Why I Forgave $38,750 in Child Support: Revaluing Fathers This Father’s Day.
As we celebrate the fathers and father figures who have impacted our lives, let’s also think about championing fatherhood. Not just as a holiday to buy ties and tools, but also as an opportunity to redefine and revalue fathering as important work. Last year, I made the apparently very controversial decision to forgive $38,750 amount of my ex husband’s child support arrears. Read why below in my piece on NYTimes.com, and let me know what you think..
But too often, fathers are seen as accessory parents or bumbling second rate caretakers. On the other side, our society only defines fathers as deadbeat or not, solely by financial contribution. And we lump the unwilling to pay and the unable to pay in the same prison-bound barrel, regardless of what other meaningful contributions that father may make to the child’s welfare.
Here’s my story:
Earlier this year, I spent three hours sitting on a hard, wooden bench in the Queens County Family Court, waiting for a judge to approve my petition to forgive $38,750 in child support arrears from my ex-husband.
The judge said, “Well this is a rare one,” then asked me several times if I was aware of what I was doing and if I had received legal counsel. When I told my single mom friends, they looked at me as if I had committed an act of treason. “Child support is all we have!” one friend exclaimed.