What are the ethical arguments for child suport?
October 22, 2008 4:19 PM Subscribe
There are plenty of great legal and practical arguments for child support payments out there, but what about an ethical argument?
posted by christopherious to Human Relations (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It isn't hard to come up with practical and legal justifications for a single mom to require child support from the father. But what about the ethical arguments?
I know a single mother who is working out an agreement with the father of their unplanned, forthcoming child (four months away). She earns a bit more than he does and plans to live alone with the baby. Although they are no longer a couple, she and the dad get along well and may or may not revisit the relationship in the future. He wants to be an equal parental partner in some as-yet-undefined capacity.
The big issue at the moment is money. The father had committed to helping my friend out with ~20% of her rent, but he made that promise when she was looking at homes that would entail a big increase in rent. Very recently she managed to find something more affordable, and when the father learned this he seemed to rescind his offer of financial support. Since his salary is actually the lower of the two and times are tight for him already, his reasoning actually makes a kind of sense. Nevertheless, my friend had a different understanding and thought his support was unconditional (even if it would be a different amount). She is very upset with him now, but they are both committed to working it out.
Both parents should visit lawyers and iron out something better than a verbal agreement as soon as possible, but they really don't want to go there yet and I obviously can't make them. Fortunately they will probably see a couples counselor soon, which is a pretty good start (I recommended that they pick one who has mediation training).
In preparation for her next conversation with the father, I have advised my friend to develop an estimated budget. This should bolster her argument when they resume talks. However, she does not feel she should even have to argue for money in the first place. She and I were both uncertain about the ethical argument (assuming there even is one) and so I thought I would look here.