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Taxpayers pay the price of missed child support payments

Florida parents who are owed support for their children understand the frustration and difficulty of missed payments. Lack of financial support can be detrimental to relationships and place a heavy financial burden on a single parent with custody. In some cases, parents have to take multiple jobs in order to stay afloat.

Recent studies have indicated that almost half of the single parents affected by missed payments are the most in need. The Office of Child Support Enforcement estimates that more than $100 billion is owed in missed and unpaid child support. Of that number, nearly half of the amount is owed to taxpayers who are supporting children through public assistance.

When child support payments are not made, and children go on public assistance, payments are required to be made to the government as a reimbursement. However, approximately $53 billion remains owed to the government. The bottom line is that crucial child support payments are not being made, which affects not only single parents but effectively the taxpayers as well. "Deadbeat" parents have become more commonplace and, as illustrated above, are quite costly.

When an ex-spouse or parent fails to pay child support, there are a number of things that a court can do in order to seek payment. The Child Support Enforcement Act allows a district attorney the ability to seek payment through a court order. If the ex-spouse fails to work with the district attorney, a number of penalties can be imposed, including seizure of property, garnishment of wages, suspension of occupational, business or driver's license and withholding tax refunds. As a last resort, a jail sentence may be imposed, but typically it is not utilized because it eliminates the individual's ability to earn an income.

The financial and emotional stresses that accompany a failure to pay child support can be incredibly overwhelming, but parents must know they are not alone. If an ex-spouse or parent ordered to pay child support is not complying, parents have legal rights and options that can help ease the burden.

Source: CNN Money, "Deadbeat parents cost tax payers $53 billion," Steve Hargreaves, Nov. 5, 2012

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