Parents who have failed to pay court ordered child support for their kids in Massachusetts owe $1.6 billion. There are reportedly over 32,000 non-custodial parents that individually owe more than $10,000 in back child support in our state. There are mechanisms that agencies use to find these non-paying parents, but when a person leaves the state, the task can be more difficult, and the totals increase even higher.
When a person in Massachusetts fails to pay the child support that they were ordered to pay for their children, state agencies can garnish wages and retrieve the money in other ways. However, when a non-paying parent leaves the state, it can be difficult to find them and collect back child support payments. This can be due to the fact that there are limits to what the state can do to track people not in our state. Often, delinquent parents who have left the state are found due un-related investigations, interactions or criminal offenses.
The good news is that Massachusetts collects $9.45 in child support for every dollar that it spends trying to find delinquent parents. This makes our state one of the most efficient in collecting support. In 2011, our state collected 68 percent of the child support owed to children. That is slightly better than the 61 percent that was collected in 2004. Though the percentage is increasing, there is still much work to be done.
When someone is ordered by a court to pay child support, the payments are mandatory. Failing to pay can cause hardship on the custodial parent of children, and also may result in punishments for the non-paying parent. The effort of the state to obtain payment from non-paying parents helps in alleviating some of the economic stress suffered by some custodial parents. In many cases, parents are forced to file a contempt of court or seek other legal options to work towards obtaining the funds that their children rightfully deserve.
Source: Enterprise News, "Once across state lines, deadbeat parents long gone and hard to find," Justin Graeber, Sept. 2, 2012