There are a lot of different ways to have a family. Parents don't need to be in a relationship, outside of having a (hopefully) solid co-parenting partnership. But we know that isn't always the case, and plenty of single moms and dads do the work of both parents to raise their kids. Single parenthood is hard enough, but it can be so much harder when you don't have support. Mental, emotional, and of course, financial support are incredibly important when it comes to raising kids. Kids are expensive! Not many single parents can swing the financial responsibilities on their own without facing some pretty serious struggles. Child support is a legal way to require both parents to contribute their fair share to raising their kids. Plenty of parents pay their court-mandated child support, and do so happily and readily.
But sadly, there are lots and lots of parents who flake on their financial responsibilities to the children they helped create. Not paying child support can result in some pretty serious consequences, although it can be very hard to enforce.
But Australia has found a pretty ingenious way to compel deadbeat parents to fulfill their obligations - by issuing a travel ban on people who do not pay their child support.
The country placed international travel bans on 1067 people who were behind on their child support payments. By the sounds of it, these people were significantly in arrears on their support. In other words, we're not talking about missing one or two $150 payments. In the first half of the fiscal year, the travel ban has resulted in a staggering $15 million being recouped from deadbeat parents. FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS in six months.
Australia's rationale behind the travel ban is simple: if you can afford an international holiday, you can certainly afford to pay your child support. They've gotten several lump sums from people stuck in travel limbo after being told they could not leave or return to the country. One overseas resident paid a lump sum of $350,000 in 2017. Another parent whose travel plans were thwarted by then ban ended up paying $185,000. So it definitely looks like it's working!
Being behind in child support payments by $5,000 or more in the US can result in having your passport revoked, or being unable to get a passport or have yours renewed. We're glad that government agencies are hitting these deadbeats where it hurts, but it's so sad that it's this hard to get people to fulfill their financial obligations to their kids.