Wed, Nov 01, 2006
The Message: Pay Up Before You Leave The Country
Authorities in Australia believe
they've found a way to catch deadbeat parents who fail to pay their
child support... by stopping them as they're waiting to board
The Australian newspaper reports 482 parents were stopped by the
Child Support Agency in the past fiscal year, and ordered to pay up
combined debts of more than $6.7 million before they were allowed
to leave on overseas vacations.
That's out of roughly 1200 people -- mostly wealthy fathers,
according to The Australian -- on the agency's list. And the number
of parents caught at airport gates is expected to double this
A departure prohibition order gives the Australian Federal
Police authority to stop parents at the airport from leaving the
country -- a move that's earned kudos from Lone Fathers Association
president Barry Williams.
"It had to happen because it's not fair just to leave like
that," he said.
Minister for Human Services Joe Hockey says the government makes
"no apologies" for the crackdown on those trying to skip out on
paying child support.
"I am warning serious avoiders -- pay up before you reach the
departure lounge," he said. "This is a very successful mechanism
for collecting outstanding child support, of which many other
countries are envious."
"Some serious avoiders of child support believe they can escape
their payment obligations by leaving the country," Hockey added.
"Obviously people are given ample opportunity to resolve their
childcare debts before reaching an airport but it is important they
know that they could be stopped."
Since the program's inception in 2001, 1151 parents with child
support debts have paid about $12.2 million before heading
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