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Unpaid Child Support Payments

by Daddy.com
 Unpaid child support payments in the U.S total over $100 billion, and point out the need for reforms to the laws that govern the growing problem in the U.S. today.

The trend of single parenting has been growing steadily in the U.S. since the mid-70’s when no-fault divorce laws were widely adopted across the country and the rapid rise of the women’s movement began assisting single mothers to make it a bit easier to raise children without a man in the home. However, parents who fail to support their children financially come in both sexes today and it not just the men who fail to meet their familial obligations. Only about 60% of parents behind on their payments ever pay up and the unpaid child support bills from both sexes of broke parents in this country have recently reached staggering proportions. The tab ultimately falls in the lap of the American taxpayers who are forced to come up with over $53 billion a year when the kids rack up the bills on public welfare assistance.

Aside from the annual costs of assisting children from single parent homes, the total cost of public assistance programs to cover unpaid child support payments is now well over $100 billion. Nearly half (49%) of the total money owed to the federal government for subsidy welfare programs to help kids comes directly as a result of the dads and moms who can’t make their child support payments. The statistics show that an average of 17% of a person's income is used for child support payments. When financial problems arise and the payments are not made on time or not made at all, it hits the single parents the hardest as about 45% their total income usually depends on those missing child support payments. The fact 41% of those single parents are currently living below the poverty line in the U.S. today just makes the burdens even more financially crippling.

Fairly or unfairly, the millions of American fathers who don’t meet their child support obligations have earned the moniker “deadbeat dads” because they currently owe billions in back child-support payments. Unfortunately for those dads, the payments usually do not go to the custodial parents or even to their children, but instead are collected by a tangle of federal, state and county agencies that have virtually unlimited collection powers. Compounding the problem is the fact that the laws do not fully consider a father’s ability to make his payments and when child-support orders are initially set up, they are usually “imputed,” meaning the court will determine the amount a father should be able to pay without considering their actual income. The tragic result is that fathers are often ordered to pay a lot more than they can afford or even earn in many cases because the statistics show that 70% of the back child support nationwide is now owed by fathers who earn less then $10,000 a year. Just because the court feels a man should be able to pay thousands of dollars a year in child support doesn’t mean a man actually earns enough to make those payments.

When the payments are not made, the many various different government agencies can seize assets, terminate careers, push down credit ratings, revoke licenses, garnish wages and force employers to enroll children in health plans they may not even be able to use. The fact that a fairly large percentage of the non-paying fathers are doing time in prison just adds more the pile of unpaid support payments that the taxpayers have to cover. Beyond the deadbeat dads behind bars and with no sources of income, the situation is bad for all single parents who do not get the child support payments they are owed and it points out the need for some real reforms to those laws that currently govern the growing problem in the U.S. today.

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