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Unpaid child support distresses many Rhode Island parents

Divorce rates are significantly high in Rhode Island and the rest of America with the children of divorcing parents often bearing the brunt of it. Divorce cases can be long-drawn and bitter. Not only do children have to deal with a broken home, but a delinquent parent sometimes also often cuts into child support, causing distress and severely compromising the child's future.

Child support is usually owed and paid by a non-custodial parent. In Rhode Island as well as elsewhere, more often than not, the mother is the custodial parent and the father, being the non-custodial parent, pays child support. However, mothers, too, can owe child support; it merely depends on a divorce settlement and the surrounding circumstances.

According to the Rhode Island Office of Child Support Enforcement, since 2013, only 51 percent of parents have paid child support in full. Bureaucracy, too, failed dependent children by collecting only 56 percent of owed child support. It is estimated that Rhode Island's non-custodial parents owe a whopping $238 million in overdue child support. Although the state agency for child support enforcement is strained for resources, it is putting in its best efforts to ensure the delinquency rate dips as quickly as possible.

Typically in cases relating to family law, especially those regarding child support where the obligation or payment is to be made by the non-custodial parent, obtaining and enforcing payment can be rather convoluted. One might find himself or herself at the losing end of the battle along with their children in tow. Getting professional held in such arduous legal battles may be a saving grace and the helping hand most custodial parents might need in cases of child support.

It is also important to note that those struggling to pay child support may be able to find relief through a child support modification. If a non-custodial parent loses a job or is diagnosed with a medical condition that is costly to treat, then he or she may be able to lessen his or her monthly child support amount, allowing the parent to continue to contribute to his or her child's upbringing without facing harsh penalties.

Source: WPRI 12, "RI coming up short shorting up child support", Allison Gaito, May, 9, 2014

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