According to the Oklahoma Child Support Enforcement Association (OCSEA), there are 11,684 parents in our state with active bench warrants for being past due in their child support, and failing to appear at a court hearing. These delinquent parents owe a total of $397,680,850, including interest – an average of $34,036 for each parent.
When a parent doesn’t pay child support, not only the children suffer; it is often tax payers who are impacted through increased social spending.
Recently, for the first time in ten years, the local Child Support Services office (CSS) conducted a special program where delinquent parents could voluntarily come forward and enter into a payment plan in exchange for having their warrants recalled. This “Amnesty in August” program was successful in drawing many non-paying parents out of the shadows to face their obligations, in exchange for leniency.
The “amnesty” program is successful because it removes the threat of arrest which oftentimes is the major roadblock in getting parents to pay. Those who believe that they will be in serious trouble if they can’t pay the full amount, often avoid their responsibility altogether.
While this program seems to work for those seeking to do the right thing, we know that many do not want a second chance – and have no plans to pay.
How Does Child Support Affect Families?
Children from single parent homes who don’t receive the child support they need have been shown to:
- Develop emotional problems
- Be twice as likely to live in poverty
- Be more likely to become teen parents
- Be twice as likely to drop out of high school
- Be more likely to abuse drugs
(*National Conference of State Legislators – Child Support 101)
When the correct amount of child support is received, the benefits are clear. According to US Census data, the poverty rate for households that did not receive court mandated child support payment is 36%. This number drops to 15% when payments are received.
Payment of child support also decreases conflicts in the household, leading to more stable emotional development. It also provides a symbolic value for the child, demonstrating that both parents care.
At Rick Dane Moore we believe every parent should receive the child support to which they are entitled.
If your child’s other parent refuses to meet his or her legal obligations regarding child support, then we invite you to contact our Oklahoma family law attorneys at Rick Dane Moore today at (405) 366-0373 to discuss your case.