GRAHAM — In North Carolina alone, 65,000 parents fail to meet their child support obligations each month.
Now, the state is beginning to crack down on these deadbeat parents. Most know they're doing the wrong thing, but others really don't know they're breaking the law.
Many parents try to handle matters without going through the courts. The non-custodial parent gives the custodial parent money directly and that can lead to trouble. Parents need a legal support agreement where the money changing hands is documented. Without it, people sometimes find themselves owing the state a big chunk of money.
Alamance County has charged Allen McNeely $3,000 in child support for his 8-year-old son Danny. The county says the money is owed to reimburse the state for public assistance Danny's mother has received.
Public assistance payments are very expensive and as a result of child support payments that were made in those cases, over $60 million will be returned to the taxpayers this year. This is part of the state's crackdown on deadbeat parents.
McNeely is married to now and has two young sons. He wants Danny to know his new family. but the child's mother has barred McNeely from seeing his son.
But by law, child support and visitation are two separate issues. And the state says they intend to make people like McNeely pay, according to Child Support Enforcement Chief Mike Adams.
Even when one parent is not allowing the other parent to see the child, that parent is still responsible for child support. Visitation is a separate issue which must be handled privately by the parents and their attorneys.
Uncollected child support is a huge problem and, in one way or another, everyone pays part of the price. Odds are that one in every two kids born into a two-parent family will live in a single houshold before reaching the age of 18. More than 29 million American children do not recieve the support due them.
One report puts the value of unpaid support at $34 billion. Another says 40 percent of welfare money goes to children whose fathers could afford to support them.