"Ms. Tompkins is going to get more than fifty cents, I can tell you that." -- Raoul Felder, an "upscale" attorney, referring to a child support case involving rapper 50 Cent
While I have always preferred country music to rap, there is no denying that 50 Cent appears to be just another child support victim in this confused culture of ours.
Now I realize it may sound contradictory to use the word victim in the same sentence as 50 Cent. After all, here is a man by the real name of Curtis Jackson who made over $33 million in the past year. Our culture has a way of getting all excited when a parent (usually the father) is taken to the cleaners by the other parent (usually the mother). It's like a twisted game. And it never really benefits - children.
It's 2007. I just don't understand why this is still the case. Women are properly succeeding in careers and they actually outnumber men enrolled in many levels of higher education. Bravo. More power to whatever gender wants to improve their individual professional life. It's just not fair that fathers (whether they are wealthy rappers or unwealthy waiters) are still viewed as nothing more than ATM cards.
What gets under my skin is when one parent and their attorney want more child support from the other parent based on the simple reality the other parent happens to make a lot of money. Please refer to the quote at the top of this column. Pay attention to the language. Observe that the attorney says the mother, not the child at hand, is "going to get more than 50 cents."
Herein is the problem. And it's a big one. When it comes to child support in America, too often it is about power, revenge and unearned greed. Thank goodness there have been some reforms. In Georgia, the mother's income now comes into play when deciding how much child support a father will pay. Georgians For Family Court Reform deserve an unending stream of kudos. A lot more states need to make this law. And how ironic is it that many child support reforms are spear-headed by second wives - women who see their husband is just getting unfairly reamed because the ex-wife at hand is - angry.
From what I understand, 50 Cent is currently paying $25,000 a month in child support. Reports are that this includes household expenses, whatever that means. Okay, now close your eyes. Focus. Open your eyes. What 4-year-old needs $25,000 a month to live on! Think about it. 50 Cent and Shaniqua Tompkins were not even married for crying out loud. How in the world can a mother not be satisfied knowing her 4-year-old son has $25,000 a month (tax free) to live on? Fair child support - yes. Hidden alimony - no.
Let's back this thing up. It seems child support in this case is not about the child, OK? If Shaniqua was a good mother, and not just after unaccountable money, she would be glad knowing young Marquise is being well taken care of financially. She would also be glad his father loves him and gave him his last name. There's no question, 50 Cent loves his son. Doesn't he have any say about how much money he gives - to his son's mother? Or is this all up to sharks like Shaniqua's "upscale" attorney, and a biased family court? And we all sit back and watch the circus unfold. It's pathetic in this day and age.
When it comes to child support, a sense of fundamental fairness and proportion needs to be a high priority. It is a fact that the more fathers are allowed to be involved in their children's lives as "parents", full child support compliance is at 90 percent or better. And this does not even factor in what the father gives financially and emotionally when he has the children at his home - or out for the day. This also does not factor in the long standing reality that most men want more time with their children.
So, what will come of the closed-door hearings on the 50 Cent child support case? I believe what happens in this case is important, especially to children. Again, it goes back to the height of idiocy: "What in the world is a 4-year-old child going to do with $25,000 a month when his parents were never even married?" I would love to hear Brett Kimmel, the attorney for 50 Cent, ask this. Ask it real hard. It's not enough for him to just say Shaniqua Tompkins is "insatiable" and that "her demands keep escalating." Let's get past the obvious.
It's time for everyone to keep the clear focus on young Marquise Jackson. I'm going to go out on a limb here - he'll be just fine on $25,000 a month. I don't think he is the one who is insatiable or making demands. He just wants his Daddy to continue to be in his life.
Is this really what his mother, Shaniqua Tompkins, wants? If not, it ought to be.
Tony Zizza is a free-lance writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He writes frequently about families and popular culture. Reach Zizza via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.