Help Crack Down on Deadbeat Parents. Let’s make a change to protect our children ❤️
Help Crack Down on Deadbeat Parents. Let’s make a change to protect our children ❤️
Why this petition matters
There are far too many children suffering because their custodial parent isn’t receiving child support. In this economy, it is impossible to raise a child on one (1) income with an average salary. Our innocent children suffer because many times they aren’t able to eat healthy meals, have a safe place to live, or have clothes to wear. And even in smaller ways, though no less important, our children are unable to participate in sports because the parent can’t afford the equipment needed to play. Our children are unable to participate in important social activities like bowling, going to the movies or to an amusement park with their friends because the custodial parent can’t afford it. It certainly has a profound impact when you’re the kid who can never go to birthday parties because you can’t afford to bring a gift. And it seems college is hopeless, since there’s no way most single parents not receiving child support could afford to send our children to college, which would provide our children with better opportunities for a better future.
The October 2021 NCSL article “Procedural Justice: Alternatives to Civil Contempt in Child Support Cases” states that “child support is an important economic support for many families, particularly low income families struggling to achieve financial stability. Yet less than half (43.5%) of custodial parents received the full amount of child support owed according the United States Census Bureau. More than $33 billion in child support went unpaid in 2015…..”. According to NPR.org, there was $113 billion in unpaid child support in 2021, after falling from $117 billion in February of 2020 (this was likely due to the stimulus payments). The acf.hhs.gov website states that the average amount of child support owed to each custodial parent is “about $17,000 each”. This is unacceptable!
The below are changes in our laws that we’re hoping we can make that will help enforce payments from the NC (noncustodial) parents who have the ability to pay, but just don’t feel like it. We understand that many NC parents are really trying but still struggle, so we don’t want to make it more difficult for them. But with our laws today, there is absolutely no incentive to pay child support in full on time, or even to pay at all. There needs to be an incentive to pay and consequences when payment is not made. Even if we get one (1) of these suggested laws passed, it will be a victory! These changes are for the noncustodial parents who “just don’t want to pay”:
o Child support balance due would be taken from the NC parent’s accumulated social security and paid to the custodial parent.
o Add late fees and/or interest to unpaid child support balances. = When an NC parent pays child support late, or doesn’t pay at all, it affects the custodial parent’s ability to pay their bills. Each time a custodial parent is late paying their utilities, rent, mortgage, etc., he/she has to pay late fees. Many times a custodial parent has to take out a loan to catch up on bills, which has interest rates. Why shouldn’t the NC parent have the same consequences? Why should the custodial parent be “punished” and forced to pay more just because the NC parent paid late or not at all?
o If the NC parent is incarcerated, either all or a certain about of their commissary would automatically be taken and given to the custodial parent.
o Elevate failure to pay child support an arresting offense, just as other criminal warrants are processed.
o Provide for more forceful advocates to protect children in similar circumstances.
o Create “wanted posters” of the NC parents. = I saw a “wanted poster” on Facebook that the state of Arizona created to catch a deadbeat dad who couldn’t be found. It was a picture of the father, the amount of child support he owes, his last known location, and information on who to contact if you see him. All states should do this!!
o Create a clearing house where NC parents with a child support capias would be listed. = As of now, if an NC parent with a capias for child support is picked up by police for a criminal matter, the police are NOT notified of the capias. So, they could let that person go free on bail, even though there is a capias out on that person. So basically the only way to bring an NC parent to jail for a capias is if they are already in jail for a criminal matter. Since that person is already in jail for a criminal matter and therefore not working and making money, the magistrate is more likely to reduce the purge to $0.00 and let that person go free. This is unacceptable!
o Courts need to crack down on “failure to appear” / “capias” cases to make sure the NC parent who hasn’t been paying is “caught” and sent to jail within a reasonable time frame. = We can’t wait for the NC parents to break the law and get arrested for a criminal matter in order to be taken in for the capias. We may need to hire more marshals to go pick these deadbeats up and bring them to jail. Right now there is basically only 1 marshal used by New Britain Support Enforcement. During a phone call I had with this marshal, he actually told me that he doesn’t even bother trying to go pick these deadbeats up, because there are too many of them and he makes more money with his private practice. Also unacceptable!!
o If child support hasn’t been paid in full on time each week for a certain amount of time (or a certain amount of money is past due) then the state takes over, making child support payments to the custodial parent, and charging a fee to the NC. When that happens, there is a fee so the NC parent now owes child support to the state, plus they owe the state any fees associated with it, and/or interest they would have to pay to the state. = This would be a great incentive to pay in full on time each week. Again, we understand life happens. If the NC parent is laid off and out of work for a few weeks, we don’t want to make things harder for them. But we need to protect our children. Financial worries plus raising a child on your own are stressful enough. Adding the stress of having to go after an ex to get child support due (filing the contempt case, finding the noncustodial parent to have them served, the paperwork, missed time from work, legal fees, parking fees at the court, time and energy used up by constantly “fighting”) is a huge burden on the custodial parent, which absolutely affects the child. The state has the resources that the custodial parent does not have to fight for that payment.
o Each parent needs to pay their share of the costs of raising a child….period! The average cost to raise a child in Connecticut is $231,000.00. If you divide that by 18 years, then by 52 weeks, it comes out to $246.79 each week. Half of that is $123.40, so the average NC parent should have to pay $123.40 each week (of course some situations could be different). There are some circumstances in which the NC parent truly can’t work due to a disability, but for the majority, if you don’t make enough money to support your child, then you need to find a way to make more money. We as custodial parents do everything we can to make sure we’re able to feed our children, provide shelter for our children, etc., even if that means working 3 jobs. This law could, and should be applied to any state, therefore the amount would differ depending on the average cost to raise a child for that state/country/region.
o When an NC parent has “proven” over time that they can’t care for their child, the NC parent should loose visitation rights for a certain amount of time, or be forced to relinquish their parental rights. = If a custodial parent isn’t providing a certain amount of “support” for their child, such as food, clothing, shelter, etc., then DCF would take that child away from that parent. So if the NC parent isn’t providing a certain amount of support for their child, shouldn’t the same apply to them?
o The state could pay for a private investigator for 2 hours if there is reason to believe the NC parent is working under the table, or if the NC parent can’t be found. = Yes, it would cost the state more at first, but in the long run it would save the state money. When custodial parents aren’t getting child support, they most likely are getting food stamps, energy assistance, and other financial help from the state. If we spend a little more money to enforce child support payments, the state will save money in the long run, as well as provide for a brighter future for our innocent children.
I started this petition because “someone I know” is owed over $30,000.00 for child support, and this is her story: For many years her ex worked for his father under the table to hide his income. Unless she spent thousands on a private investigator to prove this, there was nothing she could do about it. At court her ex claimed he was out of work, so many times the magistrate ordered him to sign up with the job search program, look for work and submit paperwork showing he was looking for work. Each time they would go back to court and the magistrate would ask for this paperwork, her ex would give the magistrate a ridiculous excuse, like “my mom threw it out when she was cleaning”, and the magistrate would just give him another chance…..again and again and again. Finally her ex just stopped showing up for court all together and the magistrate would issue a capias, but the marshal never bothered to go get him and bring him to jail.
Because her ex was raised without personal accountability, over the last few years his drug problems got worse, as well as his criminal behavior. He was arrested many times but released on bail. His parents have bailed him out of jail, paid for lawyers (both for criminal cases and to try to keep him from having to pay child support or see his child regularly) and paid for many other things, but his parents informed her they’d never pay anything towards his child support arrears/purge. About 2 years ago, her ex was arrested for a criminal matter and wasn’t bailed out this time, so they were able to go to court for child support now that they “found him”. So they would go to court each month, and month after month it was continued until around May of 2022 when the magistrate decided to reduce the purge from over nine thousand dollars ($9,000.00) down to two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50), even though the magistrate knew that her ex’s parents added quite a bit of money to his commissary on a regular basis. Her ex paid the $2.50 and the contempt was closed. Obviously $2.50 does NOTHING to help her son….it just gets the case off the magistrate’s desk!! Then she received a notice from Support Enforcement stating that because her ex is still in jail, they had a meeting amongst themselves and decided to modify the amount of child support to $0.00!! That’s when I decided we need to take drastic measures. At this point, it’s too late for “my friend”, since the drug problem and criminal behavior of her ex have gotten so bad, but I want to make a change to help others going through this, and protect the next generations.
Because of the financial struggles that so many single parents have, sending our children to college is hopeless. With the way things are going now (and are only getting worse and worse as time goes on), almost half of the population of teenagers won’t get the chance to go to college, resulting in financial struggles for them as adults for the rest of their lives. But also, with the way things are going, our children will continue to watch their NC parents “get away with” not paying child support, so now these children are learning that they don’t need to be accountable for their actions or to be responsible and so therefore they aren’t learning the necessary morals and tools needed in life. Our children today are greatly impacted by their custodial parents’ absence from their lives because the custodial parents have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This has a huge impact on a child’s life and what kind of adult that child grows up to be. And of course being “abandoned” by a parent (whether it’s financially abandoned or physically) absolutely has a huge effect on the type of person the child grows up to be. So the cycle continues, growing and growing, until….when? When does it stop?
We NEED to do better for our innocent children, and their children, who are our future, and our children’s future. Some of the suggested laws listed above are actually in effect, either in my state of CT or a different state. But judges and magistrates don’t seem to enforce these laws. For example, in my story, the NC parent claimed he wasn’t working, even though he was really working for his father under the table to hide his income. The magistrate ordered the NC parent to go out and look for work. Month after month, when the magistrate asked for the paperwork, the NC parent didn’t have it but the magistrate let him go each time.
Another example of laws existing but not being followed through or enforced; the marshal who was supposed to be out “looking” for the NC parent refused to do so. He told me that if he went to the NC parent’s house, the marshal can only ask the NC parent to come with him and if he refuses, he can’t get physical with him so therefore there’s nothing he can do. The marshal also told me that he is too overworked to go find all these NC parents and it doesn’t pay enough. The marshal told me that he gets paid more from his private business and suggested that I hire him personally as a private marshal, and then he’d go find him. These are the ridiculous excuses coming from EVERYONE involved in child support cases……not just the NC parents, and nobody seems to be helping the custodial parent so that the custodial parent can raise his/her child.
This has to stop!! New laws need to be created and existing laws need to be enforced by EVERYBODY to protect our children. It seems that the outcome of each case depends on the magistrate’s mood that day. The judge’s/magistrate’s mood that day shouldn’t dictate the consequences for breaking the laws. Laws are laws and they need to be followed otherwise consequences need to be given. At the end of the day, both parents need to support their children in so many ways, not just financially, but financial struggles should not exist to the point of causing severe stress in the custodial parent, which can lead to health problems (which is what happened to me), worrying every month how they are going come up with more money so they can pay the rent/mortgage, buy food, buy clothes for the kids, etc. Having that amount of stress in the custodial parents’ lives takes away from being able to support their children in other ways. If we keep letting the NC parents “get away” with not paying their share of what it costs to raise a child, this situation is only going to get worse and worse, and it will results in a huge economic, moral, and mental health crisis, which will be very difficult to come back from.
Every innocent child who comes into this world deserves the same thing; healthy food, a safe place to live, heat in the winter (and even AC in the summer…..especially if you live in a 3rd floor apartment that gets up over 100 degrees in the summer), clothes, education, as well as a parent who is able to show them unconditional love, read to them, take them to the park, and teach them life lessons, without having the financial stress hanging over their heads and making it difficult to do activities with their children.
Let’s work together to protect our children…..our future!!! Please sign the petition.