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Negotiating race and racial inequality in family court

This article examines how court officials and low-income noncustodial fathers who are African American negotiate race and racial inequality in family court. These noncustodial fathers are behind on paying child support and are at risk of incarceration for nonpayment. However, many of them face substantial barriers to finding jobs that would give them the means to pay, including racial disparities in the labor market.


  • Low-income Black fathers face explicit and implicit racial discrimination in the labor market, making it challenging for them to earn enough to provide for their children.
  • Child support professionals hold fathers to unrealistic standards for finding and maintaining consistent full-time employment by failing to acknowledge how racial inequality shapes the job opportunities of Black men.
  • Ignoring race when it matters serves to perpetuate discrimination and can even increase racial bias.


Arrears & Related Policy, Child Support, Court System, Inequality & Mobility, Justice System, Racial/Ethnic Inequality


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