The latest round of slightly comical bumper stickers reads, “I’d rather be working,” a heartfelt sentiment of many of the nations currently unemployed.
Many of the currently unemployed people have other obligations to deal with besides just paying mortgage, rent, utilities and car payments. They may also have the specter of child support and maintenance dogging their footsteps. This is the point where many cave in and seek reductions in child support payments. The rising numbers of people seeking this kind of relief are staggering and not surprising, given the state of the economy.
Many states have a burgeoning unemployment rate and part of the fallout, aside from a high foreclosure rate, is the significant surge in divorced parents asking the courts to ease the burden of their payments. While the rates are high, they could very well be a whole lot higher and many attorneys are wondering why the numbers aren’t worse than they are right now.
The general perception on the part of most attorneys is that not a lot of people honestly understand that even though the court ordered they pay child support, that the court doesn’t have any idea whether they are still working or not. This means the person forking over the support payments has to take the initiative themselves to get the ball rolling.
Many people, however, are very reluctant to do this because of the cost of filing (up to $500). On the other hand, in most states those who are on unemployment benefits are finding that if they are obligated to pay child support, it’s coming out of their unemployment benefits. This of course leaves them less money to live on and the vicious cycle continues.
The other likely reason for fewer people filing for child support relief is that many of the people who did lose their jobs have held them for years and don’t have a clue what they need to do when faced with a job loss. Reducing their child support payments is one of the last things they seem to find time for while in the process of trying to hold their life together. Unfortunately as time passes, any money set aside is spent, payments fall behind, driver’s licenses get suspended and in some cases, jail time is imposed.
While this is not a satisfactory solution to collecting child support payments, given the very nature of the adversarial system, it seems to be the only one that works – even though no one may wring blood from a stone. Not only is the person who pays child support in a bind, the person who receives it is either living on a whole lot less or just about nothing at all, trying to provide the basics, health care, shelter and food.
It’s pretty much a given that those deadbeat dads and moms who deliberately avoid paying child support really do need to be taken to task. Interestingly enough, many of the people not living up to their responsibilities are earning poverty level wages. Those who do run must be held accountable, of course, as should custodial mothers who squander funds or ignore a father’s right to parenting time.
It’s obvious that many in this vicious bind need support from the legal system and the courts. Attorneys, of course, have they own way of helping in situations like this and if a person is facing extreme difficulties living up to their child support obligations, it’s best to consult with a skilled family law practitioner and find out what other solutions are available to resolve the situation.
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