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New York child support: One state has new way to motivate parents

There are many non-custodial parents in New York that are struggling to make their child support payments. Unfortunately, there may be just as many that could make their payments, but choose not to do so. For those parents, one mid-western state has passed a unique law they think will help motivate those parents to pay their child support.

The law allows judges to sentence parents to community service for not keeping up with their child support payments. Those sentenced to the program called "SHINE" may spend two days a week performing community service projects such as picking up trash or painting walls that have been covered in graffiti. The hope is that parents that are able to pay will decide it would be better and easier to make their support payments than to continue to perform this community service.

In addition, the law could end up saving taxpayers money. Incarcerating parents that are unwilling to pay ends up costing the taxpayers money to house and feed these parents. In addition, taxpayers won't be paying someone else to pick up trash or paint those buildings.

Lawmakers around the country and in New York may be keeping an eye on this program to see just how well it works. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every parent to support their children. Just because one parent no longer lives with the children and cares for them on a daily basis doesn't mean they are no longer responsible for that child. Regardless of the relationship between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent, the obligation to pay child support is still important.

Source: Frederick Press-Leader, "Governor Signs Community Service for Child Support Bill," April 16, 2013