Marc Anthony’s Situation Teaches Us About Our Messed Up Court System
By Caroline Cordell
Marc Anthony, the famous singer and actor, is back in court again fighting his ex-wife on the issue of child support. Right now, Marc Anthony pays a “paltry” $13,000 a month in child support to support his two children.
But, apparently that’s not enough.
His ex-wife, Dayanara Torres, is asking that this number be raised to $113,000 a month. That’s more than twice the amount the average American makes in a year. But, I’ll get to that point later.
Joseph Cordell, founder of divorce law firm Cordell & Cordell, recently wrote an article in the Huffington Post dispelling the myth of the “deadbeat dad.” This article chronicles the struggles of dads to pay child support so exorbitant that it cripples their ability to live their lives.
The essence of that article was that the court system in America does not treat fathers fairly when it comes to child support. Often, they are ordered to pay an amount that they cannot pay.
And when, unsurprisingly, that money is due and they don’t have it, the courts will take away some of his wages, capture his income tax refund, or suspend his driver’s license.
If that still doesn’t make him relinquish his child support money (that he doesn’t have), the courts have the power and will throw him in jail.
What the courts fail to see is that this causes the father-child relationship to disintegrate. Instead of encouraging the father to pay what he can towards his child, or work out a fair system, he is vilified.
The reason I mention this article on Marc Anthony is to highlight the ridiculousness of the courts in even considering his ex-wife’s request. Marc Anthony should not be pitied, because surely he can afford $113,000 a month. But, the problem is deeper than the mere amount of money.
Anthony’s lawyers argued that giving his children $113,000 a month would affect them psychologically, citing examples of psychological problems other celebrity kids had after being raised so exorbitantly. That argument lacks some credibility, but that is not the main problem with that situation.
The problem is that child support is not being looked upon as a way to support the father-child relationship. Instead, oftentimes it is abused.
First, child support is abused because the courts sometimes use child support to treat the fathers as money machines, rather than as caretakers and loving parents.
Secondly, sometimes the spouse uses child support as a way to increase her standard of living. This is what is going on in the Marc Anthony situation. Two children do not require $113,000 to survive monthly. According to experts, the average cost of raising a child (for 17 years) is $241,080. Clearly, $113,000 is not necessary, and is only for the benefit of the mother.
Marc Anthony’s situation teaches us that the courts are not looking at the best interest of the child. Divorce should lead to meaningful father-child relationships, not just checks that come monthly.