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PLANNED UNPARENTHOOD: Child Support Arrears as Birth Control?

Children are a blessing, but for all that a child can enrich a parent's life, some parents who are required to pay child support have difficulty seeing past the impoverishment of their wallets. Not being financially stable before having children is frequently a bad idea but it's not actually impossible. An Ohio court has made it a good deal harder for Asim Taylor, though, by ordering the father of four to stop having children until he has paid back the over $100,000.00 in child support arrears that he already owes.

Mr. Taylor came before the Lorain County judge because of his substantial child support arrears, and in addition to sentencing Mr. Taylor to five years probation, Judge Walther also ordered Mr. Taylor "to make all reasonable efforts to avoid impregnating a woman during the community-controlled period or until such time the defendant can prove to this court that he is able to provide for his children that he already has." It isn't clear how the Court intends to enforce this order, but one might speculate that if Mr. Taylor is ever sued for paternity in the future and his debt remains unpaid, he could be facing fines or imprisonment as a sentence for contempt of court.

Mr. Taylor's lawyer appealed the decision to a higher court, which refused to consider the merits of the judge's creative but unusual order but also refused to overturn the order, stating that the facts were simply not clear enough to establish whether the trial judge was right or wrong, and therefore the benefit of the doubt should go to keeping the decision in place. The matter is likely to be appealed again and if the Ohio Supreme Court hears the case, it seem likely that there will be many serious arguments that the trial judge's order violates the Constitution's guarantees of personal freedoms.

However those arguments are resolved, it will still leave Mr. Taylor with a crushing burden of child support debt and his children suffering from not getting the support they need. It's not clear from the news story ( how Asim Taylor fell so far behind in his obligations but as a lesson to the general public, it's important to remember that child support debts are very serious matters and not addressing them quickly can be a very costly mistake. If you're not able to meet your current support obligations it's crucial to talk to a family law attorney before the problem becomes too great to overcome.

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