There has been a growing trend to imprison certain citizens who are often struggling to make ends meet. Noncustodial parents who are unable to consistently make their child support payments have been sentenced to serve time in their local jails as a means of forcing them to meet their financial obligations. There may be parents in Georgia who are also experiencing difficulty in either making or receiving these vital monies.
The reason many of these parents are not making support payments, however, is the lack of gainful employment. Without adequate resources, many people are unable to provide the basics, let alone the funds necessary to make timely child support payments. The push to punish these individuals in order to collect back support may be counter-productive, since there is no way to earn money behind bars.
One state has recently attempted to change its response to parents who are truly struggling to meet their obligations but are unable to do so for economic reasons. Virginia has set-up a program that attempts to give noncustodial parents, who are mainly fathers, assistance in finding jobs and providing parenting education in order to help these parents build stronger relationships with their children. There are requirements that program participants are expected to meet. Once a parent has obtained employment, they must make regular support payments, no matter how much or little the amount.
While there are noncustodial parents who may attempt to avoid making child support payments in a timely and consistent basis, there are others who are truly cash-strapped and simply unable to comply with their court orders. Georgia parents who find themselves in this position may seek to modify their agreement. Moreover, custodial parents who are not receiving regular support for their children may also seek a remedy. There are professional resources available that can provide assistance in finding solutions to these and similar family issues.
Source: The Washington Post, “Locking up parents for not paying child support can be a modern-day “debtor’s prison”?“, Tina Griego, Sept. 26, 2014