Yvette Carnell: The Case for Allowing Fathers to Opt Out of Paying Child Support

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by Yvette Carnell, Your Black World

Up at Black Like Moi, the question being asked is, if a woman can choose to abort a child, can a man choose not to pay child support? Or to put it less bluntly, if having a child is a woman’s choice, is it still a man’s responsibility? I’m sorry ladies, but this issue warrants a good airing out.

For my part, I’ve always believed that the divvying up of reproductive rights, and by that I mean men having none, is the main reason that some men feel no responsibility toward their kids. In their minds, the mother chose – on her own, usually without or against his input – to have the child so she bears the sole responsibility of caring for it. As a friend reminded me, you have to ask yourself; what if a woman was forced to carry a child to term against her will, what kind of mother would she be? Point being, anytime one parent is forced into that role against their will, problems ensue. It’s a breeding ground for resentment.

via Your Black Woman: Yvette Carnell: The Case for Allowing Fathers to Opt Out of Paying Child Support.


47 Comment

  1. I don’t know that the man should be able to opt out of child support. I do know that there are women who will write a letter to the State saying they do not wish to press child support against the father. Also, I know of a couple men who have put themselves on child support as a way to completely break it off with the female (who was trying to control them and hold something over their head – like the fact that she could press child support any time).

    Every instance is different. I believe the fathers who make money, and refuse to pay child support, are just plain wrong for that and should be in jail. That being said, there are men who have been a victim to the economy and were put out of work; and couldn’t find work for a couple years. Then, having been out of work… fell behind enough to lose their license, which further impacted their chance of ever supporting their family, until said debt is paid. Furthermore, those individuals are then placed in work release and have to pay rent to the facility in addition to try to find work (one day a week). I don’t know… child support is a malicious cycle that never ends, unless the person is wealthy or has a well paying job.

    Another situation I’m aware of is a husband and wife. The wife cheated and decided to divorce. She also (while pregnant with her 2nd child …supposedly from the husband) decided to give the 2nd child up for adoption (while divorcing her husband, AND unbeknownst to HIM). THEN … the grandmother DECIDED to go and retrieve said child from the adoption couple about a month or so later. That father is in jail for child support at this time … all due to the choices of the Mother. It’s complicated.
    It would be ideal if families would stay together and work through issues, but all to many times a family hasn’t even been formed. Individuals go around living foul and babies are made… and they just skirt the responsibility. Should they be able to opt out? In the end… NO. That baby didn’t Opt IN!

    • I agree.

  2. A man always has a choice in whether or not he fathers a child with a woman. He should consider not having sex with a woman with whom he does not want children. It’s that simple.

    • I agree wholeheartedly! Choosing to have unprotected sex means that you are well aware of the risks, to include contracting HIV and or other std’s. What the hell is this argument about???!!!!! If you have sex with a women you don’t plan to be with or you don’t want to have children, then strap it up. There is no other choice. Unless you remain abstinent. WTH! she shouldn’t have to abort it or put it up for adoption is she doesn’t want to and he should have to pay and participate, or just pay. Sheesh!


  3. I can never get with men on this topic because if you didn’t want to be responsible for a child you shouldn’t have sex. That was your right, responsibility and choice. I mean, its not rocket science, it’s biology. Its not our fault that women are the one’s that carry the baby and thus ultimately make the decision as to whether or not to carry it to term. And it’s not like men didn’t know that fact before they decided to have sex. It might seem like a raw deal but that’s just life.

  4. I find itto be a very serious subject. For one unprotected or not both the man and the woman should come to an agreement about what both sides want as far as if they want to be together or not. Secondly if the (father) is unemployed then the mother should agree with him too find a job and start to support the child if they agree to be there for eachother and the child. Now if the dad has been working and still got a job there’s no question he should pay whether to the mom or the govt. Three. Now we forget this whole childsupport thing is controlled by the govt. They do not care if your employed or not they want that money because they get 10+ cents per dollar so they want there money. It is very unfair to the fathers because we basically have bk rights when it comes to that. I think it should be revamped and thought out carefully. I got four kids and love them all very much, but some women are really spiteful and they are the ones that say one thing then they break down and want you to do everything else. They are not the ones that got to worry about their license getting suspended! SO AGAIN IT’S NOT FAIR THEY (GOVT) SHOULD DEFINITELY REVAMP THIS CHILDSUPPORT. ISSUE!

  5. Men DO have a choice, they can protect themselves. Condoms are even given out free at many clinics. If a man does not want children then he should ALWAYS use protection. As I told my son as he was coming into manhood, “A woman can lie about being on birth control, you take control and if she doesn’t want you to protect yourself then DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER!” Thank God he listened and did not become a teen father. But even condoms are not without risk, the only 100% guarantee of not having a child is abstinence.

  6. What an American question. Only here, is this even worthy of a discussion. Confirms for me that we need manhood and womanhood training in our community.

  7. I don’t a man should be able to opt out of paying child support ,he also realizes that when you lay with a woman that is the chance you take.I think if you let men opt of child support you will continue to have more criminals ,bastard’s ,and misfit’s in society…

  8. Many of you are missing the point. How many of you would tell a woman she can’t have an abortion without the father’s consent? And if he won’t consent, then she must carry out the pregnancy. How many of you would support that measure? Why would you be against it? After all, she could have avoided the whole situation by not having sex or using protection. The point is men and women should have equal rights. If a woman can legally terminate her role as a parent even after birth, then what’s your argument against men having the same right??

  9. This is a subject that warrants discussion and one I brought up last year. Unlike most women, I am in the minority and believe that men should be able to opt out. But likewise, I also believe that a woman should not carry to term a pregnancy that both parties do not want. Its all about giving both parents a voice in the decision making. Women claim choice and their body, but the moment they give birth, they go after the man for money. That’s not right especially when he said he didn’t want it.

  10. Men should be able to opt out of unprotected sex! Men should be able to opt out of sex with women he thinks are unworthy of starting a family with him.

    • beautifully and sarcastically put!

  11. Maybe I am a part of a dying breed, but I am just horrified by this question. What is being discussed here — on both sides of the issue for men and women — is the birth of a child as “an unintended consequence” of a commonplace lifestyle nowadays where sexual activity has been reduced to recreation. That’s my observation.

    So, while people are having fun that includes unprotected sex, neither party seems to be prepared for the potential consequence of their actions. When the “unintended consequence” occurs, then they get divided into camps who variously defend a “woman’s right to her body and reproductive choice” and a man being hounded about what it means to be a “good father” — that he neither wanted to be nor is prepared to deal with. So, we end up with a debate about the merits of a decision to abort vs. a man’s decision to opt out of paying.

    The tragedy in this multi-generational epidemic of behavior is the loss of the meaning of what a family is. We now have single-parent families, broken families, blended families, and far too many foster children who have no families at all. What is crazy to me is there is no longer any alarm being sounded when 7 out of 10 Black children arrive at schools each day from single parent families mostly headed by women. The behavioral aberrations, and “problems with Black boys without fathers in their homes” are not connected to the consequences of casual behavior that reduces their immediate progenitors to “baby mamas” and “baby daddies” instead of parents heading families. Instead of seeking solutions to restoring stronger families, we are having a debate about who should pay for “the unintended consequence.” Children are reduced to objects of resentment, the subject of visitation rights, and the center of legal battles over custody and child support payments. They are the big losers.

    Maybe so many who are reading this are the products of multiple generations of “unintended consequences” that the “new normal” doesn’t include a stable two-parent family, working together to raise children with solid values and respectful relationships. So the solution that I would propose — which may end up in a 45 year marriage that we have enjoyed — is now the stuff of fairy tales, and no longer considered the primary option for a couple looking forward to the birth of their first child. We may be at the bottom of that proverbial slippery slope. It is so easy to slide down the slope, and nearly impossible to go back up.

    • I totally agree with Roger. The fact that the question is even being considered is a travesty in itself. The equity is already there – period. The man has the right to say “no”, use HIS condom and then take it with him, or get a vasectomy. In essence, these are the same rights a woman has. If the rights are waived by either party, then the other party has the right to say they are no longer interested. Once a child is born, there is nothing left for either party to do but take care of the child or give it away. The only true gray area is that brief period after.

      If the topic of this article had been “Does a man have the right to provide input on aborting his child?”, or “Does the woman require his permission to abort the child?” then this would be a different conversation. From my perspective, this article is just one more symptom of a growing epidemic. People are having sex who obviously are not mature enough to do so. They do not recognize the consequences or the impact of their actions.

      Another note on this topic which has already been inferred. If more males placed more value on their sperm this would not even be an issue. No woman can FORCE a MAN to conceive a child. I have yet to hear the story of a woman that would drug a man, tie him down, mount him, force him to ejaculate into her fertile body resulting in conception, carry the child full term, and then sue him for child support.

  12. Here’s the one big problem: A man could decide to deceive women by putting holes in condom or going condom-less in the early hours to the surprise of his lover, thus impregnating her and then decide that he’s NOT going to pay child support if the woman is too afraid of abortion or does not want to have an abortion due to religious or personal choices. SO, that’s why this could not or would not work.

    • That’s the stupidist thing I ever heard!!!

      • I’ll need you to explain the why, Jerome. It’s a fact that men prefer condom less sex. It all is the same for women. So when a dude decides to not wrap it because, hey, he doesn’t have to support any of the children that could result, then what happens to this whole theory?

  13. You ever notice that women almost never have contraceptive? Is it because they know that whatever ignorant decision they make they’ll find a man or da’ man to subsidize it? Is it because in our sexism we actually hold women to a lower level of responsibility than men? I’m just wondering. Other than it just feels wrong what is the justification for unilateral decision making enforced by law.

  14. Any time you lie down with another person, you know what the possible consequences are. Don’t want to pay child support? I’m cool with that. But don’t try and take any of the credit for that child’s future successes. Don’t try and become their best buddy. And definitely don’t offer them any advice when he or she is an adult and doesn’t need it or want it. Keep your distance.

    And to those women who chose to have children without fathers, make sure that you know what you are giving away when you make that decision. Be prepared for the fight, the tears, the struggles and the joy of single motherhood. It has rewards and disadvantages, just so you know.

  15. If women can choose murder over having a baby, why shouldn’t a man choose “neglect” over financial bondage? Exactly how is it more beneficial to society to allow women to murder babies they don’t want, but harmful to society to allow men to escape the financial burden of the choice the woman makes? Proving exactly who knew or intended what is still a problem, but one the pro-death people seem to not bother with when allowing women to murder their babies.

    It just seems too horrifyingly twisted that we allow murder as “choice” and “privacy” but force men, who are not allowed any choice, to pay for that “choice/privacy” as a “societal necessity”. I’d say NOT MURDERING BABIES would be a much more important societal necessity.

    And then the guy can’t argue there’s an unfair disregard for his choice.

    Sooner or later, the courts are going to have to rule that if equal protection under the law is to have any meaning at all, men must have an equivalent right to opt out of impending parenthood. Either that, or choose openly between women giving up their right to an abortion or a =formal= declaration that men are second-class citizens.

    The double standard has become so brazen now, that it’s become obvious to even the most obtuse.

    Here is the situation… man and woman meet. (At this point they are both equal, they can both say “It was nice meeting you.” and go about their respective ways or they can both move forward with getting to know one another.)

    They are attracted to each other. (Again at this point they are both equally situated. They can both at any time say that this is enough and leave… no harm… no foul.)

    They both decide to have unprotected sex. (They are equal at this point. Unless a rape occurred, she agreed to have sex with him and he agreed to have sex with her. They both made the decision to have unprotected sex.)

    The man ejaculates in the woman and a child is conceived with BOTH of their consent.

    If the man wants the child and the woman wants the child then fine. Everything is equal. Child is born.

    If the man doesn’t want the child and the woman doesn’t want the child then fine. Everything is equal. Child is not born.

    The man chooses what happens to his sperm. The woman chooses when a sperm meets her egg. They BOTH have a choice BEFORE sex. They BOTH have a choice to use protection. They BOTH have equal protection under the law at this point. Everything is equal… equality is what we’re striving for I presume. They BOTH have choices and they both have options equally.

    Here is where the inequity occurs…

    If the man wants the child and the woman doesn’t want the child the woman can:

    1. Legally not even inform the man that she is pregnant.
    2. Legally abort the child.
    3. Legally give the child up for adoption.
    4. Legally take the child to a fire station and leave it.
    5. Legally take the child to a hospital and leave it.

    The man can:

    Well… here the man has NO options where as the woman has 5… not only are there 5 options but each of those 5 options works to the benefit of the woman, not the man and DEFINITELY not the child. That is not equality. This is not equal protection under the law which by the way is guaranteed in the 14th Amendment. BUT that’s how it is. And because the child was gestated in the woman’s body and no man has the right to tell a woman what to do with HER body there is nothing that he can do. I’d be fine with that if all else were equal. However…

    If the man doesn’t want the child and the woman does the woman can:

    1. Legally have the child.

    The man can:

    1. Legally pay child support.

    The man has NO OTHER OPTIONS. The man has NO OTHER CHOICES. How is it defensible that in one situation the woman has 5 options/choices that ALL benefit her yet when that situation is reversed the man has 1 option. AND that 1 option doesn’t work to the benefit of the man at all. Am I missing something here? This is what men aren’t fine with.

    The inequity occurs AFTER conception. They BOTH had the same options before sex. So just as you are telling men to wrap up if they don’t want a baby because after conception you have no options, EQUALITY would dictate that women would be treated the same… you don’t want the baby, woman? Too bad because abortions are illegal. But NO that’s not right… you cannot tell a woman what to do with her body… her body her choice. But see that’s only 2/3 of the story… the whole story is her body, her choice, HIS wallet.

    In essence while women posit that no one can tell them what to do with their bodies and with this I agree, it would seem that the same gender that is so dead set on having control of their bodies would understand that they are in essence forcing men to give up control of their bodies. 20% of the labor of a man’s body is forcibly taken away for a child that he did not want. He is using his body unwillingly for 18 years in the service of something that a woman had the ‘Legal Right’ to abort.

    Equality? I think not. Both men and women are equal BEFORE conception… but there is no equality AFTER conception. That’s the inequity. I’m not looking for ‘fair’… i’m looking for ‘equal’, the same thing that leagues of women for the past 50 years have been clamoring for yet they want to be the only gender that has it. Equal rights under the law. Men have none in the realm of reproduction. Women have the right to terminate all financial responsibility, men have no such right. Give men that right and watch the change that occurs in a generation.

    Here is a thought:

    I wonder how many women in Medical School or Law School previously had sex with someone that they KNEW was no good for them and got pregnant then had an abortion so that they could basically have a Mulligan and refocus on themselves, maybe even on their second abortion… hmmmm. I also wonder how many men are in dead end jobs trying to make ends meet for the same exact error in judgement. I wonder how many men are in prison right now for being desperate because they are forced to use their bodies and knew better yet didn’t do better because of the unwanted pressure? Yet their female counterpart is hustling the system: Welfare, Reduced Housing, Free Education, Food Vouchers etc.

    If we were to remove the financial incentive of having children there will be a HUGE change. Interesting… I wish I could do a poll on the young childless women who are career oriented and ask them if they’d ever had an abortion. I’m sure the results would be startling.

  16. What does the word of God say?

  17. ^^^^@wealthylady EXACTLY!!!!!^^^

  18. All niggers need to be “fixed” at birth, we have way too many that need to be supported with welefare, section 8, heat, gibs me.


  20. Please he made his “choice” when he CHOSE to have sex with her. Each parent is equally responsible for the support and welfare of any child they bring into this world. If he doesn’t want a child, then he should keep it in his pants, get a vasectomy or at least use protection. Anytime a couple has sex, there is a possibility of them conceiving a child, (no birth control is 100%) so, if you make a baby, then you have to raise and support that baby.

    And, men having not ‘reproductive rights’ is far from being anywhere near the reason(s) that some men don’t take responsibility for their own children. ONE reason being, that the Child Support Enforcement in America is so lousy that many of them just get away with not being responsible for their offspring.

  21. The number one reason men shy away from having families isn’t moral or cultural. It’s economic. Even a married couple who are both working full-time are very lucky if they can provide for their child long-term. Men are looking at this situation and seeing a death trap. So are women, but the men can escape more easily. And the child support system can only do so much. Most men would want to spoil their kids and see them become something, even if it’s just an ego trip. But there’s no point chasing him for money he doesn’t have. And taking driver licenses? That’s just nonsense. If you take a truck driver or construction worker’s license, you’re guaranteeing he will never have a dime to give you.

  22. On the sex issue, abstinence is impossible. What’s not impossible is moving away from intercourse as the main event. There are better and less exhausting ways for people to satisfy each other. People can go beyond merely satisfying the sex drive if they understand its evolutionary purpose. Natural selection favors species that reproduce uncontrollably even if it harms individuals or sometimes outstrips their food supply. So a lot of the issues between men and women are problems inherent in human biology (at least among heterosexuals). Males are designed (by natural selection) to deliver their DNA to a woman, then create a safe place for her to raise the child. Women are designed to take that seed and make a new person with it. I’m not saying this is ‘right.’ And a population can also benefit from working individuals who don’t breed. But as animals that’s the basic template for our life cycle. We are in control of how we deal with these instincts, since we are more than our biology. But whatever sex acts best ‘simulate’ our instincts in a safe manner should be considered as methods for cutting the birthrate.

  23. cut it out. I have custody of my daughter and wouldn't dare put her mother on child support. she has 4 other kids and married now and I feel that I don't need or want her money. I don't believe in child support. if there was no child support, women would think twice who they sleep with. child support is the main reason I chose to have one child only. I don't need those problems.

  24. The man chooses when he gets her pregnant. After that its her body her choice.

  25. Plenty of "men" opt-out already.
    -if you do not want to RISK paying child support?
    -then don't get her pregnant.
    *this isn't rocket science

  26. if he didn't want a kid, then he should have taken "PROPER" channels to ensure that he is NOT a father. Be responsible. He had a choice BEFORE he impregnated the woman. Don't cry foul after you hear the P word.

  27. And the double standards abound.

  28. Both parties make the choice, when they decide to engage in sexual intercourse, to acknowledge the possibility of a child; it is, after all, a reproductive act

  29. she chooses to let him have sex. A woman is able to change her mind at any given time. So Unless he raped a woman, then she's just as responsible. The man gets the brute of the responsibility but doesn't get even a fair share of the rights.

  30. Maybe both parties should consider that before they lay down…..

  31. listen here my black people we've been going through this for long time all I want to do is go down and get some help from the gov asst lady get off your lazy ass and work.

  32. "don't get her pregnant" she got herself pregnant because she had the choice to screw or not to screw with or without protection which might have prevented the pregnancy to start with.

  33. I agree in part, but, ultimately it is the woman's choice

  34. I'm sort of bias on this issue. I hate the whole forced child support agenda. I think it totally unfair, because while a broken relationship should end, the non residential parent is penalized until the child finishes college. this means a part of their income is utilized to sustain a separate household, if he's remarried, his current wife's income is considered income in determining child support and other reasons. Why should a current wife pay for children outside of her marriage is beyond me. My husband told me he didn't want me to have children, I wanted children, when the relationship ended, I got training for a new job that paid more money so that I could take care of my kids independently. I think all women should do the same, you want babies, you take care of them. Men are grown, they know what it takes to run a household and take care of children. If they choose not to, so be it. Women need to handle their own and not complain or criticize.

  35. Your point is right Khadija !!!

  36. They call it the

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  39. I think this is a real great post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

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