The topic of child support can be a very touchy one for divorced fathers ordered by courts to fork over a large chunk of their earnings. A report issued by Johns Hopkins University has found that fathers who might otherwise be labeled as “deadbeat dads” are actually giving more through in-kind child support.
What is In-Kind Child Support
Simply put, in-kind child support can be summed up as forms of support or giving that’s not required by the courts. It can come in everyday forms, like supplying baby products (diapers, strollers, formula, etc.), supplies for after-school programs, food, and clothing.
In the Johns Hopkins study, it was found that fathers providing in-kind support gave each child items worth about $60 a month.
That’s more per month, per child than they spent on formal support ($53).
Motives for Paying In-Kind Child Support
The Johns Hopkins study focused on 367 lower-income, non-custodial dads.
Dr. Jennifer Kane, one of the researchers, said: “Fathers believed that the most important thing they could do for their children was to deploy their scarce financial resources in ways that demonstrated to their children that they care.”
Dr. Kathryn Edin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins, put it more succinctly by saying, “What we learned is that these dads are purchasing a relationship with their children. They want their kids to look down at their feet and say, ‘My dad cares about me because he bought me these shoes.'”
Not Getting a Fair Shake
Because of the way they give what they give, in-kind support is mostly unacknowledged by government reports or surveys, and the fathers – many of whom have been pushed to the economic brink because of divorce in the first place – risk being mislabeled as “deadbeat dads.”
The findings of the Johns Hopkins study certainly opened the eyes of the researchers.
“The most disadvantaged dads end up looking like they’re completely distanced from their kids but they’re actually giving quite a lot,” said Edin. “I was really surprised by how much these disadvantaged guys are putting all of this thought and what little resources they have into showing their children that they care.”
The Men’s Legal Center: Fans of Great Dads
We applaud divorced dads everywhere who continually show their love and commitment to their children in so many ways.
Because we’re such fans of great dads, we want to make sure they get a fair shake from our legal system.
If you’re a man facing divorce, we urge you to reach out to the experts at The Men’s Legal Center who want what’s best for you.
Call us at 619-234-3838 or send us an email.