Publicizing delinquent parent info on Twitter: #unfair?

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Child Support on Friday, February 5, 2016.

Social media has worked its way into just about every aspect of our lives. We stay connected with friends and family on Facebook, look for new jobs on LinkedIn and follow news outlets and celebrities on apps like Instagram and Twitter.

The same trend can be seen when it comes to family legal matters as well. Increasingly, we are seeing reports of people referring to or using social media in an effort to protect themselves or punish exes in divorce, custody or child support disputes. Recently, it was announced that one state will be using Twitter as a way to change behaviors regarding unpaid child support.

According to reports, parents who fall behind on child support payments in Arizona can find themselves on the state’s Department of Economic Security Twitter updates. The DES will evidently be publishing the names, pictures and details of non-payment for parents who are delinquent in child support payments. The group also has decided to add “#deadbeat” to each of these posts.

The DES argues that such measures will serve as a way to shame and embarrass parents into making payments.

However, the fact is that not all delinquent parents are “deadbeats.” Many parents have lost jobs or suffered through similarly difficult situations, which has left them unable to pay. Further, critics of this shaming method argue that it could only make financial matters worse for these parents and make it even more difficult to get back on track.

Whether this tactic will catch on in states like Florida remains to be seen. It will likely depend on whether or not it proves to be successful. In the meantime, however, parents who are dealing with unpaid child support are encouraged to discuss their legal options and more traditional methods of enforcing support orders with an attorney.

Source: Digital Trends, “Arizona turns to Twitter to shame dads who don’t pay child support” Williams Pelegrin, Jan. 13, 2016