Child Support

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by doodyhead, Aug 25, 2001.

  1. doodyhead

    doodyhead Well-Known Member

    I am posting this on behalf of my DH. DH is currently paying the state of california $7000 for welfare arrears from when his ex girlfriend was collecting on their kid. I don't know the whole story, I am told he was giving her cash, at any rate, DH is being a lot more responsible now.

    What I want to know, is there anyway to stop the interest on this? Does anybody know if he files bankrupcty will it freeze the interest? Or any other creative suggestions?

    It is going to take him 30 years to pay this off at the current rate.
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Well-Known Member

    I am not sure about California, but I believe in other states a Bankruptcy has no effect on the child support or the interest. The only way they may freeze the interest is if DH disputes the validity of the amount of child support paid, based on salary of him and his girlfriend. If he is required to pay x amount and that amount is stated in a legal court document then he may not have any choice. California, like Florida are to states that take this very seriously, so it may be very difficult to make arrangements. Hope this helps, sorry I couldn't bring good news. Any one out there have any other insight?

    ---> Zaphod
  3. akg

    akg Well-Known Member

    I will echo the sentiment that California takes the matters of spousal support and child support very seriously. My husband and I currently pay in excess of $1,200 per month for child support to his ex-wife (1 child). We used to pay alimony (spousal support) + child support, court ordered at a rate of $700 per month total. When the alimony ran out five years after the divorce, the ex-wife threatened to take us back to court. To our amazement, we consulted with a CA attorney and found out that she was legally entitled to about $1,600 per month in child support based on his income (and his ex-wife lack of income). We made a good faith offer for $1,200 per month to stay out of court.

    My advice for your friend is to do everything possible to stay out of court. The court system in CA is completely biased towards the single parent (especially when they are female).
  4. newstdt

    newstdt Well-Known Member

    Along with most income taxes and student loans, child support or alimony is NOT dischargeable in either a Chapter 7 or 13.
  5. Hal

    Hal Well-Known Member

    I used to be a child support collection officer in California. In the case of Welfare Arrears, the money is owed to the state and they can be very agressive about collecting it, and have been known to suspend Drivers Licenses, will intercept any tax refunds etc. I hope he NEVER gives her cash again, because California takes the position that cash payments to the custodial parent are considered a gift.

    However, there is some hope. I monitored many cases just like your friends in court and have seen the court reduce the actual arrearage amount as well as stop the interest accrual. This is a complicated task for a layman but a good family law attorney should be able to get the amount reduced somewhat.
  6. doodyhead

    doodyhead Well-Known Member

    Hal --

    How was the amount reduced? Was this thru bankruptcy?

    Again, he is NOT looking to discharge the actual debt, but merely to see if he can get the interest stopped.

    I suppose he should consult an attorney, I was just wondering if any one had any success at this.
  7. Hal

    Hal Well-Known Member

    Re: Hal --

    The amount is typically reduced by the court, as child support orders obtained when a custodial parent is on AFDC are a little outrageous. They don't take into consideration the fact that many custodial parents could work if they wanted to and don't "Impute" the ability to make minimum wage to the custodial parent.

    The state, by the nature of the Federal Welfare laws is granted a specific allocation of money for social programs from the Federal Government each year. They have to meet a certain percentage of paternity and welfare reimbursement court orders to retain the grant amount or increase it from year to year. Therefore they go for the maximum in every situation regarding child support.

    A good attorney, demonstrating to the court the outrageousness of the award amount for arrearages, as well as asserting the fact he gave her cash can get the arrearage amount reduced, sometimes signifigantly. The custodial parent can also be subpoena'd to testify and can be asked questions under oath about him giving her cash - if she is truthful it will tilt the scales in his favor.

    Bankruptcy basically means nothing in regard to child support and I have never seen an arrearage amount discharged in bankruptcy court.

    I really would take this to family court with an attorney - I saw many many cases in which the non custodial parent was successful in getting these amounts reduced.
  8. doodyhead

    doodyhead Well-Known Member

    Re: Hal --

    thanks, hal

    since we're in a different state now, that would be very difficult, also, the monthly amount was not outrageous, it's the fact that he was paying her cash. She did at one time get into trouble for fraud in that regard, so ... i don't know.

    Anyway, again, the problem is the interest. Do you suppose he somehow make an arrangement to get the interest waived? its ridiculous

    Also, the printout of payments made contradict themselves, on one page, it shows the payments as made & a $2000 balance, on another, it shows his payments NOT made & a $6000 balance

    It's crazy, the people they have working there obviously don't know what they're doing
  9. Hal

    Hal Well-Known Member

    Re: Hal --

    In California, until a few years ago all the accounting for specific cases was done at the county level with the District Attorney's Family Support Division. In some counties it was wonderful, in others horrendous. I could relate stories for hours on how inept some of these accounting procedures were and how they affected the non custodial parent negatively.

    If she was convicted of welfare fraud, the first step would be to check to see if the amount the state indicated as owing was reduced by the amount she was convicted for - as the Social Services and Child Support divisions of the counties are separate many cases simply are "missed" by the child support division in regard to welfare fraud - his arrearage should be reduced by that amount.

    Second, in regard to the interest, it is set by statute, but I have seen it waived in court hearings - basically this is at the discretion of the commissioner (in California "commissioners" sit as judges in child support matters) and can always be moved to district court if requested and heard by an actual judge.

    I would first attack the arrearage based on the cash provided to the mother, and on the welfare fraud case. I think an attorney is your best bet, and you may be able to have the case transferred to your state or heard there. Most states follow the "Full Faith and Credit Act" in regard to child support - this is a federal law which provides that a court hearing in one state regarding this is valid in another.

    Although an attorney may be expensive $1200 to $1500.00 vice $6000 at 10% interest - it would be well worth it.

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