Child support is a topic that is often not discussed as a part of stepparenting, but having just raised three children for whom my husband and I were responsible for meeting every need, I can tell you that child support is something that should be discussed more.

In the entire time that my husband had sole custody of his three children, his ex-wife was only ordered to pay $300 per month. $300 per month to help meet the needs of three children’s housing, clothing, food, school necessities and activities. I can promise you, it did not stretch very far.

Add to that the fact that, since the kids’ mom refused her custodial and visitation rights, we had the kids with us 100% of the time and had to pay for the sitters, the entertainment, the vacations…it could lead to a great deal of resentment.

I don’t, however, resent the fact that my husband and I had the financial and emotional responsibility for raising his children. They’ve all become wonderful, amazing people of whom we are both extremely proud.

I do think the issue of child support and how it is calculated should be revisited for all families. How any state can justify any child costing a mere $300 a month has never raised a child!

One of my stepsons is disabled. He has Down syndrome and will require our ongoing care and attention, and possibly live with us, for the rest of his life. We have no problem with that – he is our child and we love him and will provide for him without a moment’s hesitation. How the child support system can tell the other parent, however, that she no longer has any financial responsibility for him is frankly amazing to me, but that is exactly what has happened. Even though Kyle is still attending high school, because he has turned 18, the state that governs his child support says he no longer has a right to it.

I wonder: are there other families struggling because child support payments seem so disproportionate to the cost of actually raising and caring for a child? Do others struggle financially to make ends meet while the non-custodial parent parades through life without a care or cost? It would be interesting to see just how the arbitrary calculations made by child support offices truly affect how we are able to care for our children.

Read Shadra’ s book, Stories From a StepMom, available on Amazon Kindle.