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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Deadbeat can mean mom now, and the totals are rising

Single dads are sick and tired of being labeled "deadbeats" when it comes to paying child support. When deadbeat moms are on the rise.

The percentage of "deadbeat" moms is actually higher than that of dads who won't pay, even though mothers are more consistently awarded custody of children by the courts.

Census figures show only 57 percent of moms required to pay child support -- 385,000 women out of a total of 674,000 -- give up some or all of the money they owe. That leaves some 289,000 "deadbeat" mothers out there, a fact that has barely been reported in the media.

That compares with 68 percent of dads who pay up, according to the figures.

Men who are due child support are also getting tired of deadbeat moms' excuse that they can't pony up the money, and some courts have responded.

California lawyer Eudene Eunique in February was denied a passport because she was $30,000 behind in child-support. Instead of spending money on visiting her family in Mexico and on business contracts, the appeals court ruled Eunique�s money should go to her kids.

Meanwhile, warrant officers in southwest Florida earlier this summer dubbed an effort to list the area�s top deadbeat moms who owed up to $19,000 in support as "Operation Father�s Day." Included on the list were Trudi Dana, 43, who owes $19,001 and 29-year-old Mary Mahadie Friar, who owes $16,493.

Of course, the problem of deadbeat dads remains a serious one. Many more men than women have to pay child support, making the overall number of deadbeat dads much greater.

The statistics show 4.3 million moms out of 6.3 million who are supposed to receive child support actually get it. That leaves the alarming figure of about 2 million deadbeat dads, putting them more in the media spotlight than deadbeat moms.

But men also still pay much more in child support. The Census Bureau last month also released numbers showing fathers paid an average of $3,000 to custodial moms in 1997. Women paid little over half that. Moms also get about 60 percent of what they are owed, whereas dads only get 48 percent.

Not only are the dads paying up more when they don�t have custody, but when the court does hand the kids over to dads, they work more than moms who have custody.

While 7 percent of custodial moms work more than 44 hours a week, 24.5 percent of single custodial dads work more than 44 hours. And only about half as many custodial dads get government help than moms.

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