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Owing child support may lead to more absenses

California parents who are thinking about divorce may be interested to learn that, according to a study, fathers are less likely to see their children if they are behind on child support. The study, which followed urban families who had children that were born between 1998 and 2000, found that approximately 30 percent of the 1,017 noncustodial fathers who were tracked were behind on their child support obligations.

The study also found that fathers who were in arrears worked less. For example, fathers who owed child support worked on average five fewer weeks each year than fathers who paid their child support. Fathers who were in arrears were also more likely to have lower levels of education, were more likely to have been incarcerated in the past and were more likely to have children with more than one partner.

Parents who fall behind on these obligations can face a variety of sanctions, including passport revocation and driver's license suspension. Incarceration is also a possibility. The children themselves also face consequences, as their custodial parent often relies on the child support payments to cover housing costs, food and medical care.

A custodial parent who is going through a child support dispute may find it very difficult to get the noncustodial parent to pay what is owed. If repeated entreaties have proven to be fruitless, a family law attorney could file a motion with the court having jurisdiction over the matter requesting that certain types of enforcement actions be taken. These could include, for example, tax refund interceptions and wage garnishments.

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