Is it fair to use Facebook and Twitter to publicly shame “deadbeat” parents?
It is no secret that Arizona has a high rate of unpaid child support. The state has used various methods, including issuing warrants for arrest, in an attempt to collect back payments. Unfortunately, these methods haven’t worked for the worst offenders, and many children remain unsupported by one of their parents. Now, the state is trying something new in the child support arena– publicly shaming child support evaders by posting their pictures on social media.
The concept is simple: to humiliate those that are seriously overdue on their payments in an effort to get them to pay, or at least think about their obligation, and to allow the public a chance to identify the offenders so that they can be brought to justice. Four-hundred and twenty-one of these evaders will have their names and photos posted on websites such as Facebook and Twitter. These are people who owe more than $5,000, have a warrant out for their arrest and whose whereabouts may be unknown. Together, the offenders in this program owe $20 million in child support arrears.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who launched the program, is calling out deadbeat dads (and 34 deadbeat moms) across the state. He seems to believe that allowing these offenders to remain anonymous only enables the behavior. He has called those who are overdue on their child support “deadbeats and losers,” but some don’t think this is fair. Those involved in fathers’ rights have said that most parents who are in arrears cannot fulfill their obligations due to poverty. An unstable economy where jobs are hard to come by may have contributed to this problem over the years. Those who object, also have a problem with the generalization that all deadbeat parents are fathers, when there are a number of women, albeit far fewer, who are also evading child support.
If you are involved in a child support matter, you need a skilled family attorney by your side.