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Recent stories from Cincinnati, Ohio, Somerset County, New Jersey and Mayfield, Ohio, all have one thing in common: a crackdown on deadbeat parents. Authorities in these areas are enforcing support payments in tough ways, with some even using major law enforcement sweeps to round up those behind in payments.
In Mayfield, authorities announced in late May, that 12 defendants had been indicted for failure to pay child support. One named by the Sun News was Clarence Mixon who owed $10,056.09 in support for his three children. In Mixon's case, the charges for criminal non-support were a fifth-degree felony, carrying a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
Similarly, in New Jersey, MyCentralNewJersey.com reported the Somerset County Sheriff's Office had tracked down 26 people who were delinquent in their court-ordered child support payments and owed an estimated total of $224,830.63. This round up was part of a concerted effort from June 22 to 24, using more than 30 sheriff's officers, operating in 14 teams, to serve warrants and make arrests. The names of those arrested and the amounts they owed were then printed as part of the report. One man was included for owing as little as $60.
Unsupported children are a drain on the resources of entire communities, so courts and welfare officials take the failure to pay child support very seriously. The Census Bureau reports that only about half of the parents entitled to receive child support receive the full amount that is due. In recent years, about $13 billion dollars per year in court-ordered child support is not paid.
If the non-custodial parent (of either gender, not just a "deadbeat dad") fails to pay court or agency ordered support, there are several ways payment can be enforced. The most commonly used method is the wage deduction order, in which a court orders an employer to send a portion of the obligor-parent's wages to a state agency, which then sends the money to the custodial parent. Another option is to intercept federal or state tax refunds. A third option is to refuse to grant or renew necessary licenses, such as driver's licenses or professional licenses to conduct business as everything from a beautician to a doctor.
The court system does not give up easily on those who do not pay support. The story by the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that after 10 years on the run from his support payments, fugitive Jose Santo was caught in Connecticut. Santo owed $25,000 and is being indicted on felony charges of failure to pay child support, according to officials.