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Reforming child-support laws to benefit everyone

Most Houston residents may have heard President Barack Obama's recent Father's Day speech. It called for responsibility on the part of men with children. This is especially true for those fathers who have not paid financial support, as required by law and in the terms of any divorce agreements they may have with their ex-spouses. According to the president, it may be time for the country to modify child support laws, especially given the recent unemployment that many fathers faced during the recent economic downturn.

Some experts believe Obama's speech acknowledged that even though many men want to do right by their children, the economy's long slump has put many dads out of work as they try to provide for their children. The economic slump has put fathers at a disadvantage and causes a massive backlog in child-support payments.

The core objective of child-support laws is making sure that the children's needs are met. It turns out that certain inequities in child support laws do not make the father's rights equivalent to those of mothers. Often, fathers are forced to pay more than they can afford, even as their time with their children is often limited by court orders.

As President Obama noted, this situation should no longer be tolerated. Reforms are necessary to make sure fathers have a decent chance of being able to meet their responsibilities, even when times are tough. It is important to do this without pitting their interests against those of the mothers. The basic goal is to make sure children get what they need while developing and maintaining strong ties with both parents.

Children suffer when parents fail to meet financial obligations. Child support ensures that basic living standards are met, even though parents maintain separate homes, lives and financial resources. As federal laws are potentially reconsidered, we encourage fathers to continue meeting their obligations. A knowledgeable family law professional, however, may be able to help parents who are struggling to make payments. Child support modifications are available from the courts and family law professionals are able to procure them for Houston residents.

Source:,"We should reform child support," Phyllis Schlafly, June 18, 2013

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