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Courts favor work, not jail, for support delinquent parents

Almost two dozen non-custodial parents throughout the state owe at least $1 million for the financial care of their children. State officials reported that most parents with million-dollar child support debts are residents of New York City.

A mother of two pursued her ex-husband for nearly two decades to collect money a court said the man owed his two daughters. The 50-year-old non-custodial father, the successful operator of a car auction company, lived up to a 1995 child support order for about two years before abruptly ending payments.

The businessman's ex-wife said her former husband remarried, fathered another child and subsequently divorced. A new child support order was issued for the third child.

The delinquent parent failed to respond to Nassau County and federal arrest warrants and fled the U.S. A federal agent located the missing parent online and identified him through blog mentions and photographs. When contacted in Thailand, the parent agreed to return to the U.S. to face charges. The parent never followed through with his promise.

The delinquent dad was deported over the alleged use of fake travel documents in the Philippines. Federal agents were waiting when the non-custodial parent's plane touched down in the U.S. in December.

The case had gone on so long that the children involved grew into adulthood. The ex-wife, who raised the girls alone on a retail salary, no longer feels her former husband should be jailed for wrongdoing. She wants her ex to stay out of jail so he can work to pay the $1 million debt.

The parent's sentiments mirror feelings by many primary custodians and family court judges who believe jail time punishes parents who neglect child support but slows, or even prevents, repayment.

Most parents that fail to keep up with child support obligations lack the ability to pay. Deprivation of employment would worsen the situation. Support modifications are available for parents with unavoidable financial problems.

Source:, "Huge Child-Support Debt Doesn't Ensure Time in Jail," Mosi Secret, Dec. 30, 2012

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