Breaking the Silence on Deadbeat Parents The Real Cost of Not Paying Child Support

Breaking the Silence on Deadbeat Parents: The Real Cost of Not Paying Child Support

Breaking the Silence on Deadbeat Parents: The Real Cost of Not Paying Child Support


When parents have children, they are legally and morally obligated to provide for their offspring’s basic needs, including food, shelter, and medical care. This responsibility does not end with separation or divorce. Even though a parent may no longer live with their child or be in a relationship with the other parent, they still have a financial obligation to support their child. Unfortunately, some parents shirk their responsibilities and do not pay child support, earning the label “deadbeat parent.”


A deadbeat parent is a parent who fails to pay child support as ordered by the court or as agreed upon with the other parent. According to the United States Census Bureau, only 43.5% of custodial parents received full child support payments in 2019. The other 56.5% of custodial parents received partial or no child support at all. This means that more than half of custodial parents are not receiving the financial support they are entitled to.


Why do people become Deadbeat Parents?


There are many reasons why parents may become deadbeat parents. Some may lose their job, get sick, or have an unexpected financial crisis that makes it difficult to pay child support. Others may have a strained relationship with the other parent and refuse to pay out of spite or anger. In some cases parents may not even realize that they have a legal obligation to pay child support.


Consequences of being a Deadbeat Parent


Regardless of the reasons, not paying child support has serious consequences. When a parent fails to pay child support, it can cause financial hardship for the custodial parent and the child. The custodial parent may struggle to pay for basic needs such as food, housing, and healthcare. The child may miss out on opportunities like extracurricular activities, tutoring and summer camps.


The consequences of not paying child support go beyond financial hardship. A parent who fails to pay child support may also face legal consequences. The custodial parent may take legal action against the non paying parent to collect the child support owed. This can result in wage garnishment, the seizure of assets or even jail time. In addition to legal consequences a deadbeat parent may also suffer reputational damage. They may be viewed as irresponsible and uncaring, making it difficult to establish positive relationships with their children and others in their lives.


Take action early if child support payments are a problem


Child support is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the income of both parents, the number of children, and the child’s needs. The court or the parents themselves can agree on the amount of child support that should be paid. If circumstances change, such as a job loss or a change in custody, the amount of child support may be modified.


Parents who are struggling to pay child support should take action before the problem becomes unmanageable. They can contact the court or the other parent to request a modification of the child support order. They can also seek assistance from a social worker, legal aid organization, or a family law attorney. These professionals can help the parent navigate the legal system and explore options for meeting their financial obligations.


Getting what you are owed


For custodial parents who are not receiving the child support they are owed, there are also legal and non-legal options available. They can contact the state child support agency to request assistance in collecting child support payments. The agency can help with locating the non-paying parent, enforcing court orders, and collecting and distributing payments. They can also work with an attorney to take legal action against the non-paying parent.


There are many resources available to parents who are struggling with child support issues. States have child support enforcement agencies that can help with collection and enforcement. There are also legal aid organizations that provide free or low-cost legal assistance to parents. Many family law attorneys offer initial consultations for free or at a reduced rate. Take a Free Case Assessment.

Penalties for Deadbeat Parents


The penalties for deadbeat parents who fail to pay child support can vary depending on the laws of the state or country in which they reside. However, some common penalties include:


  • Wage Garnishment: A court may order that a portion of the deadbeat parent’s wages be withheld and sent directly to the custodial parent to pay for child support.
  • Seizure of Assets: The court may also order that the deadbeat parent’s assets, such as bank accounts or property be seized and sold to pay for child support.
  • Suspension of Licenses: The court may suspend the deadbeat parent’s driver’s license, professional license or other licenses until they pay their child support.
  • Contempt of Court: If a deadbeat parent fails to comply with a court order to pay child support, they may be held in contempt of court which can result in fines or even jail time.
  • Revocation of Passport: If a deadbeat parent owes a significant amount of child support then the court may revoke their passport until they pay what is owed.
  • Reputational Damage: In addition to legal penalties, a deadbeat parent may also suffer reputational damage, making it difficult to establish positive relationships with their children and others in their lives.


Dealing with a deadbeat parent


In summary, the issue of deadbeat parents who fail to pay child support is a serious one that can have devastating consequences for custodial parents and their children. Not only can it cause financial hardship, but it can also lead to emotional distress and strain on family relationships. There are resources available to both custodial and non-custodial parents who are struggling with child support issues. By seeking help and taking action these parents can work towards ensuring that their children receive the financial support they need and deserve. It’s important for society as a whole to recognize the importance of fulfilling child support obligations and holding deadbeat parents accountable for their actions.

Editor in Chief - Child Support Hub at Child Support Hub LLC | Website | + posts

Mary Newman is a child support expert and the go-to authority on all matters related to child support on the website. With over 20 years of experience, Mary has developed a deep understanding of child support laws, regulations, and procedures, making her an invaluable free resource for parents navigating the complexities of child support. Her extensive experience has given her unique insights into the challenges that parents face when dealing with child support issues, and she is passionate about helping parents understand their rights and obligations. Mary is deeply committed to helping parents understand their options when it comes to child support. Mary's goal is to help parents achieve a fair and equitable child support arrangement that benefits both the children and the parents.

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