Child support burden falls on taxpayer

When parents don't pay child support, the burden can fall squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayer. / Matt Prichard

Tying the knot in Georgia often means coming unraveled just a few years later. Reports indicate that marriages in the state have a 60% chance of ending in divorce, leading to plenty of child support cases, and a majority of them delinquent on payment.

"Particularly since the recession, in both this area of the country, and I understand nationwide, most particularly throughout Georgia," said Watson & Spence attorney, Kelley Boswell.

In Dougherty County alone: 2,794 child support cases have been opened since 2010, and many of those still aren't paying their dues.

"If you choose simply not to pay, or simply pay a lower amount without seeking court approval, then you are in contempt of court which is punishable by imprisonment, or the loss of certain licenses," said Boswell.

Mothers that have gone through this issue say often times a father that isn't paying will take jail bars over shelling out the cash.

"I had the issue where he was hiding, and served time in jail just to keep from paying, just didn't want to pay. And to tell ya the truth, I can't tell you now, why," said single mother, Roni Ware.

But you might be thinking, how does this affect me? I don't pay child support. Well among those 2,000 cases, 693 of them are delinquent on payment. In 2010 alone over 300 people failed to pay their child support, in 2011 just a bit over 200, and in 2012 just a little over 80. That means the Sheriff's office has to find those people, and that's your tax dollars at work.

"It's a burden on the taxpayers because every time we crank up a vehicle and we have to go out to serve a paper, or serve a warrant, the burden falls back on the taxpayer," said Dougherty County Sheriff, Kevin Sproul.

And it would help if these delinquent dodgers would stay in one place.

"We have to go to location A, B, C, or D, and every trip out there salaries being paid to the deputies, and you have the fuel cost of the vehicle to get you there," said Sheriff Sproul.

And once caught, the taxpayer is still hurting, while those convicted sit in your tax-funded jail.

"We have to pay for him to sit in jail, he's in jail, I'm still paying! Cause you've got to pay for him to be there, and process him," said Ware.

Everyone I interviewed said the same thing, when that price tag isn't met, everyone suffers, especially children.

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