What Are Dead Beat Dads?


Quick Answer

"Deadbeat dad" is a pejorative term for a father who has been ordered by a court to pay child support but is refusing to pay or evading payment in some manner. The more general term "deadbeat parent" can be used to refer to parents of either gender who avoid child support obligations.

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Full Answer

When a couple with children divorces, the parent who does not have custody may be ordered by a court to make regular payments to the parent with custody for the welfare of the children. Male parents with custody are also capable of being owed child support. The amount of the child support payments varies from state to state and by individual circumstances, such as income and living expenses.

Although the Bradley Amendment automatically turns any past due payments into a lien that never expires and government-issued licenses can be suspended, deadbeat parents still sometimes find the means to evade making their payments. They may attempt to avoid being served notice to appear before a court by giving false or outdated addresses. They may also seek out "under the table" or illegal means of income that they can avoid reporting. Deadbeats may also be able to make only very minimal payments just to avoid being sent to jail or having their driver's licenses suspended.

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