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Increasing unpaid child support may affect Tennessee parents

When parents file for divorce, it may be up to the court to decide which parent should have the primary custody of the child. Once a custodial parent is chosen, it becomes the responsibility of the non-custodial parent to support the child financially. Child support will cover all necessary expenses for the child, such as basic needs, school tuition and medical expenses. However, due to factors like a difficult economy, parents may fail to pay child support, and the back payments owed to custodial parents may accumulate.

Families in Clarksville may find a recent report about unpaid child support interesting. In 2009, total back payments of $108 billion were owed to custodial parents, as stated by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. Additionally, the Census Bureau stated that of the $35.1 billion of child support payments owed in 2009, only 61 percent were collected.

Child support is the obligation of the non-custodial parent and when he fails to pay, the custodial parent may seek assistance from the government. The taxpayers may then pay for part of the non-custodial parent's debt, but if they do, the government expects to retrieve this amount from the non-custodial parent at a later date. For this reason, whenever a parent doesn't fulfil his child support obligations, the custodial parent, together with the government and taxpayers, may be affected. Additionally, the increasing back payments in child support have an impact on the welfare of the child.

When a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, this parent may face consequences like the suspension of a business or occupational license, seizure of property or the loss of federal tax refunds. Custodial parents who are unable to receive payments from the non-custodial parent should consider speaking to a family law attorney for more information about their legal options to retrieve the payments owed to them.

Source:, "CNNMoney: taxpayers owed billions from unpaid child support," Michelle Smith, Nov. 6, 2012

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