Discussion set on child support changes

Costa Rican men who fail to pay required child support can be slapped in jail. A growing sentiment among legal scholars thinks this is wrong. They are urging that the men be allowed to work during the day and return to their cell at night.

The male support group, Asociación Igualdad de derechos para los hombres, has set up a forum for April 9 at 5 p.m. to discuss the issue. A former judge, a judicial representative and others will talk. The location is the auditorium of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones.

The association has conducted marches spotlighting what members say are discriminatory practices against men. Nearly all child support payment cases involve men.

Police treat those who fail to pay the same way they treat anyone who is the subject of an arrest warrant. Police will show up at a home or workplace, put the individual in handcuffs and then escort him to one of those trucks designed to carry prisoners.

The association said that the matter of child support payments, called  pensiones alimentarias in Spanish, affects thousands of households.

The organization said that it has presented ballot initiative to change the current law. The association said that a specific goal is the protection of children. It noted that when men are jailed for failing to pay child support, they are unable to see their children as well.

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