Law in Popular Culture

'Bad Dads': New Fox Reality TV Program Collects Child Support

Forget about watching cops place the cuffs on badly behaved adults after breaking up fights and catching them with illegal narcotics. The truly compelling law enforcement reality program may be watching an expert child support enforcer confront deadbeat dads.

Viewers will soon have a chance to find out for themselves: the Fox television network has agreed to fund an initial episode of Bad Dads, a reality TV program that seeks to publicly humiliate fathers who have fallen behind on their child support and force them to ante up, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Collection tactics can be particularly aggressive in child support cases, the publication says, because the court orders being enforced are not subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The unscripted Bad Dads show will feature Jim Durham, director of the National Child Support Center. His company charges a hefty 34 percent of the amount collected for its services.

However, the show’s executive producer, J.D. Roth, “counters that Durham’s clients typically feel so abandoned by the court system that they’re relieved to get any money at all,” the article states. “Plus, he said Durham is the only collector who extracts interest owed on the outstanding debt, so his clients often receive more money than if the absent dads had simply paid their bills.”

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