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Locating a deadbeat parent

California courts strongly affirm the importance of parental involvement in their children's lives. This means that children need an emotionally supportive relationship with each parent, and parents also have the responsibility to financially support their kids. When a parent skips town and doesn't meet his or her child support obligations, the children suffer.

Fortunately, there are several things that custodial parents and guardians can do to find a deadbeat parent. In some cases, parents and guardians can work with child support enforcement agencies to locate the parent. This has become easier since the Federal Parent Locator Service began gathering information about parents from multiple databases and then providing it to enforcement agencies.

If working with the child support enforcement agency doesn't result in finding the missing parent, the alternatives are to track down the missing parent oneself, or hiring a private investigator to do so. The latter option is obviously more costly, although if the other parent is located, it may be possible to ask the court to require him or her to repay the detective's fees.

Whether a parent or guardian takes a DIY approach, or hires a detective, there is some information that can be very useful when trying to track someone down. Perhaps the most useful is that individual's Social Security number. This can often be found on tax forms or paycheck stubs. If the parent is working legitimately, this number can be used to track him or her down. Other information, such as the parent's date of birth in the names of family members, can also be helpful in the search.

Parents of children who have not been able to collect the support that they are owed may want to meet with a family law attorney to see what recourse they may have. If the parent can be located, there are a variety of ways to obtain the past due amounts, including wage garnishments.

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