About 400 miles east of Fort Worth is Scott County, Mississippi, where a family court recently issued an unusual punishment for a man who failed to pay child support.

The man must wear a sign for three hours a day, three days each week, until he pays off the more than $13,000 he owes in back support.

The sign states “I haven’t paid child support and I’m in contempt of court.”

Reaction to the unusual sentence has been mixed, with some saying the man is a delinquent dad who deserves to be humiliated; others believe the shaming is cruel and will be counterproductive, embarrassing the man’s kids and likely subjecting them to ridicule.

The father is apparently more than two years behind on support payments.

An area newspaper quoted online statements both for and against the unusual punishment, some noting with satisfaction that the sign might prod the man to get caught up on his payments and do right by his children.

One woman stated that she knew many others in the county who were behind on payments but that this is the only delinquent parent made to wear a sign.

She said if the punishment is fit for one, it should be applied to all.

The family of the man ordered to wear the sign is not pleased by the punishment. His mother told a TV station reporter that her son has cancer and shouldn’t be compelled to wear the placard.

Anyone facing a divorce that will involve child custody and child support disputes should speak with an attorney experienced in protecting their clients’ interests and the best interests of the children.

Family Law