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Examining the relationship between incarceration and child support arrears among low-income fathers

Branden A. McLeod and Aaron Gottlieb

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 94, issue C, 1-9

Abstract: The child support program promotes parental responsibility, so that children receive support from both parents even when they live in separate households. While this program aims to reduce poverty, the program has financially burdensome consequences for low income, noncustodial parents who have experienced incarceration. Noncustodial parents may accrue arrears when they are unable to work due to incarceration. This study examines the relationship between incarceration and child support arrears among low-income fathers. The results from the analyses imply that incarceration is a predictor of fathers' accruing child support debt and fathers who have experienced incarceration tend to have higher child support arrears than fathers who have not experienced incarceration. This illustrates that people seeking to reintegrate into society from correctional institutions face economic disadvantages making it more difficult for them to contribute financially to their families. This study concludes with policy solutions which create cohesion between the child support and criminal justice systems.

Keywords: Child support; Noncustodial parents; Fathers; Incarceration; Debt and arrears (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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