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Resolving disputes creatively

Proposal for relief from delinquent child support payments

When a marriage reaches the end, couples often suffer from considerable distress because of the breakdown of their relationship. If the marriage has produced children and a dispute arises surrounding issues such as custody and child support, the problem becomes even more complicated in terms of legal entitlements and obligations.

In determining the amount of child support in a divorce, the best interests of the child are always a priority. A court may also consider whether the child is being entrusted to the joint custody of both the parents, with one parent becoming the primary custodian as per the divorce decree. Even the relative incomes earned by the father and the mother may be a factor in child support calculation.

Mention may be made of a recent story containing reports and statistics highlighting the plight of single parents, especially single mothers, earning a low wage and struggling to ensure the welfare of their children without adequate child support. A large number of single mothers in the U.S. are employed, single heads of their household. The meager wages earned by them are simply not enough to satisfy the financial needs for child care unless bolstered by provision and enforcement of child support. Unfortunately, the total amount of delinquent child support payments in the U.S. runs into the billions of dollars every year. New York is no stranger to such instances of uncollected child support, either.

According to the story, the child support system may be more efficient if the federal government takes over the responsibility of collecting payments on behalf of single parents. The reasoning for the suggestion is the government may be best equipped to gauge the means of the parents concerned and to provide payments to single parents as a welfare measure. Whether this suggestion is ever acted upon remains to be seen, but it is quite clear that formulating, modifying and enforcing child support arrangements can be quite taxing on a divorced parent. In order to safeguard his or her interests, as well as to secure his or her child's future, a parent may deem it beneficial to seek experienced legal counsel on this front.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation, "What If All Single Parents Received Child Support?," Rita Henley Jensen, Feb 15, 2014.

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