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Children suffer when dads don't pay child support

Orange County fathers who fall behind on their child support payments are less likely to see their children than dads who support payments current. A study by a Cornell University professor of more than 1,000 fathers who no longer lived with their children found that more than 30 percent of these noncustodial parents owed an average of $7,705 in back child support payments.

The study paints an unpleasant picture of deadbeat dads. It finds that these fathers work fewer weeks per year than dads who pay child support regularly. These fathers also are more likely to have served time in jail or prison, and more likely to have children with multiple partners. Penalties can be severe for fathers who are behind with their child support obligations. They may have their driver's or professional licenses restricted, suspended or revoked. They may also be subject to wage garnishments.

Their children also suffer consequence when dads don't pay child support. They may not do as well in school as children whose fathers keep payments current. Lack of support may mean the custodial parent can't afford decent housing, food or clothing. These children also may suffer emotional stress by not seeing their father on a regular basis.

Custodial parents need child support so they can provide for the needs of their children. The good news is that noncustodial parents did pay $32.4 billion in child support in 2015. However, a custodial parent who is trying to collect what is owed with no success may want to have the help of an attorney in filing a motion with the court to seek other methods of enforcement.

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