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Deadbeat Parent' arrest not ideal family law outcome

Colorado parents may be aware of the recent initiative on the part of the federal Department of Justice, aimed at arresting and prosecuting parents who are in significant arrears on their child support obligations. The Department recently released a profile of the 'Most Wanted Deadbeat Parent,' which has garnered a great deal of media attention. For parents who have family law needs in regard to past due child support payments, the story serves as a cautionary tale.

The man at the center of this case is a 50-year-old father of two daughters, now in their early 20s. The father received a child support order in 1995. In 2002, a federal warrant was issued against him for failure to pay his child support, and he has been perceived as a fugitive for the past 20 years. He was recently arrested, and now faces federal prosecution in the case.

His outstanding child support obligation sits somewhere near $1 million. Following his arrest, his attorney is working to reach a plea deal that would allow him to remain out of jail in order to work toward paying down this outstanding debt. However, his longstanding status as a fugitive may preclude him from avoiding jail time in the matter.

This family law case is unusual due to the amount of unpaid child support and the fact that this father has avoided paying for the care of his children for over 20 years. However, many Colorado parents face difficulty in meeting their monthly child support obligations. When such a situation arises through no fault of the parent, it is possible to approach a family court to ask that the child support order be modified. Such a change can help parents catch up on their past due child support payments, and be a far more positive outcome for the children involved than a situation in which an overwhelmed parent simply stops making any form of payment.

Source:, "'Most Wanted Deadbeat' parent arrested," Dec. 31, 2012

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