I have been dealing with child support through my local DSS for about 10 years. There are so many loopholes where the absent parent can get away from their responsibilities that it is ridiculous. Too many absent parents are making it increasingly difficult for the parent in the home to provide for their children.
My name is Joanie and I have one child that I "receive" child support for. My order was established in 2003 at $433.50 monthly based on his income at the time and has not been changed since. My ex is currently over $11,000 behind. After our divorce, my ex husband remarried, had another child, and subsequently divorced. In the separation agreement, he agreed to pay $695 monthly for his second child, child b. That agreement was put into a court order through Mecklenberg County DSS. His income at the time was never calculated. Therefore, this puts him obligated to paying $261.50 more per month for child b than for child a. It was never considered that he couldn't even fulfill the primary order for child a at $433.50 per month, so how could it be possible for him to pay so much more for child b? My ex also has a difficult time keeping a job so when or if he receives unemployment benefits or rarely receives a payroll check, child support will garnish up to a certain percentage of his income to submit as payment. Because he agreed to pay so much more for his child b, the amount that is garnished is divided, but not equally. If he pays $150, child a receives about $58 and child b receives $90. Child B will always receive the larger portion because of his voluntary agreement. I was then told that if I were to have my case reviewed, they would automatically deduct his voluntary amount ordered for child b, of $695, from his income and base child a's support amount on the difference. So, if he were to make $1000, they would subtract the voluntary amount which leaves an income of $305 to calculate child a's support from. Although divorced, he and his ex wife continue to carry on a relationship. He admitted that he agreed to pay more for child b because he was still in a relationship with his second ex wife. He knew that she would always receive more for child b and that only helped him because he was still paying to support him anyway.
I recently contacted the agency in Raleigh and my local office and was told there was nothing that could be done about it unless I hire an attorney myself. That has been done but there are families that can't afford an attorney and just have to accept whatever the state is willing to allow. I was told that the guidelines couldn't be changed because they are state issued guidelines. Basically, a parent can establish an order with his significant other to collect his earnings, when the money just goes right back to him, and helps him to set a lower amount for any other children involved. Parents shouldn't be able to volunteer an obligation amount when they aren't able to fulfill the one they already have. When does it ever stop? He is over $11,000 behind and is still free to walk the streets and never have to answer for it. As long as he pays something, he is able to walk free. What about the child that is in need because he has found a loophole to get out of supporting? When do they actually matter?
Make child support obligations equal for all children involved
I just signed a petition to change the way child support obligations are calculated. Too many absent parents are finding a loophole around supporting their children. Please read this, sign it, and forward to everyone you know. We can make a difference for the children and the parents that are desperately trying to provide for them.