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'Delinquent' doesn't mean 'deadbeat'

With Father's Day right around corner, people may be busy buying cards, making gifts and deciding on what to serve at a backyard barbecue to celebrate their dads. However, not all fathers get the appreciation they deserve, particularly when they are noncustodial parents.

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Fathers who don't have custody of their children can struggle enormously in regards to being a strong and powerful presence in the lives of their kids and this can lead to strained relationships. In some cases, there may be no relationship at all. The situation can be even more problematic if a father is also not keeping up with child support payments.

Child support is a crucial resource that serves as a means of contributing to the welfare of a child. It can show that even if a parent isn't spending all day every day with a child, he or she is still supporting that child and maintaining a relationship, if only financially.

Unfortunately, there are many fathers across California who cannot keep up with support payments because they simply do not have the money. Many people choose to lump these men together and label them "deadbeat dads."

However, as this article in the Washington Post discusses, just because a father is delinquent with child support does not mean he isn't contributing anything to the well-being of the child.

According to research conducted by a sociologist, there are many fathers who contribute as much as they can when they can, even if they are not paying formal child support. The sociologist notes that the men she interviewed were struggling with poverty and regularly missed child support.

But she also found that they were still buying things for their kids when they could. Even though the financial contribution may have been less than $65 a month in some cases, that money still represented a large portion of the money the men earned.

What we can take away from this article is that while child support payments are incredibly important, there are other ways that fathers (and mothers) can contribute to the welfare of a child that should be acknowledged. It should also be a reminder that referring to delinquent parents as deadbeats can be misleading and can ignore the support that is being given.

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