Penalties for Not Paying Child Support: Are They Harsh Enough?

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

The things we could all say about parents who don't pay child support. I think we could all go on and on for hours and hours about how we feel about this and what we feel should be done. When it comes down to it though, we really have no say.

Most parental parents don't even realize it but when the other parent isn't paying child support and neither parent has taken any legal action and the child remains equal to both parents... the non custodial parent still has equal rights to the child. You have to go to court and take legal action in order for the rights to be limited or taken away from the non custodial parent.

This is insain. Why should a parent who doesn't see thier child and doesn't pay a dime for that childs needs have any say in the childs life? It is morally wrong. It takes two people to have a child and two to take care of it. I don't say this because I have an ex partner who doesn't do anything for his child and never has but because I am a single mother fighting tooth and nail to provide for my child and give him the education and future he deserves while the "father" is out at bars, and working under the table and having no worries in the world.

Usually, licenses are pulled from the non custodial parent and sometimes court orders to pay are in place. Does this really take an effect? I don't think so. They find rides from other people or drive carefully with no license. It is almost like they are getting away with it and no actions are in place for this. How can one parent now a days pay for a child alone and put them through college or even get them their first car? It is so expensive to just take care of yourself let alone a child as well.

I think that if more parents spoke up and took some kind of legal actions on this and actually fought for different rights that this could turn in our childrens favor. It is just not right to have a child and then walk away. This alone has caused so many emotional and mental problems in children. It is a proven fact that children really suffer from this.

I feel that both parents should equally have to pay for that child and spend time with that child until the child is a grown adult and makes their owns choices. Raising your children should never been an option! If one
or both parents cannot or will not equally support that child in all aspects then their should be a penalty for it. They should suffer just as that child does. No money, no clothes, no role model, no support, lack of education, etc. Anything that a child looses out on or lacks due to this immature behavior, that parent or parents should loose as well.

I cannot believe that a person can have a child and walk away like it never happened and never be punished for it. I cannot believe that it is even allowed. Taking care of your responsibility, your child, should be a law. I think it is sad to have to label it as a "law" but there are just way to many people that can just walk away and pretend it never happened.

People get thrown in jail for years on a daily basis for doing or selling drugs, murder, fraud etc. But walk away scott free from abandoning thier child. I don't think the punishment for this is great enough and that is why it is so common and happening more and more everyday. Because they can, its ok to do this, you don't get in trouble for this, it's a common thing. I say its rediculous and insain that this is allowed. Not only is it hard on the parent taking responsibility but it's hard on the child growing up and sometimes even after their grown.

We need to fight to make this happen. We need to stand up for our children and what is right. This needs to be illegal just as the drugs, and driving with no seat belt, and fraud, and purgery, etc. Leaving your child is to in my eyes and it should be in everyone elses as well. Until it is, one or both of the parents will continue to walk away everyday.

Statistics show that 75% of children who grew up with only one parent, have children who only grow up with one parent. We need to put a stop to it now or no one ever will.


Jackie - posted on 03/30/2010




I have STRONG feelings about not trying to offend, and apologies now if I do.

OK, I can agree on some of this stuff. Yes having 2 role models is important sure, and yes supporting your child is important also. SO on a broad spectrum i'll buy your "death to the ex" campaign....b/c there are parents out there who go out of their way to screw the other one through working for cash etc and claiming they have no income to take.

And I believe your 75% statistic is real, but I don't buy into using it as an excuse. If you want to do something differently you can. My parents were divorced...doesn't mean I will be. Might mean I need to work a little harder at it, but I just don't believe in leaning on statistics as an excuse. Anyone can go against the tide of they put in the extra effort....assuming (negative) history repeats is just saying "go ahead, be lazy and don't challenge anything or push yourself"

But I can also speak from the other side of the spectrum where the useless white trash mother doesn't report all of her income for the sole purpose of soaking more money out of her ex (my husband). So now there's more money coming out of my checking account every single week....b/c she was doing the very thing you are condemning...screwing the system so she can sit on her ass and work 2 days a week instead of getting a real job and supporting her child the way the rest of us do. This is FAR from a 1 way street. There should be just as severe penalties on a mother doing that as a father who is not paying (or only paying partial).

Don't sit around and blame the father on your (not you specifically, any mother abusing the system is who i'm referring to) problems, my parents were divorced as I stated and my mother got next to no child support my entire life...but she didn't drag it through the court system wasting more time, money, and effort. She got an education, got a job, and supported us on her own. Not saying that was ideal either, of course we all want to see the support paid....but there needs to be ALOT more accountability in how its calculated and handled. I can tell you for a fact, that the formulas they use screw the father and help the mother.

Basically, short answer is yes the true "deadbeats" should have consequences, but so shouldn't the mothers who are "using" the system maybe in a different way but for the same effect!

Michael - posted on 08/09/2012




It is nice to see that there are reasonable women...very strong and well thought out ideas you put forth, But I am willing to bet that about 80% or more of the women who come onto this site do NOT agree with you. I agree that both parents should love, support and contribute to their child's lives, but the system actually works to put a wedge between parents and their children often times, and creates more problems than anything else. The ones who suffer most are the children, but a lot of well meaning, caring dad's get destroyed by the system, due to a societal misconcetion based on the bad behaviour of a few. What we don't see so often is the bad behaviour of some of the mothers. I honeslty believe the gender bias is skewed and hurtful due to disproportionate reporting of the events in people's lives based on gender. Thank you for your thoughts.

Brandy - posted on 03/31/2010




Where I live in Canada, if you don't pay, they contact your employer and take it out of your paycheck. And they don't tell you about it before they do it. They did it to my friend's boyfriend when he missed a payment and they ended up not paying rent or buying groceries that month and they have a child too. I think there should definately be penalties but I'm not sure what kind of penalties I would agree with. As for the alimony thing (somebody else mentioned it above), I don't think alimony should exist. I think when a couple splits, for whatever reason, they should sit down, with lawyers if necessary, decide who gets what and that's it. Why should somebody have to pay for their ex to live. Child support, yes. Alimony, no. Here, there is housing subsidy for people who can't work because they have children, there is a government program to pay for childcare if you choose to work and there are 2 seperate monthly benefits given to mothers (single or not) based on income so why should he have to pay more than his monthly child support?

[deleted account]

Child support and visitation are 2 seperate issues here too and while I think that makes sense to a point... it's like you said, there are those that won't work (or work under the table) so that they don't have to pay. To me it's not about the money. Yes, the money would be nice since if my ex were paying child support every month we wouldn't have to be receiving cash assistance from the state right now. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to be able to work enough to support myself and 3 kids w/out any assistance over here. But... it isn't about the money. My ex has spoken to his kids 5 times in 2 months when he has a scheduled call day/time twice a week. NO excuse for that. His son's 2nd bday was on Saturday. Kid didn't get a call, present, card, ANYTHING. While my ex is involved on occasion... it's only when it's convenient for him yet everytime we have to go to court he's still trying all kinds of dirty tricks and lies to get custody.

[deleted account]

They definitely need stiffer penalties towards deadbeats.

My friend met a homeless guy in CA who was homeless because he was supporting his kids. He didn't care about being homeless. All he cares about are his kids. Then you have my ex who doesn't pay any child support and flat out told the judge that he will never pay any child support whether he can afford it or not and NO ONE cares. In fact he was granted MORE visitation that same day. Now, I have never tried to keep my ex from coming to see his kids, but it is MY job to protect them and the judge granted the visitation that I have fought from the beginning (going where my ex lives) because I am really, really concerned about the environment (his g/f and him have gotten in physical fights among other issues)... and NO ONE in the legal system cares. Yeah, my lawyer is 'trying' to help.... My ex doesn't even HAVE a lawyer.

Sorry, I'm in a bad spot at the moment and the timing of this debate is just a little too ironic for my current emotional state....

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Michael - posted on 08/09/2012




I agree...I tried to get a support order changed when I found myself unemployed several years ago. My ex didn't want to lose out on the extra money, even though we had a 50/50 shared arrangement and she and her husband had a combined income of around $150000 per year. I as a contractor did not qualify for emplyment insurance and could not even get social assistance (all documented for various reasons I could explain if required). My ex was in a senior position in the Supreme Court and her dinner geuests are often supreme court judges. Due to her years of experience within the system, she dragged out the process for almost a full year and we went to trial. Because the order couldn't be changed until the conclusion of the trial, I immediately went into arrears. My accounts were frozen and my driver's license threatened. When I contacted Support Enforcemnt they acted like they cared, but stated 'there is nothing we can do. We have a mandate to retrieve the funds from you by whatever means possible until the order is changed.' When I explained that it was being dragged out,and a trial was looking likely, they said 'Can you borrow it, or re-finance your house, etc?' I went to the banks who all turned me down and got letters...didn't make any difference. Then they revoked my license, making it even more difficult to find a job. My ex accused of intentional unemployment!!! I ended up borrowing thousands of dollar (more) from my family, and by the time we were going to trial I had found a job for $40000 a year. My ex was making around $55000 a year at the time and her husband around $100000, which doesn't count (I understand this, just stating it to show that she was in a very positive financail position, while I was NOT). I saw their financials and they had a load of equity in their house and practically no debt. I had already re-financed my house to pay down debt a year earlier including lawyers fees, and had credit card and line of credit debt in the neighbourhood of $80000, not counting my mortgage, light and heat, groceries and debt to my famiy. My sister had just loaned me more money to find a new lawyer as my last one had quit due to an excessive work load, and he said early on after looking at my financials 'You should apply for legal aid as you would qualify'. So I did, and when they saw my income and expenses, they filled out the forms and said 'We'll have an answer tomorrow but you should certainly qualify'. I said 'That's great because my ex, although she is wealthy has decided to self represent'. The woman then looked at me and said , 'Uh oh, we can't help you as our policy is not to offer representation if the other party is self represented'. I nearly fell over. So I went to trial on borrowed money, spent almost $30000, and ended up having to pay an ADDITIONAL 30000 cash to my ex, after giving her almost $1500 a month for a year prior to that. Of course all the money I paid was after tax (so add 35% or so to the total figures), and it is tax free to the recipient). And to top it all off, even though she was making almost 50% more than me, the judge (a woman, sorry) said that the court would continue to demand close to $400 a month from me to my ex, even though they agreed with our incomes, as 'she was used to receiving support'. I appealed and took a job working away on a 50/50 rotation. To make matters worse, I found out my oldest child wasn't even mine. The judge completely dismissed this during the trial as irrelevant, siting locus parentis, even though the ex admitted I was not the father (I had DNA evidence). I said I only wanted to stop paying her, but would continue to support the child on my own. Didn't matter. So ladies, you really can have your cake and eat it too. If you want to now how to do it, I can certainly tell you how my ex did it (and continues to do it) to me. In Canada, it's actually quite easy. But please stop lying to your kids about who their father's are. Society obviously couldn't care less about the dads, or the 2 duped families, but think of the kids. However if you choose to do so (lie), rest assured the Canadian Justice system will not only NOT punish, but will reward you with the duped dad's cash. These cases are on the public record so go and read the trial's all there in black and white. There is a LOT more to my ongoing saga, but I think you get the gist.

[deleted account]

I agree that "deadbeat" parents should face harsher punnishment for not paying child support. It's sick and wrong that some parents can just up and leave their child, not pay a darn thing to help raise the child, and STILL get to see the child.

BUT, in CA at least, custody and child support are two SEPARATE issues and one does not affect the other. A non-custodial parent does not have to pay less if they see the child more and they do not have to pay more if the see the child less. Also, if a non-custodial parent does NOT pay, they STILL get their visitation rights. BUT, a parent can also be on the opposite end of the spectrum where they DO pay and the custodial parent witholds visitation (yes, it does happen).

In CA, child support is based on the income of both parties. The non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay up to a certain percentage (not sure exactly what though), but if the custodial parent makes a certain amount, then the judge can order the child support to be less than the average percentage. I hope that made sense...

I know al this because my oldest daughter's biological mother lives over 2600 miles away from us, only sees our daughter for 2 weeks every 3 months, and is court ordered to pay just $100 per month (we set that amount, the court didn't. If the court had it would be more like around $400 per month). The bio mom has never paid one penny of that child support, yet we still have to oblige by the custody agreement and let her come get our daughter for her 2 weeks every 3 months. Now, my case may be a bit different from what some of you guys are talking about because our daughter's bio mom truly has little to no money (she's also divorcing her meal ticket... I mean husband...), so paying for her is a fairly big deal. BUT, I do think that she should step up and get a decent job so she could send the child support every month. I believe that in the bio mom's case it's not a matter of "I can't pay so I won't" rather it's "I won't work so I can't pay." I think THOSE cases should be looked at on a case by case basis. If it's decided that a person isn't working so they won't have to pay, then of course I think they SHOULD be legally prosecuted. But is the government ever going to do that? I doubt it...

Rosie - posted on 03/30/2010




the only thing that has ever happened to grants dad was he lost his license and had to take a class on how to get a job. he had already lost it for speeding when i was pregnant , and that was the 3rd time, so i'm pretty sure that doesn't affect him to much.and honestly, how did i end up with a guy that had to take a class on how to get a job?!! what a fucking idiotic 20 year old i was.

i've had people tell me if he's in jail, how is he going to work to pay you any money? well, he's not giving me any money now, so he just gets to create a child, leave, see him less times than he has fingers on one hand, only pay child support when he got a job for 2 months, and the rest of the time work under the table or not work at all (i don't know since i havn't talked to him in 10 years) so he doesn't have to pay any money again. THROW HIS SORRY ASS IN JAIL! he should've been in jail years ago. i'm owed 10's of thousand of dollars, m son is going to grow up knowing his dad didn't give a shit about him, and the man broke the law. grrrrrrrrrr!!!

last october my husband adopted grant, and leo (his bio-dad) never batted an eye. in fact, it was so fabulous for him i even got to talk to him for the first time in 10 years, and found out where he lived. he was beyond excited to not be legally obligated to pay child support anymore-not that it's any different than it was before. he was almost foaming at the mouth at the chance to get rid of grant. i think that's what bothers me the most about men like leo. my experience has made me realize that it's not the money that matters to me (it would be nice, i won't lie) but if he was a part of his child's life and actually gave a damn i wouldn't be half as angry as i am. if i got money, but the situation was still the same where he didn't see him, i'd still have to explain to my son why his father abandoned him. if he was there for him, but didn't pay support my son wouldn't have to ask why his dad abandoned him-that's what matters to me.

LaCi - posted on 03/30/2010




I also think the other parents finances need to be taken into consideration. After a bad divorce I knew a man who had to pay so much to his wife in alimony and child support that he had no money left after paying insurance. You can't take so much money from someone that they can't even support themselves. Personal opinion. Maybe it should be based on a percentage of income, I'm not sure how they figure these unreasonable numbers currently.

I do not believe that a parent who basically abandons a child, never sees them, and never pays for anything should have any say in the child's life. Never participating, IMO, means you forfeit your involvement as a parent.

I also think women sometimes abuse fathers buy forcing them out of a child's life for whatever silly reason when the father does actually want to be there. Many women say if the dad doesn't fork over money he can't see his kid, children are not commodities. Just another aspect of parents using children to get back at one another.

At the same time, I do think there is somewhat more responsibility on the woman in certain cases. when I decided I was having my son, I told his father if he wanted out to leave. No strings attached. He couldn't control my decision to have our son, I took that into my own hands although he was very supportive. I had always said if I somehow ended up pregnant I wouldn't have the baby, and I meant it! until day 3 of knowing I was pregnant. So if he hadn't wanted a part in it I would have expected nothing from him. I don't think because you had sex you are necessarily obligated to pay for the rest of your life. Of course this is only some cases, doesn't include parents who make decisions together, parents who divorce, so on, and these agreements should be made before birth so all boundaries and obligations are clearly defined.

Jackie - posted on 03/30/2010



54 more thing is I don't think we should be trying to have the child support debate in teh same conversation as the having 2 role models debate. You could have a father who truly has no money but is a wonderful influence on a child....and you could have the father who pays 10x what the mother actually needs due to the screwed up formulas, but never sees the kid therefore having no influence at all....all I'm saying is they are not even close to 1 in the same.

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