It's All About the Benjamins Baby...
This post is about the wonderful world of child support. I know some of you all feel pretty strongly about this. Men and Women definitely have different opinions about this. This is my two cents.
There was about a year or so between the time I found out that Ayanna was my daughter and the time I started paying child support. I had always wanted a paternity test to determine if I was her father or not. So, when I was living in Indiana, I reached out to the Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) in Iowa and told them about my situation. They were more than happy to oblige me with a paternity test.
I went into this situation knowing two things:
1. I never wanted to be one of those guys who was always ducking and dodging child support. You know these guys. They're the guys who hop from job to job trying to stay one step ahead of CSRU. Or they're the guys who only work under-the-table cash jobs so they don't have any taxable real income. I'm not saying these guys are bad guys. I'm not saying they're deadbeats, but I knew that wasn't for me.
2. I also knew that in order to get me to pay child support, that the state would give me a paternity test. Happily.
***Side note #1: In the state of Iowa, if the paternity test came back negative, then the man would not have to pay for it. If it comes back positive, then you are responsible for the cost of it. It's $125. Spoiler alert, the baby was mine. Also, in 11 years, I have not paid for my paternity test. I never will. And if I have to, then I'm going to send 12,500 pennies to the main office in Des Moines. Why? Because I'm petty like that.
I got my paternity test results back a week before Thanksgiving in 2007. I was living in Anderson, Indiana at the time. I remember coming home from work and sitting down with my roommate just staring at the letter. I sat there for about ten minutes just looking at it. Somehow, I just knew that it would come back positive. As I was sitting there, I got a call from my Dad. He said, "Hey boy. Congrats! You're a Daddy!" I was like, "What???" He said that Ayanna's mom had called him and told him the news. So I opened the letter and it told me that I was 99.9999999% the father of Ayanna.
Wow. I'm that baby's pappy.
So I started paying child support. I didn't make much back then so my child support was. $160 month. $80 every other week. I now had to budget that money into my monthly bills. Actually, there was no true budgeting because they took my money straight out of my check every other week. After a while, I really didn't miss it. And I told myself to never, ever ever ever ever, look at the total amount that taken out over the course of a year. It would just depress me.
Paying child support actually was my initial inspiration to moving to Iowa. It made being a Dad "real" for me. Here I was, paying money to support a child that was six hours away. Plus, after I met Ayanna for the first time, I fell in love with her. Like love at first sight. She looked just like me. 18 months old, caramel skin, good hair.
So I decided to move to Iowa and be in her life.
After Amanyi came along, I never actually lived with her Mom. So I was paying child support for her as well. Now, I'm making more money so my child support was higher. I ended up paying $485/month for Amanyi. So I'm paying $565/month for child support for two kids. ***Side note #2: I remember one time a man and I were talking about child support. He was upset about having to pay $80/month in child support for two kids. I wanted to smack the shit out of him. I showed him one of my paycheck stubs and my child support amount. He shut up.
Now fast forward to 2013. I'm going through family court to gain joint custody with primary care of Ayanna. Amanyi is living with me now because he Mom passed away. So no child support there. When Ayanna's mom realized that I was going to win the case, she begged me not to put her on child support. She told me that she couldn't afford it. That it was going to be an undue burden on her. She practically begged me.
Now, I know a lot of you all out there would have been like, "Eff it. I'm puttin' this woman on child support." But I didn't. Its not that I didn't want her money. (I did) But I didn't want the headache. That would have been the hardest $80/month I would have gotten. Every minute I'm sure I would have heard about it. Anytime I would have needed help with daycare, or school clothes, or anything I'm sure that she would have used that as a crutch. Truth be told, I really didn't want to hear it. I hate family court. I wanted to wash my hands and be done with it.
And now, five years later, I'm good with that decision.
I know there are some of you all out there that don't feel the same. And that's cool. It takes different strokes to move the world. Everyone doesn't have my same situation. I'm glad that I was in the position that I did not need her money. What I did need was her time and her to be a mother to her daughter. (Different blog post for a different day). I know that some of you have deadbeat Baby Mommas and Baby Daddies out there who are hoping from job to job, from girl to girl. But for me, it just wasn't worth it. Some things that a kid needs you can't put a price tag on. And no matter how much money you pay in child support, it doesn't replace the most important thing in a kid's life...
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