What are acceptable punishments for unpaid child support?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Friday, March 22, 2013.

A judge’s recent ruling in a child support case where a father is being forced to wear a sign stating he is behind on his child support payments is causing quite the commotion. Some say the punishment serves the father right, while others say it is unfair, humiliating and does not solve the problem.

Looking at this case, over the past two years the father has fallen behind $13,000 on his child support payments. Since he was court-ordered to make these payments, he ended up in court. The judge overseeing the case ordered the father to wear a sign that states, “I haven’t paid child support and I’m in contempt of court.” He must wear the sign three hours a day, three days a week. The sign-wearing order goes on until he pays back the $13,000.

While some are saying this is a good punishment and that all parents behind on payments should be ordered to do the same thing, others are questioning just what the point of this punishment is.

Among the chief complaints, the point was raised that this sign does nothing for the man’s children and could actually be embarrassing for them. There are also consistency concerns as there are plenty of other parents in the county behind on payments who are not out holding signs.

The family of the father are also against the order with his mother pointing out the father has cancer and should not be forced to carry the sign outside of the courthouse.

At this point, the state chapter of the NAACP is looking into the punishment to see if the department was being fair when the order to hold the sign was placed.

But what do you think? Is this something that should be adopted in Illinois? Does it do more harm than good? Should public embarrassment be used as a form of punishment for unpaid child support?

Source: Jackson Clarion-Ledger, “Child support sign: Punishment applauded, questioned,” Dustin Barnes, March 21, 2013

Related Posts