At the dissolution of a marriage, though the marriage has been broken up, there are still many details that must be resolved. Everything from dividing up the assets to child custody arrangements must be dealt with before each spouse can go on to live separate lives. Each parent, as a result of their relationship with the child from the marriage, has a duty to support the child in aspects of the child’s life such as food, clothing, a home, education, and the provision of the mental, emotional, and physical needs of the child. This is what child support is geared toward, whereby the custodial parent is provided with the financial resources to raise the child. The idea is that but for the divorce, the child would have received the support from both parents as a result of the marriage.
State Mechanisms to Capture Child Support
All states have some mechanism by which they may be able to get the child support payments of the non-paying parent. If a parent is not paying his/her child support, usually the state may intervene on behalf of the child and the custodial parent to ensure that there is some way by which the non-paying parent will provide financial support for the child. Sometimes this may be through garnishment of wages, whereby the state orders the parent’s employer to take out of the salary the necessary amount to be paid to the child.
The Methods to Gain Child Support from Unwilling Payers
The system, though set up to find ways to garnish the money from the non-paying parent to provide the support to the child, is not always successful, leaving the state to devise other ways by which to punish parents who do not support their children. The state may do so by seizing bank deposits or by suspending driver’s licenses, or sometimes states have a policy of forcing non-payers to spend time in jail.
The Issue Surrounding the Impoverished Parent
The problem, many advocates state, is that sometimes parents are truly destitute, are unable to pay child support, and spend repeated stints in prison, only to be released, be given a short amount of time to find a large sum of money, and then sent back to jail when they fail. What exacerbates the situation is that in a 2007 study published by the Urban Institute, it was demonstrated that 70 percent of parents in nine states who owed child support debt reported an income that was less than $10,000 a year. On average, these child-support non-payers were expected to pay almost 83 percent of their income to child support, with that percentage declining in the higher income brackets.
The Supreme Court has attempted in a 2011 ruling to ameliorate this situation by deciding that those defendants who have not paid child support may not be sent to jail without a finding that they have the ability to pay, thus limiting the attacks on men and women who are unable to support themselves, let alone a child. However, there is still a lag in the effect that this ruling has on those who are unable to pay child support. It will be a matter of time to see how states and their strategies will change over time.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County
Child support and its on-time payments is a critical issue for newly-divorced parents. If your ex-spouse is not paying your child’s support, it is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
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