Los Angeles, CA–In my recent blog post Dad Struggling to Pay His Child Support Finds $140,000 in Cash and Turns it in, I praised Los Angeles noncustodial father Eli Estrada (pictured) and expressed sympathy for his child support dilemma.
Six months ago Estrada opened a landscaping and artificial-grass business and is in debt and is struggling to pay his child support. I wrote:
“Estrada is an admirable gentleman. What is probably happening regarding the child support is this–Estrada’s income has dipped because he launched his new business. However, he can’t get his child support payments lowered based on the new income. He may not have even tried, since he would have to pay for legal help and might not be successful with the downward modification.
“If Estrada’s business is successful and he earns more money, he’ll immediately be hit up for more child support.
“Given how hard it is for child support obligors to get downward modifications when they experience a drop in income, if Estrada’s business fails, he may well become a ‘deadbeat dad,’ with fake child support arrearages piling up.”
Sheri, a custodial mother, disagrees with my assessment. She writes:
“This man’s income didn’t ‘go down’ by no fault of his own, folks. He started a new business of his own free will, and obviously without having a secure plan for said business. If he is in debt and the business isn’t doing well and that is affecting his child support, who is at fault? He isn’t some victim of corporate downsizing or layoffs. He could just get a regular job.
“Point is, I would LOVE to start my own business, but as a mom of 2 kids whose father doesn’t pay a dime to support them, I cannot take such a financial risk. If their dad doesn’t pay, they don’t go hungry, because I see to that by working 2 jobs at times to make ends meet. I couldn’t say to the kids, ‘Sorry guys, no water or electricity this month, the business is not doing so good’…
“If I were to leave the security of a ‘regular’ job without having substantial savings put aside with which to feed and care for my children should things not work out as planned, I’d be labeled neglectful. Why is this guy seen as a victim when his decision was borderline irresponsible in the first place?”