Hundreds of millions of dollars in child support payments have not been made in New Jersey.
An Assembly committee has started to look into whether new laws are needed to get deadbeat parents to pay up.
Thomas Snyder, the chairman of the family law section of the New Jersey Bar Association, said child support is one of the most important family law issues. He said Thursday he is concerned about inherent limitations in collecting support payments.
“There are people who are brought in on bench warrants for $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 in child support arrears. They’re brought in and they’re let go on a $500 payment or a $50 payment,” said Snyder.
“There seems to be no rational relationship between the amount of arrears that someone is brought in on and how much they are paid as a purge to get out,” he said.
Officials said there are 30,000 outstanding warrants for parents who have not made support payments or failed to show up in court.
In light of the economy, lawmakers said some people may be skipping payments because they have lost their jobs and are having trouble paying for food and rent.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora said new laws may be needed to get parents to pay up.
“Oftentimes, if you don’t pay your child support the court will take away your driver’s license. So it’s problematic,” he said. “We want to make sure that the parents are keeping current, but also we don’t want to be too punitive because if they can’t get to work, they’re not going to pay their child support.”