On an evening out Alice met Bob. They have a good time and subsequently end up getting laid. The next morning Bob leaves without a trace, but a few weeks later Alice found herself pregnant. Since she is a secular pro-life activist she decides to keep her child, with the result that Alice becomes a single mother. Unable to locate her child’s father, she has sole responsibility to raise her child.
Unfortunately, this case is familiar for too many single mothers who have to raise their children alone because the father has fled his fair share of responsibility. The life of a single-mother is tough, and not in the last place financially as it is difficult to have both a (full-time) job and to be the sole caretaker of (young) children.
Robin Baker has proposed a child support system which forces absentee fathers to contribute their fair share of the upbringing of their children. We will shortly summarize the features of his proposal.
First, child support will be connected with a paternity test in order to prevent that some will pay to support other’s children. Once paternity has been established, child support will be mandatory. This will require a national DNA database.
Secondly, all parents will be treated equally regardless whether the parents are living together or not, or their marital status.
Thirdly, their will be no preferential treatment for children from previous relations. In principle all children have an equal share of their genetic parent’s income.
Fourthly, there will be a correction for the child’s age in calculating one’s child support. Baker introduces the concept of “child equivalents”, a baby counts for one, a toddler for two, and a teenager for four. This because older children have higher costs. This correction solely depends on the child’s age, not on the relation in which (s)he is born.
fifthly, both parents have to pay child support. (They parent who actually cares for the child will get back his or her contribution with that of the other parent.)
Sixth, the amount of child support has to pay will depend on one’s income. Also the more children one has (or rather child equivalents), the larger the portion one has to pay in child support.
Seventh, the parent who receives the child support is responsible for the expenditures for the benefit. Even in case that the child lives with the other parent – a case which will rarely occur.
Eighth, the non-caring parent will receive visitation rights. If the non-caring would refuse to pa his or her portion of child support, he or she will lose his or her visitation rights.
According to Baker the purpose of this system, is to eliminate all arbitrariness and unfairness in the child support system.
We favour to introduce the Baker plan in Mordan. And for the proper execution of this system, we propose the establishment of the federal child support agency (FCSA).
Though Baker does not explicitly states what to do if a parent would fail to pay child support, it will not be hard to imagine some possible measures. One could think about asset forfeiture or even prison sentence for defaulting parents.