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What is a deadbeat dad?

You have probably heard the term "deadbeat dad" before. This is something that is bantered about in Ohio rather freely, but many people really do not use the term correctly or even understand what it actually means. It is a derogatory label that can be quite hurtful, and when used incorrectly, can give a person a bad reputation. 

According to the Huffington Post, a deadbeat dad is traditionally used to describe fathers who do not take care of their children. Usually, it is used when a dad is not paying child support. However, that is a little too general and can lead to mislabeling of parents who really are trying to take care of their children.

The legal definition states that a deadbeat can be a mom or dad. This parent chooses not to pay child support. It is the choice to not pay that is often forgotten in the definition. There are many parents who simply cannot afford to pay and may fall behind, but they technically are not deadbeat parents. 

Using this label on parents who do not deserve it is awful because it carries such a negative connotation. Not being able to afford your child support payments can be difficult. You may want to care for your children but simply lack the ability to do so. Calling you a deadbeat implies you do not care, which is not the case.

So, before using the term deadbeat dad or deadbeat parent, make sure that the person actually is a deadbeat. This information is intended for education and is not to be taken as legal advice. 

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