Why does child support often seem overly burdensome?

Depending on which side of the fence they fall, many parents in Florida struggle to either pay or recover support payments. However, paying and receiving child support are important for a host of reasons. For those who are court-ordered to pay it, fulfilling their obligation will ensure that they don't face additional penalties, which can be far-reaching and include jail. For those who receive child support, the money can mean financial stability for their children, which can directly affect their health and education. However, many noncustodial parents who are ordered to pay child support find themselves financially unable to do so.

Why? One reasons is that a significant portion of these noncustodial parents are below, at or near the poverty line. Unfortunately, those who find themselves in this position often wind up facing child support orders that account for a vast majority of their income. In fact, one study found that those who have a mere income of $10,000 see child support orders that account for 83 percent of their income. This is contrasted to the 11 percent of income that child support orders make up for those who earn $40,000 a year or more.

There may be a number of reasons for the discrepancies. One reason is that child support guidelines may unfairly affect the poor. Another reason is that many noncustodial parents fail to show up for their child support hearings, which result in default orders being entered against them. Other factors contributing to the problem include a lack of child support modifications, orders that make child support retroactive, and noncustodial parents owing child support under multiple court orders.

Even though child support may seem like a crushing financial burden, it's not meant to be. After all, if a noncustodial parent cannot pay the child support obligation owed, then he or she likely won't pay it, which then disadvantages the child. However, in order to secure a fair obligation, noncustodial parents need to show up to court and make strong legal arguments to support their position.

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