It has been reported that the average amount of child support owed by matters handled by Ramsey County attorney's office is $16,000. Some of the back child support cases are as high as $100,000. In any case, the office is generally handling approximately 29,000 cases.
Counties have traditionally handled such cases through a penalty-focused system. This may include the revoking of a driver's license. Unfortunately, such a system can sometimes be counterproductive because it does nothing to help the father obtain employment.
A program known as the FATHER project has been put into place in Hennepin, Anoka, Benton, Dakota, Olmsted, Stearns, Hubbard and Ramsey County. It aims at guiding fathers through various parenting classes and employment service options. In Ramsey County, there were 101 fathers enrolled in this program just for the month of October.
As family law attorneys we will always support programs that will ensure that each parent contributes to the support and upbringing of the child. As the above statistics indicate, action does need to be taken as certain parents for whatever reason are not living up to their child support obligations.
However, parents often need individual representation from an attorney to help them out with their child support needs. When one county alone is dealing with 29,000 child support matters at any given time, it's almost impossible for every matter to receive the individual attention it deserves. Family law attorneys can work with parents of all types in coming up with a solution to the child support problem. This will require an attorney who understands child support guidelines and has the skills to help parents work together to come up with an amiable solution.
Source: Star Tribune, "Ramsey County beat: helping fathers who fall behind," Chao Xiong, Nov. 14, 2013