A parent failing to pay child support as part of a divorce settlement is, unfortunately, an ongoing problem in all parts of the U.S. To help ease this problem, one Ohio city has come up with an innovative way to deal with the issue of non-payment of child support. This city has created a specialty court, which is designed to work with parents who have failed to pay support and help them find ways to fulfill the obligations of their divorce settlements. Now, this specialty court program is being replicated in at least one town outside of Ohio as well.
The specialty court program is designed to help parents avoid a cycle of continual inability to pay support for their children. Many times parents who are convicted of non-support will receive a felony on their record, which may make it even more difficult to find employment. As a result, their ability to make support payments is even that much more diminished. This situation is not advantageous to the children or either parent.
In the program that Kentucky is implementing, the parents can choose between a felony conviction or attending the specialty court to receive assistance in fulfilling the obligations agreed to in their divorce settlement. The specialty court has a variety of programs designed to help the parent become more financially stable. These options may include assistance with obtaining a GED or training for vocational skills. It may also include help with drug rehabilitation.
The program requires the parent to attend a parenting class that teaches them valuable skills needed in interacting with their child. Parents must also agree to abstain from drugs and communicate regularly with their caseworkers in court. After completing the program, parents must maintain employment and stay on top of child support payments for at least six months. If parents do this successfully their charges are reduced to misdemeanors and are expunged from their records. It’s nice to see that other states are finding value in programs already implemented in Ohio. Hopefully other cities in our state will follow Hamilton’s lead in order to help ensure children receive the support they are entitled to.
Source: Kentucky.com, “Specialty court helps parents pay delinquent child support,” Merlene Davis, June 27, 2012