Child support can be expensive. It is not unheard of for some individuals to struggle making the payments each month. What happens, however, when the monthly payments cross from difficult to impossible?
Usually when this happens, it will be reported to the court, and they will hold the individual in contempt, and they will be thrown in jail. This can sometimes further exacerbate the problem, though. While a person is in jail, not only are they unable to earn any money for their current and future payments, but once they’re released, they will likely be unemployed and have a criminal record.
Studies performed on the topic have shown that this is often a problem for lower-income families where one parent has a criminal record, making finding work rather difficult.
Is there any solution other than a revolving-door jail schedule? Luckily, there is one on the horizon. A new trend has been making its way across the country, one in which jail time is traded for a sort of work-release child support, where individuals can work at court-appointed jobs in order to pay off their child support balance, rather than spending time behind bars and perpetuating the cycle.
The program, which most recently reared its head in Virginia, is a joint effort between family courts, social service agencies, and fatherhood support programs.
Let’s not gloss over the facts: Refusing to pay court-mandated child support is a crime, plain and simple. That being said, there is often more going on beneath the service, and a program that not only helps an individual find employment but also helps them provide for their children? It’s hard to argue that that’s anything but good.
The success stories have been piling up since the program’s recent formation in Virginia, but the success is likely to spread, and the program’s influence is bound to grow. It could be just a matter of time before it comes to Florida.