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Dealing with child support evaders in Ouachita

Ouachita Parish is certainly not immune from noncustodial parents who try to skirt, or simply cannot make, their child support payments.

A recent media report stated that Ouachita Parish alone has 2,000 individuals who have been labeled child support evaders. Of those evaders, 600 of them owe $10,000 or more. Above that, 112 parents owe more than $25,000 and 21 owe $50,000 or more.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services defines a "delinquent parent" as anyone who is ordered by the courts to make regular child support payments, but has failed to do so in the last six months.

A district attorney said that the District Attorney's Office and local law enforcement put in efforts to make it tough on parents that do not pay. The District Attorney's Office is constantly tracking down negligent parents and prosecuting them accordingly.

In fact, it collected $17.2 million in back child support just last year alone. Along with that sizable debt, the District Attorney's Office has 10,000 active child support cases.

A negligent parent's first offense is punishable by a $500 fine or up to six months in jail, according to the state's amended (in 2008) Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. If a negligent parent owes more than $15,000, and the amount they owe has been outstanding for two years, the fine moves to $2,500.

Ouachita Parish has made strides in this area of family law, leading Louisiana in collecting child support and establishing paternity when needed.

Child support payments are crucial for children of divorced parents. The money ensures they have access to a high quality of life. Those who find they cannot make these payments are encouraged to work with family law authorities to devise an alternative plan rather than failing to pay all together. Child support payments can be modified to coincide with a noncustodial parent's income level.

Source: TheNewsStar.com, "Deadbeat parents may face jail," Scott Rogers, March 11, 2013

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