We Need Stronger Child Support Laws

1986 words - 8 pages

The amount of child support cases in arrears would decline if a few things were changed, hopefully providing incentives to pay child support on time and regularly. There are also harsher consequences that could be carried out to prevent future mistakes. There are things being done, but is it enough? As it stands the noncustodial parent can face loss of visitation, probation, and even jail time for none payment of child support. By not enforcing court ordered child support and making examples out of those who are not in compliance, we are sending out a message that child support is more of an option than a legal obligation. Think about the ones who are really suffering here, the children involved.

There are many low-income families who are not receiving court ordered child support simply because they cannot afford the legal representation and court costs to fight for what they are legally entitled to. What should be done to start helping in these cases? The Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division is set up to help parents locate non-custodial parents who have not paid their child support. This is a free service; they also help provide the custodial parent with information regarding government programs including: Medicaid, TANIF, Food Stamps, and WIC. They can help you get health insurance if the non-custodial parent is not covering those expenses. The government help is easy to obtain only requiring information that would be easily obtained like proof of income, household members, SSN, expenses, and other personnel information. Once you have filed a case with them they will send paperwork to fill out, this will consist of; the noncustodial parents full legal name, last known address, last known telephone number, type of car/truck owned (if any), social security number, mother’s maiden name, and any known places they might be staying such as friends and family. If the noncustodial parent is already behind on payments they will investigate as much as they can based on the information you have given to them. However, they will not represent you in court if that is the next step to be taken. You may also apply for legal aid and if your circumstances are right and a court appointed lawyer may be provided. However, this does not mean that you will get a great lawyer or one that is best for your case. The noncustodial parent may get a more experienced lawyer. There are other steps that can be taken at this point which include; hiring a privet investigator, hiring an agency dedicated to acquiring child support, or hiring an attorney to file contempt charges against the noncustodial parent. None of these options are inexpensive and if the custodial parent is already not receiving child support they may have run out of options and money needed to go back to court to file charges.Even if contempt charges are filed, the noncustodial parent must still be arrested so their last known address must be known. If the noncustodial parent has...

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