sad young girl sitting on floor
Contact Rogoff Law Office

What You Don’t Know About Deadbeat Dads

While the impact that deadbeat dads have on their children is significant, their ability to provide financial support or spend quality time with their kids is often largely out of their control. Deadbeat dad is a phrase that is often used in the modern United States to describe a father who has abandoned his children financially, emotionally, or both.

There are approximately 22 million children under the age of 21 who live with single parents in the United States. Of the single custodial parents, more than 84 percent are mothers. It is estimated that 54 percent of custodial parents have some type of informal agreement or court order regarding child support. Unfortunately, less than 73 percent of child support ordered is received each year.

The Lack of Financial Support from Deadbeat Dads

Studies reveal that in 2012, there was approximately $100 billion in child support that went unpaid in the United States. While this number includes child support that is unpaid by mothers as well, missing payments from fathers make up the majority of funds that were not received. In the United States, an estimated 34.1 percent of fathers are under a court order to pay child support. While the most common reason fathers choose not to pay child support (in 23 percent of cases) is that they do not receive parenting time with their children, 13 percent of fathers refuse to pay because they say they did not want the child(ren) to begin with. In nearly one-third of cases in which the father did not pay child support, it is because the custodial mother never requested it or did not want it.

Failing to pay court ordered financial support for minor children is not always done by choice, however. In 38 percent of cases involving unpaid child support, financial inability is the cause. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Marriage and Family focused on 367 low income, noncustodial fathers in three cities. While a mere 23 percent contributed court recognized financial support through the system, 46 provided some type of “in-kind support”, and 28 percent remitted cash to the custodial mother. More than 60 of these fathers were considered true deadbeat dads, however, contributing zero financial support for their children.

Unpaid child support has a significant impact on everyone. Deadbeat parents and those who are unable to pay child support cost society an estimated $53 billion every year.

The Lack of Parenting Time and Emotional Support

While it is true that some fathers choose not to spend adequate time with their children and fail to provide the emotional support their kids need in order to thrive, many fathers are not given that choice. Some custodial mothers deny nonpaying fathers access to their children. Regardless of the reason, the lack of parenting time and emotional support often results in significant emotional harm to children.

  • Of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders, 85 percent are from homes without fathers.
  • Children from fatherless homes are 5 times more likely to commit suicide.
  • Children are 32 times more likely to run away when they live in a home without a father.
  • The abuse of chemical substances is 10 times more likely when a father is not involved in the home.
  • Children with deadbeat dads have 20 times more risk of ending up in prison.

Enforcing Child Support Obligations in Illinois

Parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children in Illinois. Failing to do so places a burden on custodial parents, government agencies and society as a whole. Parents who refuse, or are unable to pay court ordered child support may face a variety of enforcement actions including:

  • Attempts from private collections agencies or a unit from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to recover unpaid obligations.
  • The suspension of professional, vocational, and even driver’s licenses when child support falls three months or more behind. When more than $2,500 in child support is owed, passport requests from delinquent parents will be denied.
  • Garnishment of bank accounts, income tax returns and earned wages. In some cases, a lien can be placed on a nonpaying parent’s home or other property and assets can even be seized and liquidated to pay child support arrears.
  • Reports of unpaid financial support for minor children can be submitted to credit bureaus, damaging the parent’s credit rating which could affect insurance rates and the ability to obtain financing for a home, vehicle or other types of loans.
  • Court proceedings can be pursued and the nonpaying parent can be charged with contempt. A conviction could result in probation, or even jail time.
  • Parents who fall more than $5,000 behind in child support payments may find their names added to the “deadbeats most wanted” list, which is accessible to the public.
sad young girl sitting on floor

He helps clients resolve issues relating to family law, including divorce, parenting time and parental responsibilities, paternity, and child support. As a skilled real estate attorney as well, Scott also provides advice and legal representation to clients who are purchasing or selling residential or commercial property in Illinois. 

Recent Posts