Newly unemployed fathers have begun flooding courts across the country for reductions in child support payments, the New York Times reports. The faltering economy is prompting judges to decrease payments, angering financially strapped mothers and forcing families to go on welfare, apply for food stamps, and face possible eviction. “It’s devastating,” said one official.
Given the consequences, one judge said the petitioning parent’s situation “really has to be something beyond their control.” One father's payments were cut from $686 to $50 when he lost a factory job and started working at Mets games; another, a former Lehman Brothers exec, lost $7 million in stock and stopped making payments altogether. “Last week was my child’s birthday, and I couldn’t get him a present,” one father said. “This is killing me."