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  • Nicola Moore

The co$t of being a single mother

As I begin this blog post I realize that I am opening Pandora's box. But by talking about it, I hope to share with others the struggle and triumph of being a single mother who does not receive child support for her three children.

As I open up about this closed mouth topic, I see that I am not alone. Many mothers who have gotten divorced or broken up with their partner, suffers the way I do and when doing a deep dive online on this topic, I see that more men are delinquent in making child- support payments than ever before.

When parents live apart, issues of financial support for the children come to the forefront, in addition to custody of and access to the children. Couples breaking up are much more likely to make arrangements for the payment of child support than spousal support.

Regular payment of child support is important to many families, as data from the Census suggests that lone-parent families, particularly those headed by a woman, tend to be more vulnerable financially than couple families. On the statistics Canada website, it says 24% of female lone-parent families lived in low income households, compared to 11% of male lone-parent families and 6% of couple families.

For families in low income, a drop in income, even for a month, may result in economic hardship as these families have few options available for covering the income loss. Imagine if I received the court ordered amount every month?! This would lead to less stress and worry for me. I don't show my children the stress and anguish I feel but I am wearing a mask that says everything is okay when its really not.

Only 46.7 percent of four million women who were supposed to receive child-support payments are collecting the full amount as reported by the Census Bureau. The number of delinquents was put at 2.13 million. There are enforcement issues in place in my case, but there is still no outcome for 'him' to take care of his responsibility,

In America a number of women's groups have been created to combat this issue such as Focus (For Our Children's Unpaid Support) and the Organization for the Enforcement of Child Support. The National Organization for Women endorses garnishment of delinquent fathers' wages and state or Federal interception of their tax refunds. Personally I think that child-support payments ought to be as well collected as car payments. It's not overstating the current situation to say that this common situation that I suffer from is a tragedy.

Through my experience as an advocate and later my shared experiences with Food Insecurity, I've learned that there are more women with families are poorer than ever before and the failure to make support payments is one of the contributing factors to the feminization of poverty. I also think there is nothing to excuse the suffering of the children in the case of child support. It sets the poverty cycle going and I don't know how a man can justify abandoning his children like that. I don't think that all the men should be considered dead beat dads, uninterested in their children. But the actions of some men speak volumes.

In my case, the bitterness of me leaving caused him to say he will not support me or our children. He'd rather I stay in a mentally abusive, sleepless, accusatory, insecure home and pretend that things are fine when I leave the house - when I was allowed to leave; but I digress.

When a man is confronted with an obligation of 10 or more years amounting to $20,000 to $60,000. That's a big trip to lay on the guy, especially if he feels the breakup process has been vindictive or unjust.'

Although some delinquent fathers plead poverty falsely, afflicted by what divorce lawyers refer cynically to as the instant poverty syndrome, other fathers say they are genuinely unable to pay because they have suffered financially, sometimes as a consequence of the disruption that follows divorce or separation. Another common response when the relationship is over is for men is to invent a new life for themselves. They create a new fantasy of themselves because of the fear of getting old. And the denial may extend to the children. A father's need to flee from his children can be activated in a number of ways. Some fathers who were deserted by their own fathers may repeat the pattern. Or a man my want to divorce himself from his whole former life if he has a sense of shame or distaste about his former self in a former relationship,

Whatever their reason for not paying child support is, not even a portion of it is paid. My oldest is now 10 years old. He has missed the important years of his life. Tossing a ball, playing sports, discussing body changes and the opposite sex. All topics that a dad should discuss with his son. All because you don't like the government taking out money every month for your children's well-being and future. Control.

So I see the issue isn’t women extorting child support from men, the issue is angry men who allow their negative emotions to cause them to forget their responsibility to their children. The big issue is, women and children are suffering because some men feel entitled to batter them financially by withholding not only money but, love, respect, and deference.

- Nicola

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