On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Paternity/Child Support on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.
Missouri families are busy preparing for the holidays, but for some parents, stress over ongoing court cases may put a damper on things. Nonpayment of child support is considered a crime, and when a parent falls so behind that the state decides to prosecute, the parent that owes the balance might exercise his or her right to be represented by a public defender. Unfortunately, there is a growing back log of such cases across the state.
According to representatives within the Missouri court system, public defenders are overwhelmed. Many report handling approximately 240 cases each. Latest calculations indicate that Missouri is second to last in the nation regarding the funds available to pay public defenders.
One repercussion of this back log is that many child support cases take a long time to make it through court. A parent who is facing criminal charges for nonpayment has the right to an attorney. If he or she cannot afford a private attorney, the wait list for a public defender grows longer by the day.
This predicament can affect the child and the other parent. The parent that ought to be receiving child support payments may be struggling to financially provide for a child until the matter is handled by the courts. A parent interested in establishing, modifying or enforcing a child support order may want to consult a private Missouri attorney. An attorney can help a client navigate the legal process and help ensure that the case moves along as quickly as possible. With the back log getting further and further behind, an experienced attorney can help make sure that necessary paperwork and documentation are completed properly and in a timely manner to prevent any avoidable delays.