QCOSTARICA – Legislator Oscar Lopez of the Partido Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión (PASE) is promoting a bill that seeks a change to the Child Support Act (Ley de Pensiones Alimentarias), eliminating ‘direct’ jail for those who lose their jobs and cannot pay child support.
“What we want is to change is a person who is not a criminal going to prison of a person directly, because he cannot pay support, to the ‘dad’ going to prison at night to sleep and be out looking for work during the day,” said the legislator.
Lopez points out that the family courts and child support in the country are collapsed, none or very few cases are solved in real time by the judicial process and with the annual increases in cases entering the courts, the time it takes to resolve even long, threatening the immediate needs of the child or beneficiary.
Resolutions are not and reported promptly and properly, and often threaten the freedom of movement of the person responsible for payment, while limiting the quality of life, especially when amounts to be paid are disproportionate, when changes in economic conditions are not taken into account, explains the legislator.
According to the Ministry of Justice and Social Adaption (prison system), about ¢33,000 colones are spent daily for maintaining each debtor (of child support). That amount was in October 2013 when 263 men were in behind bars.
In the Goicoechea court, the largest single court handling child support cases, handles some 100 orders a day for personal constraints.
“That father is a good father, but lost his job and now going to jail for that, that has to come to an end,” said the legislator.
The bill is now in the Legal Affairs legislative committee. Lopez gave no indication if and when the proposal would reach the legislative assembly floor for voting.
Click here to read the proposed bill (in Spanish).
Source: Prensa Libre