If you are a parent, you will almost certainly be aware of the high cost of providing for a child’s well-being. Food, clothes, school fees and medical bills are just a few of the expenses you will have to manage. So when parents separate, it can be a real struggle for the custodial parent to cover all the costs. The child support system is in place to help with that and to ensure that children receive the support they deserve from both parents.

Unfortunately, many child support obligations go unpaid, and custodial parents accrue massive debts while their children have to make do with whatever they’re given. The penalties for skipping out on payments are growing increasingly tougher, however. One parent has learned this the hard way and is currently being held in a jail in upstate New York.

The 51-year-old father, who hails from Florida, stands accused of owing more than $450,000. The sum includes both spousal support and child support. He has further been charged in a federal court over child support debts of almost $160,000. These unpaid sums could have made a huge difference to the lives of this man’s children.

However, if there was any question of whether he was struggling with his finances, prosecutors claim the man had recently purchased and developed property back in Florida with his current wife. Sadly, this is only a drop in the ocean, and thousands of dollars of child support goes unpaid every year in New York alone.

If you are not receiving the payments you are entitled to, or if you are struggling to meet your obligations, you should act quickly for the benefit of your child or children. If you involve a legal team, they may be able to help you reach a more agreeable settlement, or to track down overdue payments. It is far better to do this than let the debt mount up while your children go without the support they deserve.

Source: The Republic, “Florida man charged with not paying $452K in support to ex-wife, children in upstate New York,” May 23, 2014