Essay: Fathers Who Owe Child Support Are Not All Deadbeats

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Fathers Who Owe Child Support Are Not All Deadbeats

Child support in the U.S. has long been a sensitive debate having in view the huge implications for the future each child and also for the development of a fair judicial system in these kind of cases. Child support mechanisms, especially financial ones, have become one of the most heated up debates due to the huge amounts of money involved but also by what some parties to the debate (especially deadbeat fathers) have called economic abuse.

The latest census of 2009 in the U.S. shows that the percentage of custodial parents due child support is quite significant with almost 24% not receiving any money from deadbeat parents who were supposed to pay various amounts. (1) The nature of child support also allows for parents to offer noncash support in the form of gifts, expense coverage for various activities with a total of 57.6% of all custodial parents on behalf of their children.

There are a large number of cases in which parents that are to pay children support, especially man, are unable to do that due to non-sufficient paid jobs or professional activities that offer income once ever months. More and more this has become a problem of the judicial system that has to punish individuals that cannot afford to pay child support, an issue that is unfair in many cases in which fathers are unable to pay due to objective reasons.

The "deadbeat father" has become a federal priority especially since the middle of the 1970s when President Ford created the National Office for Child Support Enforcement that had as main task to identify deadbeat fathers. Unfortunately, through this office and local justice decisions, a large number of fathers have been incarcerated for not being able to pay their debts to their children. As McElroy stated in her: In Defense of 'Deadbeat' Dads" (2) a new type of debtors' prison has been created, one that was abolished more than two hundred years ago by president Adams. The important question in this case is not only how many fathers are incarcerated on the basis of not paying their child support but most of all whether this has had an objective motivation or not. A moral-economic question appears therefore, if whether fathers that cannot pay should be set free and fathers who do not want to pay to be kept in prisons.

McElroy asks another question that is very important in this matter: who earns from the imprisonment of deadbeat fathers who have no record of violence and who are unable to pay their debts due to their poor education background or national economic conditions. There a significant number of examples where deadbeat fathers were imprisoned although between the two parents an agreement of paying the debt in other ways or later on existed.

In order to prevent the imprisonment of fathers (or even mothers) that are unable to pay their debt even if they so desire a series of proposals and adjustments have been made in the last years. Shackelford, Weekes-Shackelford and Schmitt (3) have synthesized some of these proposals that would solve many of the problems of child support. One of them is the "socialization proposal" trough which fathers would receive various types of training that would make them… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Fathers Who Owe Child Support Are Not All Deadbeats.  (2011, June 18).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from

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"Fathers Who Owe Child Support Are Not All Deadbeats."  18 June 2011.  Web.  23 August 2019. <>.

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"Fathers Who Owe Child Support Are Not All Deadbeats."  June 18, 2011.  Accessed August 23, 2019.