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Those parents who are willing and able to pay support have their children’s best interests at heart. These children likely will flourish and grow to responsible adulthood. If the parents miss a payment, a caseworker’s early telephone call will often reveal the reason – a change of job or other circumstance, an error in payment identification – and the problem usually can be resolved.
For parents who are willing but unable to pay, a number of states have started programs to improve job skills or find employment. States are looking at the benefits of ensuring that child support orders are set at a realistic amount. Many states work with these parents effectively to ensure that child support debt does not drive them away from their children.
Parents who are unwilling but able to pay face strong enforcement tools, such as wage withholding, tax offset, passport denial, and asset seizures. Just as important, parents who have a close relationship with their children are more inclined to pay child support: removing barriers to access may lead to increased collections, and to a better chance for children to have a secure, successful adulthood.
For parents who are unwilling and unable to pay, services are sometimes available to give them the skills to earn enough money to support their children and help them discover the satisfaction of parenting. Setting fair support orders and helping these parents acquire job and parenting skills might help them to make their children’s lives, and their own, more rewarding.