ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana. According to the New York Times, many states use the threat of jail time to force fathers to pay child support. Yet, the unintended consequences of these laws may be that they make it more difficult for these fathers to get back on their feet, get the jobs they need to pay for their children’s needs, and result in fathers not being present in their children’s lives.
While jail time can be effective when fathers can pay but refuse to do so, jail time can actually lead to a cycle of unemployment, debt, and jail for fathers who would pay, but simply cannot pay due to poverty. According to the New York Times, some child support orders may, in fact, exceed a parent’s ability to pay. The state has immense powers when it comes to collecting child support. The state can take part of your paycheck, part of your tax refund, and even suspend your driver’s license or professional license.
Parents who are jailed for not paying child support may leave jail with an immense child support bill that they have little hope of paying, only to get thrown back in jail when they don’t pay the bill by the deadline. The unintended consequences of this are broken families and children who do not have a relationship with their fathers. While the popular image of the deadbeat dad is one of a father who lives lavishly while his children suffer, the reality is that 70% of unpaid child support is owed by individuals who make less than $10,000 a year.
If you’re concerned about how much child support you’ll owe, or if you’re facing a child custody battle, it is important to seek the advice of an Alexandria, Louisiana child support lawyer. The Jones Law Firm is a child custody lawyer who can assist you with your questions about child custody or child support. Determining proper child support awards is crucial for families facing child custody issues.
Sadly, many mothers who are owed child support from destitute fathers when asked, explain that they understand that the men pay what they can, but what they can pay may not meet the state’s minimum standards. One woman, writing to the New York Times, explained that she had to go to court to forgive the $38,750 child support bill her children’s father owed, so that the father could travel to see his children. She explained that the state didn’t count other benefits the father had provided for his children, such as free childcare, help with home repairs, and haircuts. In order to stop the arrest warrant on the child’s father, the woman decided to forgive the father’s child support bill.
Until the law begins to differentiate between fathers who refuse to pay and those who are unable to pay, parents should be aware of their legal rights. If you’re concerned about incarceration for failure to pay child support, or about the incarceration of your child’s father, you may have options. Contact the Jones Law Firm in Alexandria LA today to learn more.