Men urged to pay back child support by text, some in error

In this day and age, it’s not hard to see what kind of role mothers and fathers can play in the lives of their children. It’s no longer the default expectation for women to be full-time caretakers and men to be full-time breadwinners. Many parents, regardless of gender, play both roles. This idea of shared parenting can even extend into divorce, and many families maintain this arrangement with success.

Of course, emotional support from parents is incredibly important. Given the expense of raising children, however, the financial role parents can play shouldn’t be minimized. As such, one parent may be ordered to pay child support as part of divorce.

When parents fall behind on child support payments, legal trouble may ensue. Failure to pay child support is considered a violation of a court order. In order to get child support payments, local or state officials may use a variety of tactics to get parents who are in arrears to pay up. One Pennsylvania county used unconventional methods to encourage compliance, which has raised some eyebrows. Though this story didn’t take place in California, its message is likely to resonate with some local fathers.

According to the Associated Press, several men received text messages encouraging them to pay child support in light of the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. Although this could inspire action among fathers who have failed to stay current on payments, the message fell flat for others. A number of men have come forward with complaints, since they received the text message despite being current on child support payments. Not only that, but they protest the suggestion that they aren’t active as parents in other ways.

It’s also worth noting that failure to pay child support isn’t always a cut-and-dry situation. In some cases, parents may want to provide financial support, but they simply cannot afford to do so. Major changes in financial circumstances can make child support agreements unrealistic. If this happens, then it may be best to seek a modification instead of accruing more child support debt.

Source: Associated Press, “Dads Protest Text Urging Them to Pay Child Support,” June 5, 2014

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