Hey CMV folks! I've been baffled by this practice for a while and I want to see if there's certain information I'm missing about it.
To start with, I absolutely believe that child support is necessary; if one parent is doing the majority of the caring for the child, the other person should be supporting the child financially.
If one parent is responsible for making food for the kid and feeding them, the other is at least partially responsible for putting that food on the table and so on.
The part about child support laws that loses me is that someone who does not pay it gets sent to jail.
The reasons I disagree with it:
The logic seems to be, "You can't afford to make this payment, so now,
the government is going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to lock you up and make it even harder for you to afford this payment."
2. Giving someone a criminal record because they can't or won't pay something makes it harder for them to afford it given how many employers check criminal records before or when hiring someone.
3. Aren't debtor's prisons illegal?
Edit: Wow, this blew up!
I have, as I've said in replies, changed my view somewhat. I'm glad there's more room in the system to screw up than I thought, and that things such as good faith payments exist.
I also realized, from some of the stories people provided, that I have to change the view I had going in that everyone is inherently a good person and that there are two sides to a story- sometimes,
people just suck.
I still don't fully agree with the concept of jail time for unpaid child support as it has such a harmful effect on the person's ability to make future payments- criminal record,
employment gap, potentially losing a job because of inability to work, potentially losing a bed in a homeless shelter,
being ineligible for public assistance in the future- but those are on the whole problems with our justice and employment laws than with child support laws.
Thanks guys for the discussion!
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