Alternative child support model for the United States, Part 2

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

Our immediately preceding blog post noted a media report positing some fundamental shortcomings in the child support paradigm that has been long operative in the United States. As described in our April 21 entry, that opinion piece pointed most centrally to the adverse consequences stemming from the inability of many noncustodial fathers to remain consistently timely with the child support payments that are desperately needed by custodial mothers.

Many American states routinely punish nonperforming fathers by garnishing their pay, revoking various licenses, taking passports and, in some instances, incarcerating them.

Here’s a suggestion offered up by a writer for the progressive-leaning media company ThinkProgress: Have the government fully support all the children in need, with officials then seeking to recoup what is reasonably possible from fathers. And if those fathers can’t make any payments, don’t punish them.

That’s right. The recommendation is that taxpayers foot the bill.

Of course, many Americans might reasonably object to that, even terming it as an overtly socialist policy that is akin to something European countries might author.

And they would be right in that assessment, given that almost every European country guarantees child support payments to custodial parents.

ThinkProgress supports such a policy on purely cost-benefit grounds, noting the view of one professor commentator that “the amount [under a guaranteed payment program] would be negligible compared to the benefits received.” It is estimated that the federal government would need to pay out about $10 billion annually to ensure that every child in the country needing support assistance gets it. On the benefit side, that money — “not a big number” when compared to the overall budget, says the professor — would go immediately to supporting America’s needy children in all material respects.

Ultimately, notes one family advocate, it would help to “put [families] in a place where their children can move up the economic ladder.”

Could such an idea ever plant seeds in the United States, with an already entrenched child support model that is not remotely linked to guaranteed support payments funded by taxpayers?

That is of course impossible to predict. Broaching the topic, though, is certainly an interesting first step to promote dialogue on the subject.

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