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Franklin County finds a Catalyst to help fulfill support orders

When a situation arises involving a failure to pay child support, the common response may be to figure out a way to force the other nonpaying parent’s hand. The image of the deadbeat parent might even come to mind. While there are certainly situations in which a parent may voluntarily choose to avoid making payments making it necessary to utilize legal enforcement options, this isn’t always the case.

Instead of jumping to conclusions, the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency wants to take a step back and focus on the source of the problem. In the current economy, unemployment or underemployment is a common factor in a parent’s inability to make child support payments. CSEA hopes to address this issue through a program called Catalyst.

Ohio CSEA Director’s Association Director Kim Newsom reported that the agency noticed a discrepancy in the child support pay rate based on the amount of the support order. For monthly support orders of $75 or less, approximately 30 percent of parents made payments. When that number was increased to $450, the percentage of parents making payments rose to 80 percent.

Catalyst “is targeted at the ones who are willing but just not able” to pay yet, said one of the creators of the program, Support Officer Eric Gladden. How does this program help? It provides low- and no-wage parents with resources that will help them find the employment sought after in their self-developed seek-work plan.

The Catalyst project’s second phase was expected to be approved on Tuesday, March 11.

This program addresses noncustodial parents with new support orders, but what about parents who have had an order in place for a while? Is there relief for them? They may not be entitled to participate in the Catalyst program, but that isn’t their only option. A Columbus divorce attorney can help parents with child support modifications based on a substantial change in circumstances.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Child support: Nonpaying parents may get job help,” Rita Price, March 8, 2014

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