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Can back child support really be less stressful for parents?

When your former spouse consistently fails to meet their child support obligations, it's very easy to feel as if you're all alone with your problem and that you have relatively few options.

As far as the first point is concerned, consider statistics from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, which reveal that as much as $108 billion in back child support was owed to parents with primary physical custody of their children back in 2009.

Regarding the second point, experts have indicated that parents in these situations do indeed have some strategies at their disposal that can prove to be effective in making situations where back child support is owed altogether less stressful.

Resist the urge to shut the other parent out: While it may seem counterintuitive, experts indicate that those parents owed back child support should resist the otherwise strong urge to shut the non-paying parent out of the life of their child.

Firstly, they indicate that this action could have potential legal and emotional ramifications as it may violate the orders of the family court concerning visitation rights, and unfairly punish their child who just wants to see their parent.

Secondly, they argue that keeping the non-paying parent active in the life of the child can actually serve to make them more inclined to start making payments further down the road.

"By keeping them involved in your children's day-to-day activities and the things going on, that helps them stay invested in your children, and if they can't pay you today, at least they're more likely, when they can afford it, to pay," said the founder of one online child support payment service.

Create a more realistic budget: In order to avoid some of the monthly stress headaches that accompany the non-payment of child support, experts advise parents to construct a budget that simply doesn't account for it.

While this may seem like a strange tactic, experts indicate that it can actually help introduce stability into a parent's financial affairs, as they won't be thrown off completely if a child support payment is missed. They go on to indicate that when child support is received, it can be put into its own fund to be used to cover necessities for the child.

While these are certainly effective strategies to help reduce stress in those situations where back child support is owed, parents must also remember that they can always consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney who can explain their rights, answer their questions and fight to secure the financial support that their child deserves.

Source: Daily Finance, "What to do when your ex won't (or can't) pay child support," Geoff Williams, Nov. 21, 2013

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