Despite statistics, stereotype of deadbeat dad persists

This Sunday, millions of fathers across the U.S. will celebrate Father's Day. The relationship between a father and son or daughter is a special one for which there is no substitute. In the case of divorced fathers, today many are awarded joint physical and legal custody of a child or children. Additionally, many fathers financially support and provide for their child through monthly child support payments.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2011 alone, nationally an estimated $32.8 billion in child support payments were paid out. Nationally, more than 62 percent of child support payments were made on time and, during 2011, in Minnesota more than 80 percent of child support payments were made on time. These statistics help disprove many of the stereotypes that exist related to the proverbial deadbeat dad.

Divorced or unmarried fathers in one Pennsylvania County were recently sent a text message reminder that read, "Looking for the ideal Father's Day gift? Make a child support payment!!!!" For many fathers who are current in child support payments and active in their children's lives, the unexpected text was extremely offensive. In response to growing criticism over the explicit text, a representative from the county domestic relations agency promised that a similar test would be sent to mothers on Mother's Day.

In Minnesota, monthly child support payment amounts are determined by factoring the combined monthly income of both parents, the number of children and child custody arrangements. For the receiving parent, child support payments are to be used to provide for the basic wellbeing of a child to include food, clothing and education. Additional payments can made to also provide for a child's medical and child care needs.

For unwed mothers and fathers, paternity must be established in order for a determination on child support to be considered and decided. In cases where either parent's financial situation is impacted by a job loss or significant increase in income, a parent can request modification of child support.

Source: NBC-10, "Text Tells Dads to Pay Child Support as "Ideal Father's Day Gift," June 6, 2014National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 State by State Child Support Collections," Jan. 2013Minnesota Judicial Branch, "Basics on Child Support," 2014  

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