he can “see what it’s like”? You fail to see that he was not given the option.

  • shmiggen

    I’ve given no fault divorce a lot of thought and I don’t think its possible to get rid of it. If two people hate each other, better to let them go their separate ways.

    However, as most divorce filers are women, and they receive cash and prizes for doing so, I would simply augment no fault divorce so that the one who initiates the divorce forfeits all future cash and prizes. No child support, no assets, no vehicles, no house.

    I agree that a man should pay child support, but if his wife leaves him and he doesn’t want to dissolve the marriage but stick it out…well, that changes things. A man like this should not be coerced by the state into paying for a family he cannot have.

  • darrarizer

    There are women being abused with the burden of child support also, while I agree with your post, do not assume that men are the only ones who pay. My ex makes $60 an hour while I make $10, but he could afford a better lawyer, so…

  • lorial

    You are missing the spirit of child support. Child support is a parent’s obligation to provide for the child so that the child is able to live a similar lifestyle in each parents’ home. Child support is not for a man to pay a woman or for a woman to pay a man. Child support is the higher wage earner’s obligation, so that the child will be able to enjoy a similar lifestyle in each home. Like so many men, you think you are paying your ex.

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

      And you are missing a badly needed connection to reality. There is no apparatus in place in any state to ensure that CS monies benefit the child. It is money paid to the ex, which she (and in most cases it is a she) can spend however she pleases.

      Being based on income, it also means that in many cases CS is far in excess of the child’s actual needs. Thus it is a personal windfall for the ex.

      The child, in any case, should be limited to the lifestyle the custodial parent can provide after its basic needs are taken care of when primary custody is awareded. By basic needs, I am talking about food, shelter, medical care, etc. The idea of the “similar lifestyle” standard is a corrupt joke. No non custodial parent should be forced to pay for more than children’s basic needs and that is in the worst case scenario. Hint: A pink Iphone should not be acquired via state force.

      In the proper dissolution of a marriage, both parents would have equal access to the child and would continue to make voluntary lifestyle decisions, not be forced into those decisions on the whim of one parent.

      Quit hiding behind the supposed best interest of the child in order rationalize thievery. It is disgusting and immoral.

  • daddy7777777

    Right on brother! Catchy title of article caught my attention; however, it is actually a sweet and loving (and informative) article. Women think they can file for divorce get the kids and a nice cash prize; however, that’s not fair to kids or men.

    80 % of all prison inmates are fatherless and 75% of all divorces are initiated by women! Do the math, the cash prize helps fill the prisons. Government in our lives creating more government in our lives.

    The family law system is a joke, but it seems to be changing. Women want equality except when it’s convenient for them to claim otherwise. The 1950s are over let each person parent and provide. No more “check writers” which are fathers that don’t see their kids but just pay for their loads SO sad no dad!

  • letsalldoourpart

    It sounds like a lot of excuses being thrown to see what sticks. Everyone is too worried about what is best for them, not the child(ren) involved. You can never be wrong and it is always everyone else’s fault for everything bad that has ever happened to you. Women do have the choice to abort if they wish to end an innocent life (are you saying that you wish your children were aborted?). Before that though, men have the choice to use a condom. Take some responsibility! It takes 2 people to make a baby. Once a baby is born, it is time to grow up and be responsible. No more jam sessions…take care of your child. You will go nowhere in this world if you do not start taking responsibility for what YOU do.