Child support is a controversial topic that is often credited as one of the catalysts for the creation of the anti-child support part of the growing father’s right movement. The majority of single parents paying child support are men, causing fathers to be more likely to face consequences and penalties for failing to pay support. Approximately $113 billion in unpaid support is owed, leading to noncustodial parents facing wage garnishment, bank account attachments, and even incarceration. As the call for a complete reformation of the support system intensifies, more adults find themselves wondering, “Whom does child support reform really benefit?”
The primary beneficiary of any type of support-related reform are the children on whose behalf money is collected. Disputes over child support payments are often cited as a reason noncustodial parents do not spend more time with their children. Custodial parents also withhold visitation rights from parents who are in arrears with support payment under the erroneous belief that child support and child custody are intertwined. Child support reform allows children a chance to build strong bonds with both parents while making the financial obligation of each adult easier for both parties to understand.
The 1996 Welfare to Work program effectively tied state level child support enforcement to government assistance. Even though only 22% of custodial parents receiving child support have applied for assistance (healthcare, food benefits, etc.), the overhaul led to state governments monitoring and collecting payments on behalf of the custodial parents. These collection methods have gained a reputation for being aggressive, with noncustodial parents facing stiff penalties for everything from clerical errors to delays in implementing automatic income deductions after changing jobs. Support reform helps to ensure payment amounts remain realistic and do more to address errors in a timely manner to avoid adults being punished for mistakes made by the collecting agency.
State and Federal Government
Noncustodial parents are responsible for paying a fee each year to compensate the enforcement agency for the money and manhours spent collecting support payments. Families living in extreme poverty are exempt from paying this fee and if collection attempts are unsuccessful then the fee is not received. The federal government currently subsidizes state level collection activities, providing billions of dollars each year to child support enforcement agencies, and those agencies also receive state government funds to operate. However, the amount being collected currently does not exceed the money that is spent, leading to billions in losses on a federal level and millions in losses on a state level. Child support reform that increases the likelihood of payments being made and reduces the time spent looking for individuals who are wanted for child support evasion can save the government a substantial amount of money each year.
Help with Current Support Issues
If you are currently experiencing support related issues, waiting for reform probably is not an option. The only way to protect your rights is by getting help from an experienced child support attorney who can help you collect funds that are owed or fight against unrealistic payment amounts. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are here to provide you with the help you need. Contact us today and schedule an initial consultation at one of our four Atlanta, Georgia locations.