Parents struggling financially and falling behind on child support payments are often mislabeled as “deadbeat,” MSNBC reports, as they are sometimes jailed or punished with fines when what they really need is support themselves. These parents have lost their jobs, lost hours at work or faced other financial hardships and have still been punished for the missed payments.
For Randy Miller, 39, paying child support was a challenge after returning from the Iraq war and losing his job in July 2009.
“I felt that with my payment history and that I had just started working, maybe I could be able to convince the judge to give me another month and a half to start making the payments again. But that didn’t sit too well with him because he went ahead and decided to lock me up,” Miller told the news source.
According to Fathers and Families, an advocacy group in favor of fair and equal parenting rights, sending parents to jail in a situation when financial strain results in missed child support payments simply makes the problem worse.
“There they can’t work, can’t earn, can’t see their kids and all the while their indebtedness increases,” explained the organization.