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December 13th, 2011 by FAF Staff
Fathers and Families opposes the “deadbeat dad” and “deadbeat mom” roundups that law enforcement agencies often conduct before Christmas or Father’s Day. All parents–fathers and mothers–should support their children both emotionally and financially, and it is certainly true that some fail to do so. However, most so-called “deadbeat” parents aren’t willful scofflaws–they are instead manufactured by an unjust, error-riddled, bureaucratic system.

From Hudson County Sheriff’s officers round up deadbeat parents in statewide crackdown (Jersey Journal/NJ.com, 12/13/11):

Dozens of deadbeat dads and one deadbeat mom in Hudson County, owing a total of $879,461 in child support, were busted last week by Hudson County Sheriff’s officers as part of a statewide crackdown on delinquent parents, officials said yesterday.

From Tuesday through Thursday, local officers participating in the Camden-based Sheriff’s Association of New Jersey’s annual statewide sweep arrested 51 people owing a total $723,760 and collected $13,059 in unpaid child support. On Saturday, they arrested nine more who owed a total of $155,700.

“It is unacceptable to evade or ignore a court-ordered child support payment. This is illegal and will not be tolerated,” Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari said in a statement.

“Those fathers who are still out there should not rest easy as my office is on the lookout for them every day. They will be found”…

Glenn Sacks, Executive Director of Fathers and Families, a national organization that advocates for noncustodial parents and is pushing to reform child support and custody regulations, says that many of those arrested are simply unable to afford to pay the debt.

“It is very hard to get courts to modify child support downwards after an obligor loses his job or suffers a drop in income,” Sacks said.

“There are many fathers who feel with abundant justification they were mistreated in family court,” he added. “If we’re concerned about collecting unpaid child support, the first thing we should do is ensure that fathers get fair child custody arrangements and that those arrangements are enforced.”

It is interesting to note that Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari specifically speaks of “fathers” who his “office is on the lookout for.” There are more fathers behind on their child support than mothers simply because mothers get custody.

According to US Census data, noncustodial mothers are 20% more likely to default on their child support obligations than noncustodial fathers. This is despite the fact that noncustodial mothers are less likely to be required to pay child support, and those with support obligations are asked to pay a lower percentage of their income in child support than noncustodial fathers.

To learn more, see the Fox News article “Moms Can Be Deadbeats, Too.” Also, we lay out the problems with the child support system in more detail in our column ‘Deadbeat Dad’ Raids Unfairly Target Hard-Luck Dads (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/19/10).

To comment on the Jersey Journal/NJ.com piece, click here.

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