A couple days ago, the local CBS affiliate in Las Vegas reported that the District Attorney’s office out there generated $100,000 from parents delinquent on outstanding child support obligations.
How was it done?
Evidently, the DA had offered amnesty in the form of relief from impending bench warrants against essentially “dead beat” parents. On the surface, this sounds like a windfall for custodial parents seeking support. However, in this particular case, the use of government resources can be questioned. Evidently, to get the above-referenced 100K in outstanding child support, the DA’s office had to meet with 400 delinquent payors and negotiate payment plans. That works out to only $250 per dead-beat payor (assuming that these 400 people were the source of the above-referenced 100K). In our firm’s Western Pennsylvania practice, we see arrears cases frequently; the typical amount owed in arrears is usually well in excess of 250 bucks, especially where the case has escalated to where a bench warrant has been issued for non-payment. That said, each case turns on the facts. In certain cases, getting $250 from someone who would rather face jail time than pay child support may be considered a victory, of sorts.
Either way, it is encouraging that the Las Vegas DA worked so hard to reach out to delinquent parents to pull them back into the fray, even if the net amount received may not have been substantial. In our practice, in too many cases we see parents feel (and act) disconnected from the system. Many parents harbor hostility toward they very system designed to protect their children. This hostility often spills over into the realm of custody. Dialogue is important and it should be encouraged at every turn in all types of family law issues. Thus, any effort by the Courts (or the DA’s office in this case) that effectively engages delinquent payors should be commended.
So, congrats to the Las Vegas DA for bringing disassociated parents back into the mix!