Every parent should have an appreciation for how crucial child support payments are, whether they are the parent paying or receiving them. This money allows custodial parents to provide the things their child needs and wants while also serving as a way to connect a non-custodial parent and child, even if only financially.
Missing a payment or two may not seem like cause for concern right away, but when delinquent payments stack up and parents cannot get back on track, the consequences can be severe. State agencies go to great lengths to try and hold these parents accountable. In at least one state, these efforts are spreading on to social media.
Recently, Arizona's governor announced that the state will be publicizing the names and photos of parents who are behind on child support payments on Facebook and Twitter, followed by "#deadbeat." At this point, the state is sharing the details of the "worst of the worst," which includes parents who owe more than $5,000 and have been behind in payments for at least six months.
The intent of the social media campaign is reportedly to shame parents into addressing non-compliance issues and get current with their child support payments. By publicizing the fact that they are delinquent, the state hopes to take away the perception of anonymity.
However, critics of these efforts argue that there are plenty of parents who simply cannot meet this financial obligation because they are out of work or struggling with other issues that make it impossible to keep up with payments. Rather than helping these parents, public shaming could only make it more difficult for them to find a job or ask for help.
In Florida, there are more traditional measures of prompting payment from a non-compliant parent. This can include wage garnishment, loss of license and/passport, property liens and even jail time.
Whether you agree with the social media approach taken in Arizona or not, you should be aware that there are consequences for non-payment of child support in every state. If you are at risk of falling behind on payments or are trying to collect support from a delinquent parent, it can be crucial that you talk to an attorney to try and resolve the situation before it gets worse.