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Program offers assistance to parents behind in child support

The vast majority of parents will do anything to ensure that their children have all that they need to be successful in life. However, there are times when a non-custodial parent struggles to keep up with their obligations, such as child support. While many states, including California, try to work with these parents to avoid harsh penalties, some parents will still find themselves serving time for their arrears.

There is one state that has successfully implemented a program that helps these parents meet their support obligations. The program is referred to as parental accountability courts and the fatherhood program. Together, these programs have helped an estimated 4,000 parents avoid having to serve a jail sentence for being behind in support payments. The program aids these parents in finding jobs, obtaining education and reinforcing other skills that can ensure that parents are able to successfully provide the financial resources that their children need.

Parents who are in the arrears can be referred to the program by a family court judge. The parents who are referred are usually several thousand dollars behind in payments and lack the resources to catch up. The program can also provide substance abuse counseling, mental health services and provides mentors for those who need them.

The program has provided much needed support for those parents who would otherwise be unable to meet their obligations to their children while also helping them to safeguard their legal rights to visitation with their children in certain circumstances. Once parents obtain steady employment, the program can also assist them in petitioning for modifications to their child support orders. Though California parents do not have access to this particular program, there are many resources available to them when they are finding it difficult to make or receive these often vital payments. An experienced family law attorney can provide information and guidance to those parents who are in need of assistance in these matters.

Source:, "Child support offers no one-stop fix", Sandy Hodson, Aug. 12, 2017

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