This article explores the question 'Why do fathers resist paying child support?' through interviews with 26 separated or divorced non-residential fathers in Australia. Drawing on Zelizer's typology we argue that the men in this study attempt to define child support as a gift - a payment that emphasizes the power and beneficence of the payer and the obligation of the receiver - but struggle to do so in legal and bureaucratic structures that position its receipt as an entitlement. The tension between child support as a gift and child support as entitlement is informed by gendered power over money, a key element of fathering in traditional and non-traditional family structures.The payment and non-payment of child support is used to reinforce the economic dimensions of fathering identities and define family relationships in remarkably traditional ways.
- Child support
- Non-residential fathers