Alimony for kids.

Divorcing your parents: it's something every kid has dreamed of. A marriage is something heterosexuals (so far) enter into. It's an odd sort of contract to stick together forever unless you don't. If you don't, unless you had some sort of pre-nuptial agreement, and there is a financially dependent relationship between you, you will either end up paying alimony or having alimony paid to you.

Being a child of parents is, as many a tantrum-throwing child has said, not something any kid chooses. Yet apparently parents are under no financial obligation to the kids nobody else asked them to bring into the world. That is, unless the kids are still attached to an ex-spouse. Then there would be "child support."

But if the same kid is kicked out or chooses to leave a bad situation, they are not entitled to any cash in the eyes of the law. This is wrong.

I don't give a fuck about any bullshit about preserving the family. Would you ask a married person to stay with a mentally or physically abusive spouse? No. So why force a kid who could be emancipated to stay with the dog and bitch who whelped him? I just don't see any difference between divorcing a rotten spouse and divorcing a rotten parent.

Parents who disown their kids should be brought to bear financially and also should be subjected to the same public humiliation as deadbeat dads and moms are today.

Nobody forgets what they once were quicker than adults. Kids have no rights in the supposedly democratic United States. Only those who already have their rights can grant them. What happened to the minor threat we were yesteryear, to our swearing never to forget?

Until such enlightenment happens, here's some suggestions for those disowned by their parents. These ideas are untried and unproven by me, but give them a shot. Try to get your parents' friends, your aunts and uncles, and your parents' co-workers on your side. Let your parents feel some peer pressure. If they're not members of some totally ghoulish religion but rather a more moderate one, talk to their minister. If living with them is not a desirable possibility, try to arrange some means of them providing support while you live elsewhere. If you haven't been disowned yet, but think financial abandonment is a future possibility, start saving your money . Not starving in the future is more important than that new CD.

Stop giving your money to your parents to deposit in a joint account. Open your own bank account and start taking financial responsibility for your own future.

There is a frightening flipside to this: do kids have a financial responsibility to their parents? Just ask Macaulay Culkin.


Several people have sent me email asking for more information on the subject. Here's something based on email I've sent out. I'm not an expert in this area, so I'd suggest seeking advice from more knowledgeable people, including people who have been emancipated or had guardians appointed.

Here's an article about emancipation.

I think that actual laws would vary from state to state. In California (where I live, and where I've done a bit of research about it - though I'm far from an expert on the subject) there is something called Emancipation. However, that may not be the way to go, as it actually REMOVES parents' financial obligation to their children. It works ok if you're a rich child actor like Macaulay Culkin or something, but otherwise, it may be better to look at other options like foster care. See this article by a woman who was emancipated but feels that it was not ideal: emancipation op. ed. It seems like it would be a good idea to talk to someone who's been emancipated and see what they say about it.

I've seen stuff that says that parents are legally obligated to provide financial support to children until they are 18, but that not all child advocates know this information.

An alternative would be getting a court to appoint a different guardian for you. Your parents would still be obligated to financially support you, but your parents would have no other authority. You could choose the adult to be your guardian. Here's a web page from Nolo Press that discusses guardians. Nolo publishes books about legal matters. http://www.nolo.com/encyclopedia/kid_ency.html

Here's the legal stuff about California law http://www.divorcesource.com/CA/CODE/division10_12.shtml Section 7000 and after is about emancipation of minors. Whatever your state is, the laws may vary, but there's probably someplace online (like the state legislature's web site) where you could research the laws.

Here's a webpage with some questions and answers from a group based in California.

You might want to talk to a lawyer who deals with family law stuff like divorces, since they would probably be familiar with what your local law is.

Here's a state by state guide to emancipation laws.

Aside from all the legal stuff, you might try suggesting to your parents that you'd like to try seeing a family therapist with them to try to resolve issues. It would probably be better if you looked for a therapist yourself who'd be sympathetic to your point of view rather than just let them pick one. You might want to go on your own first to build a rapport. If the first one you go to doesn't work out, you can always try another.

If you're looking for advice for queer or questioning youth, the Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (LYRIC) Youth Talkline in San Francisco number is 415.863.3636 Outside 415 area code: 1.800.246.PRIDE. I'd also suggest the soc.support.youth.lesbian-gay-bi newsgroup.

The Point Foundation offers scholarships to LGBT students.

Good luck...

Larry-bob
larrybob@gmail.com
12/6/97


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