Do family courts violate women's rights as often as they
violate men's rights?
How can injustices that occur in family courts be addressed without
getting stuck on gender rights?
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 8:06 PM
Subject: child support
To whom it May Concern;
I have an unusual question as it pertains not to "Men's Rights" per
se but to the violation of the rights of a woman in much the same
My girlfriend was divorced several years ago after her husband left
her alone with three kids. She never sued for child support and received
it from him very sporadically. Years later, after supporting a wife and
three kids on one income he became involved in another relationship and
sued her for child support. We have two children of our own now and are
finding it very difficult to make ends meet. He and the child support
system in general have been relentless and unconcerned about the
presence of other kids (ours), and there seems to be no light at the end
of the tunnel.
I realize that his is usually a men's issue, but the system can be
just as unjust for women. Are there any resources for combating this
process that would address the injustice of the system itself regardless
Subject: RE: child support
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 00:50:48 -0700
Your request is not that unusual. It is just that it happens more often
that a man can't afford what he is ordered to pay than that he skips out.
However, in most cases when the mother grants the father(s) of her
children reasonable access, child support is willingly and often
voluntarily paid, often even at a higher amount than that specified by the
court order. In such cases it is truly rare that fathers skip out.
It appears that because your girlfriend never sued for child support, a
court order to have the man pay child support has never been issued.
If there is no court order, the hands of the child support system are
somewhat tied. If there is nothing to enforce, nothing can be enforced.
The first step would be to file for a child support order. In your
girlfriend's case the order that will then be issued can possibly go back
to the day of separation; I doubt it very much that the man can come up
with that much money. However, he should pay something. He most certainly
should pay all of what your girlfriend is entitled to from now on.
Your girlfriend should go to the child support system and ask them what
steps she can take. She will most likely have to hire a lawyer, unless she
is willing to devote a good portion of her time (about 50 to 60 hours for
the first month and then perhaps ten hours per week while the case is
active) to learn the legal ropes and represent herself. Her chances of
winning an award by herself are most likely no worse than with a hired
lawyer, but doing it herself will be much cheaper.
Almost all legal costs in a case like yours are comprised of lawyer's
fees, and court costs make up only a very, very small portion of the total
If you are broke and destitute, you may qualify for Legal Aid. Find out
what agencies are available for that and what it takes to qualify.
Again, the child-support-enforcement system should have some
information on that.
If you can't make any progress with any of that, the office of your
elected representative will most likely provide information and pointers.
Please let me know how you make out.
Be very careful about getting child protective services involved. If
they see anything they don't like about your circumstances, you could
become a lot worse off than you are now.
I don't understand why your girlfriend never asked for a child support
Regardless of whatever action you take now, you must find all of the
legal papers and all payment records that pertain to your girlfriend's
case and put them into chronological order. If necessary, go to the court
house and ask for their file. Your girlfriend has the right to do that.
Have her read all what is in there and ask them to provide copies of the
papers that are important and that she is not in possession of. You must
look at the court orders that were issued and carefully analyze them in
regard to what the respective responsibilities and rights for each party
were to be.
You must look at each sentence in the text of the court order, decide
whether it specifies any action and who is obligated to perform it.
That will tell you what the details of the claim you must make will be.
Do that analysis whether you will take the case to court yourself or
not. You will still have to know what to tell a lawyer if you hire one.
The analysis is the first step for communicating effectively with your
lawyer in preparation for telling him what you want him or her to do. It
is absolutely necessary to do that analysis to be able to construct a
claim for filing with the court.
It is important that you collect all of the legal papers and payment
records, because it is very likely that the man involved will do that, and
you don't want to be surprised with anything that he may bring up that you
may have overlooked.
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 4:19 AM
Subject: RE: child support
I'm not sure you understood the e-mail I sent you. My girlfriend is
actually the NCP. Years later, the kids decided they wanted to live with
their dad, and that's when he sued my girlfriend for child support. The
original abandonment was forgotten in an uncontested divorce and he got
away with paying little or no support for the intervening time between
the time he left her and the time he took custody of the three.
I got the impression that he had sued that
second wife for child support after becoming involved in a third
relationship. If I understand you now correctly, your common-law wife's
ex-husband had another wife and another three children with her, and then
he had a "relationship" with a third woman.
Your common-law wife's ex-husband "very sporadically" supported your
common-law wife and the three children they had together. He then
supported another wife with whom he had three more children, after which
he left her and took those three children, and he is now suing that second
wife for child support for those three children he had with her, and he is
suing your common-law wife for child support for the first three children,
those that they had together.
My understanding of the circumstances you described may still be wrong,
but because you stated that he "Years later, after supporting a wife and
three kids on one income,..." and also because you also stated in your
original message that your common-law wife "never sued for child support
and received it from him [her ex-husband] very sporadically," it would
seem that your common-law wife cannot be the "wife and three kids [whom he
supported] on one income."
After all, the focus of your complaint appears to be that the
ex-husband of your common-law wife did not adequately support your
common-law wife when she had custody of the three children she had had
with him, and that now he ungraciously does not return the favour of never
suing for child support.
On the surface, you are right. The case would seem rare.
There are far fewer men than women who are gold diggers. But is he? He
is providing for three or perhaps even six children in his custody, which
is even with three children not very easy to do, as you know because of
the two children you now have with your wife.
On the other hand, does your common-law wife still have the property
that was awarded to her in the divorce settlement on account of her having
custody of the three children; and did she ever pay her ex-husband for his
share of that property after she no longer had any pressing need for it?
Still, there are some things you can be grateful for. A man in your
common-law wife's circumstances would be lucky not to have to sleep in a
cardboard box, on a relative's couch or to have no more than a one-room
apartment. For one thing, if the sexes were reversed in a case like yours,
the woman in your position would most likely already have found greener
pastures. Your choices are somewhat more limited.
You would not bring "assets" but liabilities into greener pastures.
You did not respond to my concern about why your common-law wife never
sued for child support. Did her divorce settlement grant that she got a
generous property settlement in lieu of child support payments?
What did the divorce order state? Who made the mortgage payments if a
balance was still owed on the mortgage(s) for that property?
As to whether the system can be fought to force it to be equitable and
impartial regardless of the sex of the non-custodial parent, the laws are
generally blind to the sex of the parents; the discretion of the judges
and other authorities isn't. Nevertheless, this is not a perfect world,
and it is not always just men and fathers who get shafted.
The language of the child-support laws is almost without exception
gender-neutral. To ensure that is the case where you live, obtain copies
of the applicable rules and regulations and study them carefully; and also
carefully study all of the legal papers that pertain to the divorce
settlement in question. Without doing that you cannot determine whether it
was or was not an equitable settlement.
Quite a few people analyzed and wrote about the illogical foundations
of the reasoning for the parameters of child support guidelines, which
generally don't take into account the financial circumstances of the
child-support provider, sometimes not even the limits set by his gross
income, and never the fact that there may be a second spouse and other
children in the payer's life. The guidelines even state in some instances
(and so most definitely do many officials and judges) that second spouses'
and their children's interests are secondary to the interests of first
spouses and of the children those may have custody of.
To add insult to injury, the income of the second spouse of a child
support payer is often calculated into his gross income, based on the
sum-total of which the child support amount to be paid is then calculated.
To find some of what one of the foremost authorities wrote on that,
search the Net for "Roger F. Gay" and "Child Support Guidelines".
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 7:57 AM
Subject: RE: child support
Sorry I wasn't clear...this should make it clearer...
My common law wife's ex-husband has only 3 children (the children
of my common law wife)
She never sued him because she's a nice person, basically and
thought a long drawn court court battle would hurt the kids.
He has in fact been making lots of money under the table and lives
with a common law spouse whose income is not calculated into the
There are only two women involved in the story... my common law
wife and his common law wife.
A relative's couch may be exactly where we're all headed.
He took care of a wife and 3 kids (the same kids he now has) when
he was married to my common law wife... but now he seems "unable to"
He now takes care of 3 kids and a wife. We on the other hand take
care of 2 kids... and pay child support for 3.
From: "Walter H. Schneider" <
Subject: RE: child support
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 07:38:23 -0700
Yes I did misunderstand the main concern expressed in your message.
When you stated that,
Years later, after supporting a wife and three kids on one income he
became involved in another relationship and sued her for child support.
Okay, James, thanks for the clarification.
You will be able to learn a lot from
reading what Roger F. Gay wrote about equitable child support guidelines.
You must read much of that to understand what needs to be done and what
can be done.
It is not likely that you can win anything right now in the courts, but
you can work on making it possible that your children and grandchildren
don't experience what you are experiencing.
About your wife being nice to her ex, and about her ex not being nice
to her in return -- straight and simple: nice guys finish last, unless we
all behave like nice guys; many people don't, not all but many.
Was there a house, and did your wife receive the house when she got her
divorce? Was there an outstanding balance on the mortgage? If so, who made
the mortgage payments?
Are you now paying rent? If not, consider who made that possible.
(There were no further messages.)
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The White Rose
Thoughts are Free
Posted 2003 12 14
2007 12 22 (reformated)