Because I received a couple of comments here that suggested that visitation and child support payments should be linked, I thought I ought to point out what’s wrong with that concept.
On the face of it, and from an ancient perspective, it seems reasonable that a man who supports his children financially should have access to them, and that one who does not should have ties severed. There’s nothing wrong or strange about that attitude, however, it doesn’t take into account the social and legal ramifications — especially where today’s tight labor market and anti-male family law come into play.
These days, during a custody dispute, it’s pretty much no holds barred. Former spouses trash each other viciously in order to win the prize. There are precious few limits and quite a few inducements to wives who want to slander their exes. Calling the guy an abuser, a pervert and a bum are pretty much standard. These kinds of slanders are used to definitively gain custody, and they work pretty well against men.
Out of all the tools women have to malign the men they chose to have children with, should we add bankruptcy and unemployment? To do so will only give mothers an incentive to put guys out of work and destroy them financially, and believe me, they will do what they can to put a guy on the street if it gives them an edge in custody disputes. This already happens with temporary restraining orders (TROs), and is a very effective technique.
If we add being arrears in child support, women will do their best to get men fired by putting them in jail on false allegations, maligning them to employers, harrassing them at work, etc. This is because they will figure that if the guy can be forced to miss a couple payments the mother will win by default. There is no doubt that this will be used by both mothers and scummy attorneys.
So I warn men to be very careful about using traditional values to determine parental rights. The game isn’t the same as it was in the 1950s. Married men are in a precarious position, and their right to be fathers to their children cannot be undermined any more than it already is without risking a total loss of rights as a father in the event that the wife decides to go must on them.