Recently, the ex-wife of Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade has staged a public protest in downtown Chicago with two other women to draw attention to his alleged mistreatment of her and their two children. She has accused him of withholding child support money from her, forcing her into financial difficulty and to struggle to support their two sons. The couple, who were high school sweethearts, were married in 2002, and divorced in 2007. Wade was granted sole custody of their two sons in 2011. His ex-wife accused courts of favoring her husband in the child custody dispute, and of giving him preferential treatment over other fathers who did not pay child support. She also stated that she had a court order for payment from companies that endorsed Wade, but she has not received these payments. It has also been alleged that Wade has refused to pay his ex-wife unless she keeps quiet about the marriage, but she has declined to do so.
This case is an excellent example of the raw emotions that frequently color child support and custody disputes. Courts typically consider the best interests of the child in considering child placement, and consider the financial state of both parents in determining child support payments. This does not prevent disputes over the payment of child support, as is happening between Dwayne Wade and his ex-wife.
Non-payment of child support is a frequent cause of contention between two parties in a divorce. Spouses have the legal right to sue the other for non-payment of child support, and delinquent payers may find their paychecks garnished in order to meet the child support obligations. This would not be an issue for a professional athlete like Dwayne Wade, but for working-class fathers, the diminishment of their income would be a huge concern.
Spouses in a divorce have the legal option to avoid contentious fights concerning child support payments by creating a schedule for payments between them, and making any necessary modifications for changes in employment or income level. While talking to the other spouse in a divorce may be difficult, it is preferable to the other option, a bitter, acrimonious battle over the payment of child support.
Source: International Business Times, “Video: Dwayne Wade’s ex-wife rants on divorce, kids, judges on Chicago streets; Siohvaughn Funches refuses to keep quiet about NBA star ex-husband,” Greg Price, July 21, 2013.