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Even well-intentioned dads sometimes have child support problems

Many people in California can relate to those facing serious financial problems. Some of those navigating troubled money issues happen to be divorced dads ordered to pay child support by a family court. Although stereotypes and rumors abound regarding so-called deadbeat dads who simply have no desire to fulfill their financial obligations to their children, the truth is many fathers (and mothers, for that matter) who remain delinquent in their payments make no more than $10,000 annual net income.

In such situations, troubles multiply when the person owing child support falls behind in payments. Interest is added to child support debt, thus creating a vicious snowball effect for those already facing financial difficulties. In fact, some people wind up behind bars because of their inability to pay -- another Catch-22 situation as being in jail further limits one's ability to earn income. Since child support payments cannot be forgiven, those receiving public assistance must repay the county that portion of welfare payments advanced for child support obligations.

Westchester County in New York has created a plan for helping those owing such debt to the county, thus making them better able to meet their child support obligations. Participants agree to take financial management, parenting and career-based classes; in return, a certain percentage of debt owed to the county is forgiven. If they obtain employment and keep their jobs for a certain amount of time, they receive additional debt reduction rewards (after a year, the total amount owed is reduced to $500). While the underlying child support obligation isn't eligible for forgiveness, the idea is that parents may be more able to meet their payments once county debts are satisfied.

Many California parents face money problems from time to time. When such problems affect child support situations, help is available. A family law attorney can advocate on a concerned parent's behalf.

Source: governing.com, "A New Strategy for Collecting Child Support: Debt Forgiveness", J.B. Wogan, June 27, 2017

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