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June 19th, 2009
09:30 AM ET

Child support payments are falling as parents lose their jobs


More and more parents are failing to pay child support due to the recession.

Caught on either side? Send us your questions

In our 10am hour, a family law expert will answer your questions.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Dakota

    I fully understand a parent's duty to pay their child support. My question is when a father has lost his job, and is temporarily unable to pay child support, while the mother refuses to work (since she is remarried), what happens? Should the mother take responsibility for the children as well? It is not the father's choice to be about of a job.

    June 19, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  2. Andy

    I am currently on unemployment, it's my only income, however Arizona has an attributable income calculation, I can no longer afford to pay what I used to pay, how can i be sure the court will lower my child support payments to what I can afford today?

    June 19, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  3. mark

    why is it when a father is orderd to pay support he has no rights to care for siad child when taken from childs mother by c.p.s. the child is placed in foster care instead of the fathers care. father is told to hire a lawyer to gain custady for the child but the courts orded the father to pay support no lawyer was need for the father to have that done doesnt the father who pays support have any rights? if said father is behind in his support there is no problum as to who is the childs father but yet in a custady mater there is a question doesnt that seem byus?
    thanks mark

    June 19, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  4. elizabeth

    child support needs to stop being a means to an end and start being what it is intended to be in the first place, CHILD SUPPORT!...Primarily, it needs to benefit both sides of the balance sheet. There is no need to continue to attempt a support action when the other parent that is making the primary income during the relationship has the children and the other parent is disabled, is there? what can a parent do?

    June 19, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  5. haleem

    I am presently not working, one because of the economy and the other reason is the amount of time that I was spending in court, I have not seen my son for almost a year and he will be 2 in august. I filed contempt and it was denied further fueling the fire and ensuring her stance against any contact with my son. What can I do, I can't afford child support, an attorney and gifts for my son nor can I see him. Please talk more about women using the courts to keep the child from it's dad. I want to be in his life more than imaginable, but the courts seem to lean on the side of the mother, please bring national light to this negative movement. After spending so much time in court, I noticed it is an epidemic. If you can help one way or another please do.

    June 19, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  6. Bobby

    I Have Been Out Of Work For A Year And Just Started A New Job 3 Weeks Ago. I Am About $4,000 Behind In Child Support. I Have A Court Date Next Week. My Ex Wife And I Are On Good Terms. She Called The Court To See If She Could Push Back The Court Date They Said No There Was nothing She Could Do. Now I Worried About Going To Jail. I Have A Family With My Current Wife and If I Go to Jail Im Worried How They Are Going To Be Because My Wife Now Is Out Of Work. I Have Been Able To Pay $500 When I Got My Taxes Back. Please Give me Some Advice.

    June 19, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  7. Kim

    I'm engaged to a man who has full custody of his three children. He's had full custody since November of 2005 and out of the 187 weeks since then, his ex has only paid 2 weeks worth of child support. Our county even took her to court for non-payment in October of 2008 for the arrearages, and that "court order" has been completely ignored. Betty, you asked for my question, so here it is:
    How is it possible that our court system could be so indifferent to this blatent injustice? Job or no job...recession or no recession...our system has failed our family as they allow this behavior to continue. Why are there to courses of action for someone who has paid less than 1% of a court ordered obligation? What can we do?

    June 19, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  8. Kimberly Ruzicka

    I would like to know where a person can go for legal assistance when they are behind on their child support payments and have no money for legal help due to being out of work.

    June 19, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  9. Anthony

    My job hours has been reduced from 40 per week to 20. My child support monthly is about $300.00 a month. I earn minimum wage at $6.25/hr. I provide almost half of my salary to my child. I live with my family. I feel like I'm drowning to keep up and provide for my child. I've tried every week here in Ft. Lauderdale to get a second job but no one's hiring. I don't want to get into problems with the law. What can I do?

    June 19, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  10. aaron withers

    i lost my job in January, I'm paying child support out of my unemployment. I'm the none custodial parent. if i cant make my payments i could go to jail, loose any license i hold. why aren't there any laws that put the custodial parent in the same position where if they don't work or contribute they help to same laws. it's not fair for a father to have to pay and not get to see his children while the other party stays home and collects a check. in my case it's like I'm being punished for trying to be a good father getting hit with high child support payment and at the same time not seeing my children. what can i do? i guess just sit back and take it!

    June 19, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  11. Derek Naill

    If you can't work you can't pay and in this economy there's not a lot people can do about that. But why would they go as far as suspending your lisence or even putting you in jail if they want your money? If you ask me, they should try employment placement as apposed to the $7.50 monthly state prison tip. In my experience, child support could care less about circumstance so I guess my only question is, what advice could you possibly give me for this revolving cycle that just keeps feeding on itsself? The only answer I can see is the one they keep giving me........FIND A JOB! HA, easier said than done!

    June 19, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  12. fred

    Question: I was divorced in FT Worth, Texas and my spuse who is a Japanse Citizen now resides in Japan.

    Do I still need to make payments if she is no longer a legal resident of the United States?

    June 19, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  13. ray

    In a few months , my 16 year old and is about to be declared as an adult in the state of Kentucky. How will this affect my Joint Custody and Child Support?
    Not to mention I'm unemployed and my child support has increased 190%! HELP!

    June 19, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  14. Anthony

    One of my friends fell behind in his support payments. The current law suspended his license. How can he be expected to work if his privelege to drive to work has been taken away. He can't pull the owed money out of the air to regain his license. The law is now threatning to jail him. Doesn't this law hurt both father and child due to the added handicap to the father.

    June 19, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  15. Mark

    I paid child support until my daughter was 11 years old. The mother married a loser who attempted to sexually assault my daughter. The mother took my daughter to a park and asked her if she wants to just go to church counseling or if she wants her to call the police. Poor Daughter didn't know what to do having such weighted question put on her so she said nothing. Mother did nothing. When my daughter told a friend in school, her friend was the bigger woman and told auhtorities who arrested both the mother and the stepfather. The mother went to parental counseling etc and my daughter wanted to continue going to the same school. I had full custody for 1 year, but she got an attorney and I couldn't afford one. I wound up with a joint custody agreement where my daughter was supposed to go to school 1 year up here and 1 year down there alternating and neither have to pay child support. I signed it, but my daughter wanted to go to her school and I forgave her mother and let my daughter move in with the mother. the step father is in jail and she got divorced. Now my daughter has been there for two years and I have kept her both summers, the mother is threatening she wants to go after me for child support and wants it based on what I make. I am strapped with bills and mortgage, and cannot get any overtime. my girlfriend lost her job and I am stuck with all the bills insurance on two cars. I cannot afford to pay what she wants. I am unsure of my rights and what I should do.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:15 pm |

    I am the second wife in this nightmare with child support. My husband has three sons from a previous marriage in NY. The eldest is 24, 21, and 17. He paid child support until he became disabled in 2006. He worked until he just couldn't do it anymore. He filed for disability, and we lived off of my little paycheck as a presser in a cleaners. Him and I moved from NY in 2005 to Florida with the hopes of things getting better. In 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, ok there went my job. We lived with very very little assistance from public assistance and the help from God. We almost lost our home due to no mortgage payments for about a year. He receives 1527.00 per month. How could child support take over half of that for child support. He have children here. What happens to them, live in the street because we can't afford or mortgage, lights or anything else. What happens to the support for the family here. When is someone going to step in about this crazy child support thing these people have going on. Also who controls how this support money is spent, for that matter who cares, Everyone is not dead beat parents. Who protects the inocent from child support abusers.

    June 24, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  17. hector

    I was paying child support when I lost my job on 2008, due to the economy. Moved to another state where I got a job and continued paying support. Two month later lost the job again, and missed some chl spt payments. I started a new job making less that the one before, unable to pay rent, utilities and chl spt at the same time I had to choose to keep a roof over my head, food to eat and utilities. During 4 months I missed some payments but still sent some of them. Tried to get a 2nd job but was unable to get one. I had my full paycheck taken by child support, and 4 days later lost my job again. Company downsized. Now I just didn't have my job but the money to pay rent, food or the utilities. Within a week I received letter from Child Support that they will take the money from my bank account, after they took it. After 2 months I got a job again, within a week of started I received another letter: a court hearing schedule in other state (where children lives), I don't have the resource to travel there and if I do I'll lose my job again, but If I don't, they'll issue a warrant for my arrest. I'm ready to start sending payments again. How I'm suppost to pay if I'm on jail or have no job. How this help the children? Midtime, I have no car, no furniture, an air matress, no money to hire an attorney an ex wife living on a house with 2 new cars and a job making over 45k yr.

    June 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  18. Rickie

    Nobody cares what kind of lame excuses spin around in the heads of parents that don't pay their child support. It is insane for any adult to have so much self loathing that they deprive their own flesh and blood of the fundamental right to eat and take shelter. What's more, America is very straight forward about it. We call it child abuse. So, any parent who thinks they have a pitiful tragedy that justifies child abandonment, better think long and hard about it.

    July 1, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  19. Tony I

    For Vets
    Hi can you extend VA GI Bill benefits by 2 / 3 years from 10 years to 12-13 years? Mine are running out next year this will help laid off Vets going back to college like myself. PLEASE PLEASE extend to 12 years for college GI Bill even if it’s for a 3 or 4 year Temp program. Thank Mr. President and CNN.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  20. Francelle Barry

    My husband and I have paid our child support for his daughter from his first marriage for many years, now she is 18 and lives with us full time, we are paying for her college education and still paying child support to her mother, who refuses to help in any way. What can we do?

    July 7, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  21. Laura Tucker

    My question is my husband just recently got laid off from his job....he has two children from a previous marriage and pays child support. Well, he was until he lost his job. How will this affect the child support payments? His ex wife just had him served with paperwork holding him in contempt of court. How do we find legal aid that doesn't cost $3500? I realize that this has nothing to do with it, but her husband died last year and she claimed that my husband NEVER paid any child support so that she could claim social security under her dead husband for my husband's children. She now gets $2800.00 a month from social security and child support. Will she have to clain the extra as income?

    July 22, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  22. regina

    I had disability through mental health in the 90's. Trying to get it back. I am unable to work. Can I have the court order hardship and relieve me from continuous incarcerations?

    July 24, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  23. mr tom

    my son is 21 and has a child of his own im still paying child support as they say i owe back money is this right

    July 31, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  24. Sabrina Kennedy

    I am umemployed. I lost my factory job because the work was sent to China. I am un able to find work but I have earn a degree in business since my unemployment. 260.00 a month was order because my son father show Social Service a receipt stating he makes 6.00 a hour. This was also based on child care which I was only paying 88.00 a month, which was based on my income before I recieved child support payments. My son's father owns his own baber shop and has 3 other babers working in the shop. He is taken me back to court to have the child support modify. What can I do or say to get the courts to use his tax forms from the passed three years instead of a receipt.

    August 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  25. James

    Hi I'm unemployed, so I joined the Reserves 2 yrs ago, I was scheduled to go to Iraq back in February and was flagged for Dental. I havent had a job for almost 2yrs. I dont know why, I've tried hard to get jobs but I believe its because of my duty statis. As a reservsist you have to let employors know that your in the Reserves and you could leave at anytime. EVERYTIME I do that at an interview, I dont recieve a call back. Now my child support is way behind, Recieved a letter in the mail about warrant against me for child support. I'm currently on standby to go to Afghanistan, and can't leave my state. This is unbelieveable how you can get a FELONY D in Missouri charge and your on standby from the MILITARY, jobs are not responding, I'm all over the internet with resumes. This is crazy. I didnt even recieve a court date, I just got a letter in the mail. I tried to talk to CFS the reduce the payments, but that didnt work. Now with all this going on my baby mama wont answer her cell phone. THIS IS CRAZY.... This system is bad for Fathers, and is not balanced at all.

    August 21, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  26. john

    i got divorce in DEcember 2004 i was paying $300.00 a month for 1 child then the judge reduced it to $225.00 amonth that not even included in the additional $55.00 amonth being taken out for health and insurance purposes the the court went by my income and not hers she even has a job also

    August 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  27. Amanda

    I am all for child support when the custodial parent needs it. I do not think someone should be on food stamps because deadbeat dad won't pony up some $. However, when the custodial parent makes $150K a year dad makes $50K a year why in the world should he have to pay to have her live lavishly regardless of "his flesh and blood". People assume that everyone that collects child support are welefare receiptants that that simply isn't the case.

    I am the 2nd wife and this is our problem. We have 1 child together and he had one with his ex wife. She makes twice what we make but we have to pay her. So he has to take from his son (with me) to pay for his daughter (with her) when they live so much better than us anyway. Where is the balance in that?

    August 31, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  28. Aaron

    Fathers no rights when it comes to child support. if we lose our job. we still have to find a way to pay even if she wont work or anything. the system has a huge flaw, and father have the worst end of the deal

    September 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  29. Jim

    I have been supporting my son for 18 years,,,my ex found out my new wife and I brought a new home,,now she is seeking child support,,understand I went through the G.I Bill,no money down,,she is using the courts out of anger,,,,can I fight her on this?

    September 24, 2009 at 11:57 am |