More deadbeat dads in Benton County

More deadbeat dads in Benton County »Play Video
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- More people are failing to pay child support cases in Benton County. Some cases are even resulting in jail time. This ends up costing you money when taxpayer dollars are used to support kids who aren't taken care of by their parents.

Adam Garrison says he's committed to being a good father to his two kids, "I help with my kids, I see them all the time, you know give my daughters money when she needs it."

The state isn't buying Adams story. Adam owes over $20,000 for not paying child support over the past five years. He pays more in back child support per month than he does actual child support.

Garrison says, "I feel I owe some, you know, it's my obligation to take care of my kids and stuff like that." He doesn't feel like he should have to pay back money to the state, for the state-provided welfare his child received while Adam wasn't paying.

Garrison added, "Everything she got from welfare I have to pay back"

Garrison's case is one of hundreds in Benton County alone. There were around a thousand child support cases that fell into contempt in 2012 and 2013.

Benton County has received nearly that many so far this year, and it's just the end of June. Franklin County has far less with only about 120 a year.

Benton County child support prosecutors said they do receive a lot of cases per week and one of reasons may be because of hard economic times, but they said that's not a legitimate excuse to not pay that note.

Prosecutor Preston McCollam said, "The obligation to support a child is between a father and a mother, The state shouldn't be having to put out that money to support that child."

McCollam explained 95 percent of contempt cases are for deadbeat dads who are lying to the court, "You do a little digging around and you'll find out they do have a nice home and they do have cars, and trucks, and boats, and various things that they are not willing to part with to pay their obligations."

While the state pays for the child.

McCollam said, "Many times we might ask for a certain amount of jail time, based on a monthly payment of child support for that time."

McCollam says jail time is a last resort.

Garrison feels that, "Locking people up you know, when they are trying to do good, I just don't agree with it."

But the state sees an obligation to protect the money spent on a child, who the parent isn't supporting.