Illinois parents may be interested to know that more than $100 billion is due in unpaid child support payments. Almost half of this amount is paid by public assistance programs. If parents are not able to financially support their children, then their children must go on public welfare assistance. This leads custodial parents and taxpayers to pay the bills owed. Parents who do not pay child support cost taxpayers approximately $53 billion in a year.
The National Women’s Law Center reports that women represent approximately 82 percent of custodial parents. For poor custodial mothers, 45 percent of their income represents child support payments, and 41 percent of these single-mother families live below the poverty line. Moreover, only 60 percent of total child support payments are paid.
Obviously, if one is unemployed or if the couple has multiple children, then the back payment amount grows rapidly. In some cases, the courts order impractically high child custody payments, which quickly become impossible to pay. At times, the courts do not consider genuine cases in which one cannot pay because of unemployment or because the non-custodial parent is in prison.
In the end, “deadbeat” parents have cost taxpayers billions. Therefore, states should examine different ways to collect payments from these individuals. Currently, the government can cut off their tax refunds, withdraw state-granted privileges like hunting or driving licenses or garnish the person’s wages for child support. People sometimes lie about their finances in court and hide additional income from any under-the-table jobs to avoid paying child support.
These types of cases should be monitored more closely. The agencies that enforce child support payment should become more active in reporting these cases. The custodial parent should make an effort to report any additional sources of income. The state should review laws which target people who are in prison and cannot pay child support in order reduce the $100 billion in overdue payments.
Source: CNN Money, “Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion,” Steve Hargreaves, Nov. 05, 2012