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Dealing with child support and debt

In Alaska, child support is intended to help a parent with the financial costs of raising a child or to help the state with the costs should the child end up in foster care. Around 69,000 parents and family have open cases for child support. Nearly 60 percent of those cases have past due payments.

Part of the problem is that child support can cause the non-custodial parent to go into debt. This potentially creates financial instability for that parent and prevents them from possibly being able to get themselves in a place where they can get back to paying the amount that they owe. This is more likely if non-custodial parents have numerous children. Additionally, the consequences for being unable or unwilling to pay child support include losing their driver's license, which can further perpetuate debt and financial instability.

Although any debt that results from unpaid child support will remain, there are options available for non-custodial parents who find themselves in a bind. Depending on the circumstances, non-custodial parents may have the ability to work with the state to create a payment plan for amounts that the state is owed. Alaska authorities will work with each parent on a case-by-case basis.

Taking care of a child can be expensive for single parents who are attempting to hold down a job and pay for child care when the non-custodial parent cannot or will not pay child support. An attorney can work with the custodial parent to either seek aid through the state or to help hold the non-custodial parent accountable. If the non-custodial parent is not responding, the attorney can assist in seeking other methods of enforcement, such as wage garnishment.

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