Changing societal gender norms may impact support arrangements

Although many modern mothers in California and other states act as breadwinners, there are still social stigmas against men who ask for child support. These social stigmas may be in place because even though most mothers are employed, the majority of childcare responsibilities fall on their shoulders and because they suffer the most due to gender-related wage discrepancies.

One male blogger referred to the existence of high-profile cases in which men were publicly shamed for requesting joint custody or child support, such as when Bristol Palin’s child’s father asked for such allowances even though he was not caring for their baby. In other instances, some men speak out against asking for child support by reasoning that it is less likely that males will have to sacrifice job opportunities to care for children or to suffer other disadvantages.

Some also say that unfriendly separation disputes may result in parents leveraging custody or child support demands against each other as a form of reprisal. In states that mandate that single parents seek child support when they try to sign up for insurance, welfare or other forms of assistance, requesting support may be an absolute necessity.

No matter which parent acts as the primary wage earner, child support orders play a vital role in protecting the welfare of children and families. Not every order is perfect, however. In some cases, poorly drafted agreements result in one or both parents being unable to uphold their ends of the bargain, such as when orders fail to account for unforeseen health and daycare expenses. Maintaining and enforcing child support orders without incurring penalties may be easier if parents take additional time to plan and research their arrangements in advance by seeking the help of an attorney.

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