You hear about deadbeat dads more and more nowadays. But are there really so many dads who forego their legal and parental responsibilities? Or is it more hype than reality? The truth is that 66% of dads who can’t come up with enough child support actually can’t afford it. So should we really see them as deadbeats? Most of these men love their children and want what is best for them. There are those men, due to how custody orders play out, who hardly get to see their children, if at all. On top of that, there are punitive laws for those fathers who fail to pay their obligation. Income tax returns can be taken, wages can be garnished, they can even suspend your driver’s license. How are you supposed to work to earn the money for back child support if you can’t drive to work to earn the money to begin with? If the father gets too behind in some states he can do up to a year in jail. Without the money to pay attorney’s fees, he will be at the whim of an uncaring legal system that will see him as a bad person who deserves to be punished. The result is that there are dads in prison who can’t see their kids nor earn the money to try and provide for them.
So are there really so many deadbeat dads, or is the problem by and large an economic problem? Lack of access to employment is one of the biggest problems. Years ago women were the losers in divorce court. But today, women generally are given the upper hand. Laws need to change to accommodate for specific cases. Child support should be allocated based on what a person can afford to pay. Visitation should be allowed and encouraged. Fathers and children should have a chance to be in each other’s lives. But sometimes this crazy world gets in the way. Statistics have shown that when a father is in a child’s life, they have higher self-esteem, do better in school and on standardized tests, and have less trouble with teenage pregnancy, illegal drugs and the law. We should as a society do everything possible to make sure parents and children can be together and support one another and not let the law or financial issues get in the way from that happening. Consciousness is already starting to take shape on this issue. Be on the forefront and let others know what you know, and what your situation is should this issue touch you in your life. For advice on how to be a good father, read How to Be a Good Divorced Dad by Jeffery M. Leving.