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Child Support--Is There a Difference Between Deadbeat and Dead Broke?

Child support can be a hot-button topic, with many people championing a big difference between a "deadbeat" parent and a "dead broke" parent.  

There are many issues that lead to Maryland citizens being unable to pay their child support, but is there something we can do about it?

The Maryland Child Support Guidelines are a good start, but they need some work.  Child Support Guidelines in the State of Maryland are designed to determine how much parents with your total combined income, on average, would spend on their children and then apportion the costs between the parents.  But what if one or more parents can't afford the "average" cost of a child?  What if the parent lacks education or is otherwise living in poverty.  Should this be considered in formulating child support?

Further, there is the issue of additional children.  What if a parent went on to have additional children with a new spouse?  How does the cost of raising those children factor in?  In the State of Maryland, at least right now, support for new children that a parent is living with is simply not a factor in a child support determination.

The Child Support Guidelines in Maryland are not perfect, but they are what we have at the moment.  Parents need to find new ways to step up to the plate to pay the support that has been Court-Ordered.  But do we, as a society, have an obligation to help them do that?

Certain states such as Virginia have been working on new and innovative ways to help parents who have have child support obligations find work and so far, they seem to have found success!  Virginia's Intensive Case Monitoring Program (ICMP) has helped more than a thousand people increase their career success.  It is both the parents and the children who win here.

Maybe it is time for Maryland to jump on the bandwagon and help our citizens and their children better their prospects.  Parents who have more financial success are more likely to be able to meet their child support obligations.  This saves the State money in the costs of enforcement and helps our children to have the things they need.

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