The New Dead Beat Dad
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The New Dead Beat Dad

As the recession continues, the number of dead beat dad's is growing. However, these are not men and women who refuse to pay their child support they are simply people who haven't the means to do so.

He had been expecting the letter that came in the mail yesterday but, it was still a shock. It was an order to appear in court to explain why he was more than a $1,000 dollars behind in his child support payments. He was being taken to court for being a dead beat dad.

He stared helplessly at the papers in his hand. For 13 years this man had faithfully paid his child support. Sure he had gotten behind a time or two but, he always picked up an odd job here and there and caught himself back up. But, this time he did not know what he was going to do. He had not had a job for more than a year, he had no money, and had long ago sold his car to make past child support payments. He would have been completely homeless had it not been for a friend who had taken him in and completely supported him.

It wasn't that he wasn't seeking work. He was willing to do almost anything and did. Picking up a week or two of work here and there and making what money he could every penny of which he sent to pay his child that he was unable to even to travel to see. Now he was facing the prospect of going to jail.

This man's story is not unlike the story of thousand's of other divorced men and women caught in the current economic crisis. Decent, divorced, hard working people who because of the recession had lost their jobs and in doing so their ability to pay child support for their children. These are not men and women who know they owe a responsibility to their children and have no desire to avoid that responsibility. They simply have no money to support themselves or the children they had in better economic times.

Some of these new deadbeat dad's and mom's are homeless themselves, some like this man is dependent on the help of friends who themselves are struggling with rising costs and less than full time work. These are people who don't want to see their children go without, who have spent years paying their child support even when it meant giving up things they themselves needed because that is what good parents do.

Now these parents are being labeled as “dead beat parents.” a blow to their all ready fragile egos and a reminder, that their child is doing without because of their inability to find jobs where no jobs exist. It is simply one more reason to feel hopeless in an all ready hopeless situation.

While the President urges the American people to hold on, telling them that things will approve. While congress argues over tax cuts for the people who are rich and powerful, these men and women are struggling not to improve their own lives but, to fulfill their obligations to their children.

In the case, of the man in this story, he has no idea how he will even scape together the bus fair to travel across country to attend the hearing. If he is not able to do so he will be held in contempt of court, a warrant will be issued, and he will be violation of a court order. And if he does happen to pick up enough temporary work to make the trip? He will be stranded in a city with no where to stay, facing the possibility of jail and having spent money he could have sent to the court to make yet another dent in his growing child support arrears.

It's a lose/lose situation for the child, for the parents, and for society. And if this man and others like him are sent to jail because of their inability to pay, their child support debt will continue to increase without them even being able to pick up the odd job here and there to pay towards their child's needs.

The new dead beat dad is not the man who refuses the responsibility for supporting their children, they are the men, and women who simply no longer have the means to meet their responsibility despite struggling to do so.

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Comments (4)

okay i am going out on a limb here... the GREEDY women disgust me! My husband died when my kid was 5 years old... due to the fact he always earned a lower wage all I get from the government for an "orphan benefit" is about $105 a month. I know some women who expect their ex-husband to pay $500 a month or MORE... unreal.. I say if you cannot afford your kid..maybe you should have let the dad keep it. Lower your quality of life.. you know what REALLY makes me sick is they say they want to be kept in the "Style they were Accustomed" GET REAL - suppose you were accustomed to poverty - would you refuse a lottery win?

I spent a good of time talking to a couple of "Dad's" in this case and the case I sighted really got me. The dad has always worked miminum wage jobs and managed to pay almost $300.00 a month in child support until he lost his job. Since then in the last year he has managed to take odd jobs making what money he could sometimes only having enough money to send in checks of $30.00 and $40.00. Since he has been unemployed his child support has totaled $4500.00 and he has managed to pay 3/4 of that amount. So it is not as though he isn't making an effort. I know men who are only ordered to pay $10.00 a week who had or have better paying jobs and still don't pay. It seems as though the system is a bit weird. I do feel that men should pay for their part in having children, but, if the person who has custody can't afford to support the child that person gets help from the government.

Bill Leifer

I can totally agree with the comments here. This is my experience. I have been seperated from my ex-wife and children for over a year and divorced from my ex-wife for about three months now. I sought a divorced because I was being verbally and emotionally abused by my wife. While going through our divorce, I knew my budget was going to take a big hit once we got divorced. In trying to stop this, I fought as much as I could for myself to get my kids because I wasn't getting help from my lawyer. To make a long story short, the more I tried to fight for my kids, I was rewarded with an arrest and a restraining order placement on me. Since I couldn't mediate not even shared placement of my kids I had to pay child support. I went from being able to save $300 a month to now being short $300 a month, because I now owe close to $600 a month in child support. I only have my kids overnight every other weekend and two evenings during the week. I still make sure I have enough for them to eat because it seems like we have split the available meals we have with our kids. I have resigned myself to eating one to two meals a day so my kids have meals when they are over. I have worked at my job that I LOVE, helping individuals with disablilties acquire work skills for about 14 years now. I absolutely resent having to pay child support to someone who inheitered over million dollars over five years ago when her parents had died. She gets to keep her money and she gets a part of MY paycheck, even when I can't meet my own finanical responsiblities; not to mention all the lawyer fees and mental health issues I have had to pay for over the last year too as a result of all this garbage. I already get assistance with child care and healthcare. Right now, I'm living off the settlement to fill in where I'm short but I'm slowly going broke. Something is so broken with our system. I'm praying that my income tax return covers the living expenses for the next year.

Bill Leifer

I can totally agree with the comments here. This is my experience. I have been seperated from my ex-wife and children for over a year and divorced from my ex-wife for about three months now. I sought a divorced because I was being verbally and emotionally abused by my wife. While going through our divorce, I knew my budget was going to take a big hit once we got divorced. In trying to stop this, I fought as much as I could for myself to get my kids because I wasn't getting help from my lawyer. To make a long story short, the more I tried to fight for my kids, I was rewarded with an arrest and a restraining order placement on me. Since I couldn't mediate not even shared placement of my kids I had to pay child support. I went from being able to save $300 a month to now being short $300 a month, because I now owe close to $600 a month in child support. I only have my kids overnight every other weekend and two evenings during the week. I still make sure I have enough for them to eat because it seems like we have split the available meals we have with our kids. I have resigned myself to eating one to two meals a day so my kids have meals when they are over. I have worked at my job that I LOVE, helping individuals with disablilties acquire work skills for about 14 years now. I absolutely resent having to pay child support to someone who inheitered over million dollars over five years ago when her parents had died. She gets to keep her money and she gets a part of MY paycheck, even when I can't meet my own finanical responsiblities; not to mention all the lawyer fees and mental health issues I have had to pay for over the last year too as a result of all this garbage. I already get assistance with child care and healthcare. Right now, I'm living off the settlement to fill in where I'm short but I'm slowly going broke. Something is so broken with our system. I'm praying that my income tax return covers the living expenses for the next year.

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