The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that one in every three child support dollars that is due goes unpaid; this amounts to $14 billion in unpaid child support to parents in the U.S. in one year. In 2011, fewer than half of the parents that were eligible to receive child support received any. According to the same survey, a quarter of eligible parents did not receive any child support that was due at all.
Most parents had child support agreements through the formal legal process, yet fewer parents asked the government for help concerning child support enforcement. Between 1994 and 2012, the number of parents who sought government help with the collection of child support dropped by a quarter, though little change was shown in the number of parents receiving all of the money owed. One expert notes that some parents are giving up and some view accessing the system as difficult.
Under the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, district attorneys must help parents collect child support. If payments are not made on a child support order, the parent that is failing to make required monthly payments may face the withholding of tax refunds, driver’s or occupational license suspension, the denial of the issuance of a passport or even jail time in extreme situations. Rather than allowing delinquent payments and potential penalties to pile up, paying parents struggling to make monthly payments should seek out options that may be available.
While parents that are entitled to receive child support should understand that there are options available to help ensure child support is received, paying parents experiencing difficulty paying should understand that options, such as child support modifications, may also be available. A family law attorney is able to assist parents in either situation to help find the best solution possible.
Source: The Los Angeles Time, “Billions of dollars in child support go unpaid yearly,” Emily Alpert Reyes, Nov. 20, 2013