Read the news coverage and op-eds about our Shared Parenting Report Card at the links below:
By Ginger Gentile, Deputy Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone. And that includes parents who are paying child support. In fact, the economic devastation the virus has produced threatens to be disastrous for many of these parents. And NPO is taking a strong stand to try to protect these parents.
When parents in an intact marriage have any sort of economic setback, they tighten their belts to work through the hard times. When parents who pay child support have an economic setback, they get in arrears on child support and these arrearages can build quickly and be difficult to discharge even when income is restored. This is a troubling, but familiar, problem. What’s new—what the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought—is on a different scale. Without swift government action, we’re headed for a catastrophe for millions of parents.
The mandated economic shutdown will result in millions of paying parents who have never been behind on their child support payments suddenly being in arrears. The closure of many courts means that these parents can’t file a motion for modification of their child support. Even when the courts open up, there will be significant backlogs. And, unless lawmakers and child support officials take dramatic action, the strong enforcement measures intended to coerce child support evaders—those who have the ability to pay but are unwilling to—will be applied to parents who have lost income because of the deep economic recession.
May 28, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Last time I discussed the fact that marriage rates are at an all-time low in the United States. That’s not a good thing for anyone because, generally speaking, married relationships are better for men, women, children and society generally than any other kind. So we should view the decline in marriage rates with concern.
Now, along with the Psychology Today article I linked to, I focused on one likely reason for the decrease in marriage – money. Put simply, women have gained a lot in the workplace over the past few decades and now often out-earn men. But overall, they haven’t adjusted their expectations of men to reflect their own well-being. Men still “marry down,” but women seldom do. One result is a decline in marriage rates.
But women’s choice to forego marriage with lower-earning men is hardly the only cause of the marriage slump. Family law is too. Which is the greater influence, I can’t guess, but no article on the drop in marriage rates is complete without a large section on family law and family courts.
These days, it takes a brave man – or a foolish one – to marry. He’s even braver or more foolish if he fathers children. Why? Because he runs several enormous risks if he does.