59% of Custodial Parents Are Shortchanged or Not Paid At All
NEW YORK, January 24, 2012 – Lawyers.comSM, a leading legal website from LexisNexis® for consumers and small business owners, today published the first in a four-part series of articles highlighting systemic failures in enforcing collection of court-ordered child support. The series, titled “America’s Child Support Scandal,” appears on the Lawyers.com blog, a top online destination for practical analysis of consumer legal news.
“The failure to pay child support in America is a national disgrace,” said editor-in-chief Larry Bodine, who commissioned the series. “The people being harmed are the most vulnerable and least able to take care of themselves - the millions of children whose best interests were supposed to be served through court-ordered child support payments.”
Written by Jennifer King and Aaron Kase, the series focuses on interviews with two women: Gabrielle, a separated mother of two in Brooklyn, whose ex-husband owes her more than $20,000, and Kendra of Washington state, whose ex-husband owes her $70,000. Both mothers work and take care of their children, leaving little time or money left to pursue their former husbands. The ex-spouses, meanwhile, allegedly receive “under the table” payment for their work and have gotten rid of their physical assets in order to make collection nearly impossible.
59% of custodial parents do not receive some or all of the payments they are owed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This shocking fact means that there are nearly 3.5 million custodial parents who are not receiving rightfully owed payments to help provide their children with food, shelter, medical expenses and child care. Most parents awarded child support will never see any payments or will be shortchanged, despite numerous government and legal methods designed to collect it.
Typical collection methods such as wage garnishment, interception of tax refunds, liens on property, forced sale of assets, suspension of drivers and professional licenses, and revocation of passports have proven insufficient. As a result, many states have resorted to arresting deadbeat parents in large roundups and maintaining “most wanted” lists.
Efforts to solve the problem in Congress have been stalled in committee. “It’s up to America’s lawyers to step in and find a solution,” Bodine said. “Failures in the existing child support system have a devastating effect on young families everywhere.”