President Obama’s Father’s Day speech included one provocative, yet very declarative, sentence: “We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children.” Obama didn’t elaborate, but we can build on what he said because, yes indeed, child support laws urgently need “reform.”
Many fathers work long hours and make incredible sacrifices for their families. Child support formulas are based on the ridiculous notion that a father would make those same sacrifices for an ex-wife who is living with her new husband or boyfriend and for children he never or seldom sees.
Many fathers would happily do more to support their children if they got to see their kids more and were more engaged in their lives. But current child support laws have reverse incentives: The more the mother prevents such contact, the more child support she receives.