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Father disputes hefty child support bill

The child support system is designed to ensure that children receive adequate financial support from their parents. Texas takes delinquent payments very seriously, as is generally the case across the United States. However, for the system to be effective, child support obligations need to be within the parents’ means. If payments aren’t met, the debt can build and accrue interest at an alarming rate.

For one father in Tennessee, this has become a grim reality as a decades-old child support debt has caught up with him. He divorced his wife in 1986 and was obliged to pay child support for their young daughter. He missed some payments and eventually fell behind by a reported $3,000. However, in 1993, he was given full custody of the child after she was removed from her mother’s care.

He claims he was led to believe the unpaid support would no longer be an issue. However, the debt remained and began to gain interest. It was 2008 when his ex-wife began pursuing the money she was owed, 15 years after losing custody of the child. The daughter is now 35, yet the Department of Human Services is still pursuing her father’s debt.

At 61 years of age, he has been making weekly payments of $111 from his paycheck, but feels he is unlikely to see the debt paid in his lifetime. At a 12 percent interest rate, his debt has reached a staggering $48,165.92. The payments, including the 20 years of interest, all go to his ex-wife. According to the state, anything that child support collection workers may have told him is irrelevant and the original order for child support still stands.

This may have happened in another state, but a parent in Texas could just as easily have fallen foul of the system in this way. If you are concerned about your child support obligations, it is not a matter to be ignored. An attorney may be able to help you challenge the order and seek a more favorable settlement. By pursuing a fair arrangement, you can work toward ensuring your child is provided for without putting yourself in financial difficulties.

Source: News Channel 5, "Man Questions $48,000 Child Support Bill," Jennifer Kraus, May 1, 2014

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