I am glad to see there are some people taking notice that sometimes it is the mother who is the “deadbeat”. Not all child support judgments are against the father.
One major problem with governments enforcing child support payments is that it is under state control. There needs to be some level of federal involvement. I am not one for more government, believe me, but in this case let me explain.
My ex-wife abandoned the family in 1999. At the time we had three children still at home. For three months we had no idea where she even was. When she did resurface, by telephone from Las Vegas, all she asked for was her birth certificate so she could get a job. I told her I had filed the divorce papers. She said that was good, and whatever my lawyer sent her would be fine since she just wanted out.
We put the papers together, sent them to her, and she signed them. She refused to return here for the court proceedings, so the decree was put together without her input. The court adjudged $450 a month. She was also supposed to pay half of child care, medical, and dental expenses. She received her copy of the decree without comment and promptly quit her job. No child support for several months.
When she finally did get a job, the oldest had already moved out. So she felt she should only have to pay $300 (she figured it was $150 for each of the three children). This is not what the decree said. She “graciously” added an extra $50 and has sent $350 a month for most of the time since then. I have since remarried.
She moved to Illinois to live with her mother for a time. Her employer in Illinois told her that if someone tried to garnish her wages, he would make her an independent contractor. However, as soon as the back child support became an issue (when Nebraska FINALLY communicated with Illinois), she moved BACK to Nevada.
At this point she is over $12,000 behind in child support, between jobless periods and the fact she is paying $100 a month less than the adjudication. What will the State do? Apparently, they will do nothing. We can’t even find out who our case worker is or if there IS a case worker. One state keeps passing it back to the other. We cannot really afford a lawyer at this point to take it on ourselves, and I am pretty sure that if we did that, she would stop sending ANYTHING at all.
I can guarantee one thing. If I was the one that was $12,000 behind, I would be in JAIL. The system and society seem to think it is more heinous for a father to owe back child support than for a mother to be so far behind. (I agree with another writer that a deadbeat in jail does not help like the old debtor’s prison. How does one earn money to pay the child support if they are in jail?)
If there was FEDERAL oversight, this would not be an issue as there would be no “jurisdiction” issue. I don’t believe another level of bureaucracy will help, but some kind of federal involvement needs to be added. I understand states are beginning to work together, but it is an extremely slow and cumbersome process and as my case has shown, definitely not “user friendly”.