When people hear the term "most wanted", they usually think of criminals on the run. But could "most wanted" lists be in the future of parents who are failing to pay child support?
Every state's Department of Human Resources has had to track down parents who have missed child support payments. Child support payments arise after a divorce when one parent gets primary custody of the child; the other parent will make monthly payments to help with the feeding, clothing, and housing of the child. But in some instances, parents either cannot afford to or intentionally avoid making payments. What then?
For one state,"wanted lists" of delinquent parents will become a reality on November 1 this year. Oklahoma has passed a bill that allows the DHS to post in public a list of parents who owe child support. This bill would expand the current published list to include any parent who is delinquent on payments and has gone missing. Previously published lists only included delinquent parents with a warrant for their arrest.
If a parent is delinquent in payments and disappears, DHS will publish information that can include:
- Parent's name
- Parent's photograph
- Last known residence/address
- Amount of delinquent child support
A parent will only be put on the list if DHS has tried every other way to contact the parent and still cannot. The list can also include parents who do not yet owe child support, but have been established as a parent and need to be contacted to order child support payments.
There is no indication as to whether other states will follow in suit. But if this tactic works, other states may try to pass similar bills that allow "wanted lists" in order to collect on large amounts of delinquent child support payments.
Source: Tulsa World online, "Deadbeat 'wanted' list to help DHS find parents," Ginne Graham, 06 March 2011