Failure to pay child support and fathers' rights

Most people are cognizant of the fact that children deserve not only emotional support, but also financial support from their parents. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children are taken care of. In fact, it is the law that parents provide financially for their children. Generally, non-custodial parents are ordered by the court to pay child support to the custodial parent. Typically, but not necessarily, fathers are required to pay child support.

Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent is required to pay depends on various factors, such as the amount of time that the parent spends with the child. Furthermore, based on the best available information, courts use child support formulas or guidelines to determine the amount. However, circumstances may change and when a non-custodial parent is unable to meet his or her monthly child support obligation for reasons such as the loss of a job or another decrease in income, he or she may suffer the dire consequences for failing to pay child support.

For example, when fathers who are ordered to pay child support are unable to do so, they may face certain penalties and may even end up behind bars. Furthermore, a father who falls behind in child support payments may be reported to credit bureaus. This may directly impact a father's ability to secure personal or business loans, find housing and even employment. Child support arrears may lead to a suspension or revocation of driving privileges, which further complicates a parent's ability to drive to and from any employment.

Clearly, the failure to pay child support has some very serious consequences. No one doubts or questions the fact that it is the responsibility of parents to take care of their children. Reexamining and modifying child support payments, putting a parent unable to pay child support in jail and taking away drivers' licenses are counterproductive measures that may not in the best interest of the child. The good news is that there are options, including work programs, educational programs, and other initiatives that may better help these parents.

Source: Savannah Morning News, "Commentary: A more fatherly approach to child support," Randy Jurado Ertll, Jan. 12, 2014

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