Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Child Support Payments: Dead Broke vs. Deadbeat

Leaving an unhealthy relationship is part of life, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with prioritizing your health, happiness, and future by way of obtaining a Michigan divorce. But leaving your spouse does not mean your responsibilities to your family are over. Child support is a state-mandated requirement that’s based on a number of criteria, including current and expected income. According to the U.S. Census, there are over $10 billion in unpaid child support payments, and that number is growing annually. Of course, there’s a huge difference between being a deadbeat parent and just dead broke. But what’s the difference and how can a divorce lawyer help you get the support you need?

What Is a Deadbeat Parent?

“Deadbeat” is a derogatory slang term used to describe the ever-present and continually growing phenomena of biological or legal parents who fail to fulfill their financial responsibilities to their children. In many cases, a parent isn’t truly considered “deadbeat” by non-legal sources until their actions become habitual and practically expected by the other parent and the kids. A deadbeat parent is considered by social standards to be an inexcusable individual, often a narcissist or manipulator, who puts themselves ahead of anyone else, including their children. However, in many cases, these assumed “deadbeats” are honestly just “deadbroke”.

How Does Child Support Work in Michigan?

Child support is a legal decision that is mandated upon the finalization of your Michigan divorce. The State of Michigan uses a child support formula to determine the proper amount required to pay monthly by the non-custodial parent. Modifications and amendments can be requested and made through your Michigan divorce attorney during the divorce process. However, once the court makes the final judgment, failure to comply may result in felony charges.

Why Do Parents Fail to Pay Child Support?

Good parents want the best for their kids and attempt to prioritize their children however they can. But life happens and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. Between 1993 and 2015, payment trends have stayed pretty consistent: approximately 44% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support due while almost 31% receive no support whatsoever. Those two trends have risen slightly over the years while partial payment trends have nosedived from nearly 40% to 25%. But why do parents refuse to pay the support their kids need and deserve?

The majority, between 37 and 39% of struggling non-custodial parents, either feel no need to go to court, they pay or provides what they can, or they simply can’t afford to pay anything at all. Sometimes it’s a pride issue as 21-24% of custodial parents either don’t want to contact the other parent, they’re unable to locate the parent, or they simply refuse to ask for or accept help. Only 1% of parents either have shared custody or can afford to raise their children on their own. In most cases, these statistics focus on financially unstable parental situations and those without a legal and binding custodial arrangement.

What Can Be Done to Get the Support Your Children Need?

Relying on promises and personal agreements to make things “easier” on either parent is more likely to cause future headaches and heartaches then get you the help you need to raise your kids. Your kids must be prioritized after your divorce is finalized, and the only way to get consistent and legal child custody payments is to get a legal child support order. A divorce attorney can handle all your concerns and assist with a reasonable payment arrangement to ensure it’s fair and workable all around. If you’ve put off making payments or applying for custody payments, a Michigan divorce attorney may still be able to help. Give us a call to see what can be done.

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