The most common reason that prevents a wife from ending her loveless or abusive marriage is the lack of financial independence to rear her children from that union. Single mothers feel helpless as well, what with the seeming futility of obtaining child support from the fathers that left them.
Legally, our laws seem to have the right answers to the problems of child support. Initially, one asks the father for a regular amount and documents this demand in a letter commonly known as a “demand letter.” It is only when the father refuses to provide for the child that the mother resorts to judicial intervention.
Support pendente lite.
A complaint, pre-trial and trial take place before the formal Order of the court is issued. Ordinarily, the mother can ask for support pendente lite, or while the case is pending, so that the immediate needs of the child are met. Assuming that the mother is able to present her case well, the court compels the father to provide something for the child/children monthly.
But a mother’s problems do not end with the court order in her favor. There are some fathers who, out of spite for their ex, or out of sheer irresponsibility, neglect to comply with their obligation. This leaves the mother feeling helpless. She did her part, fought for her child’s rights, won her case but experiences an empty victory that only looks good on paper.
Remedies in case of non compliance.
The law allows the mother to enforce the payment of child support by going back to the same court that issued the decision in her favor. This time, she can file a motion to cite the father in contempt for his failure to comply with the court order containing the support provisions.
If the child support issue is found in a parenting agreement approved in court, then the same agreement can also be enforced in a court action. There will be another exchange of comments, some hearings, and then another court order to execute the support provisions.
A mother is lucky if she can identify the current employment status of the father to ask for his salary to be garnished. A difficult father can hide his assets with the use of dummies, to keep it far from the mother’s reach.
In the meantime, the single mother weighs her options carefully. Most of the time, she hesitates to continue her quest for judicial relief only because she has financial constraints. She would rather use her limited funds to provide for her child’s needs and hers than use it to pay her lawyer’s huge legal fees.
It is easy to see why statistics show that the woman who separates from her husband and becomes the primary caretaker of her children is more likely to experience a decline in her personal income. While this may be the reality, it does not have to be that way.
It takes a lot of political will to change the traditional ways of society. Though men who shirk from their financial responsibility are a dime a dozen these days, our legislators may well learn a thing or two from our American counterparts.
Child support enforcement.
In the U.S., the government takes child support enforcement seriously. Most states have support calculators, support offices that provide free mediation services, and the best part– the criminalization of the failure to pay support. It is the equivalent of discipline by spanking. In a culture that is increasingly known for breeding men who are spoiled brats, that may just be what our country needs.