Child Support and the Efficiency of the Criminal Justice System
The other day, I read a fascinating story about the failure to pay child support. About a year ago today, 18 individuals were warned about the consequences of failing to pay child support obligations. These 18 individuals lived in three different counties in Texas. However, these people did not take heed of the attorney general’s warnings. Recently, these 18 individuals were arrested and put behind bars for failure to pay child support obligations. Many of these individuals had been in possession of marijuana at the time of their arrest, so more charges will be tacked on down the road. Because they did not pay child support obligations, they are facing some serious consequences administered by the penal justice system.
I immediately thought to myself, “how were so many people found in such a short time?” Well, it appears that the people that should have been receiving the child support payments had given police information regarding the whereabouts of the party that failed to make payments. One person said to the Bell County Constable, “We’ve raised our children, and now it’s their responsibility . . . I’ll tell you where they’re at.” With this information, police could quickly and efficiently round up the 18 people. The Texas Attorney General recently ordered that parents who had failed to pay child support should be arrested. Of the 18, the least amount of child support owed was $1,000, but one of the individuals had owed $73,000 in child support payments.
I could not believe my eyes when I read this story. Certainly, it is unjust for those with child support obligations to fail to make these payments. Failure to make these payments puts the other parent and the child in great jeopardy.
For those who don’t know much about child support payments, this article makes it very clear. Basically, these payments are designed to enforce a parent’s duty to provide basic financial, educational, emotional, and medical support. If the parents are separated, child support is a way to make sure that these basic needs are satisfied for a child. Each child support agreement is unique, but the basic idea remains the same: these payments are designed to make sure the child is properly cared for.
It is no wonder then, given this basic idea behind child support, that failure to make these payments can be extremely detrimental to the child. As the same article explains, there is civil recourse for those that do not receive the necessary child support payments. However, sometimes people can be particularly difficult, and the only solution comes through the criminal justice system, as it had for the 18 individuals described above.
I was very happy to see that 18 individuals were so quickly found and brought to justice. Child support obligations are OBLIGATIONS, and nonpayment should result in serious consequences. A child should not be forced to suffer without these necessary payments. Hopefully, police can move as swiftly and effectively in the future as they did with the 18 individuals described above.