Unlike the statistical reporting associated with a quantitative study, this qualitative study provides a detailed account of fathers’ opinions and attitudes about court ordered child support. This insight comes from fathers reflecting about their views and experiences. Their accounts consist of their individual and collective responses to interview questions and related research questions.
Court ordered child support is a legal process that mothers turn to; this study provides insight about father’s perceptions about court ordered child support. Fathers discuss positive and negative aspects of the system from a specific process to the system as whole. Based on their comments, the idea and intent of court ordered child support appears as a beneficial practice in securing money for the care of children; however, this type of involvement with the court appears detrimental to fathers. The court does not investigate to determine if the father is currently providing financially for his child and to what extent. Once the mother files paperwork for child support, there is no guilty or not guilty. Instead, the father becomes a part of the system. Upon issuing an order with a monetary award, the father must comply or penalties will follow, up to and including jail. Although fathers express positive aspects of court ordered child support, many fathers view it in a negative capacity.
In this study, the negative outweighs the positive. With nonpayment and underpayment existing as a problem, legislators could benefit from listening to the fathers’ concerns and recommendations for the system. Court ordered child support is a worthwhile process for courts to utilize.
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