Child support and the “deadbeat” parent misconception
Many custodial parents in Orange County, California, rely on child support from their ex-spouse to take care of their children’s needs. There are instances, though, when noncustodial parents, for some reason, cannot provide the monthly support for their children.
Too often, parents who cannot meet their child support obligations are labeled “deadbeat” parents. A deadbeat parent is someone who willfully abandons their responsibility to parent his or her child as well as their responsibility to pay child support. This label has been so widely used that often, people miss the part of the definition that being deadbeat is a matter of free choice.
Many divorced parents tagged as deadbeats are willing to pay child support. They also want to be there for their children and ensure that they grow up comfortably. However, reasons, including unemployment and low income may leave a parent no choice but to delay child support payments.
But, non-payment of child support constitutes contempt. The penalties imposed on a divorced parent for not paying child support, such as a jail sentence and driver’s license suspension, can exacerbate the situation.
Child support is an important element in a divorce. The amount of child support is not predefined; a judge indentifies the needs of the child and assigns an amount of support that does not compromise the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, delayed or uncollected child support can result in a financial burden for the custodial parent.
There is a legal way to address issues regarding the collection or payment of child support. It is possible for the parents to resolve the issue amicably. Child support modification, for instance, can help the noncustodial parent if he or she cannot pay child support.
Source: Huffington Post, “The Myth of the ‘Deadbeat Dad’ Label,” Joseph E. Cordell, Feb. 7, 2014