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Berry's child support request reveals double standard

When it comes to child support, there is an ingrained way of thinking about the payments. Most people think that it is the man who has to pay the woman in the wake of a divorce where children are involved. After all, 60 years ago society dictated that men would work and earn the family's income and women would stay at home and look after the kids and the house.

These stigmas are no longer true, at least in many marriages, which makes the topic of child support more fluid and a more important issue. However, there are still some dynamics going on in the child support world that seem to be anti-women -- and that just isn't right.

For example, take the recent news that actress Halle Berry is looking to have the child support payments that she makes to ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry reduced from $16,000 per month to $3,000. Her argument is made on the grounds that Aubry refuses to look for work and that he is taking advantage of the support payments.

The problem arises with the critique of Berry's petition. Some people are saying that this is what gender equality looks like, and that Berry should just deal with it. There are even people lauding Aubry for his situation.

And yet if it were a man paying a woman -- if the situation were simply reversed -- the critique would be that Berry is abusing her position as the receiving spouse and that Aubry should be entitled to seek a reduction in monthly payments. It's a double standard that smacks of ignorance.

Child support is a very complex issue, and it shouldn't be simplified to such ridiculous arguments. Gender equality is a major topic that certainly plays a role in support payments, but child support needs to be taken on a case by case basis. These are crucial payments that help a child live and allow the spouses to maintain some semblance of their financial life when they were married. If support payments need to be reduced for the betterment of all involved, then it can (and should) be done, regardless of the gender of the parent making the request.

Source: TIME, "Halle Berry's Child-Support Fight: Female Breadwinners Can't Have It Both Ways," Cathy Young, Oct. 20, 2014

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