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Archive for Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Bill aims for crackdown on child support

February 7, 2006

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Kansas parents who fall behind on - or never bothered making - their child support payments may soon find their driver's licenses restricted.

Their hunting and fishing licenses also could be in jeopardy.

Welfare officials are pushing several bills aimed at increasing child support collections.

"As it is now, we're only collecting 54 percent of what's available," said Gary Daniels, the state's welfare secretary. "Our goal is to do better than that."

Kansas ranks 34th in the nation in the percentage of children receiving their due financial support.

Officials from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services testified on Monday in favor of House Bill 2706, which would suspend the driver's licenses of parents who fall more than $500 behind in their court-ordered child support payments.

The bill also directs the Kansas Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles to share its driver's license database with SRS.

"Our goal is not for child support debtors to lose their driving privileges, but to encourage them to avoid losing their licenses by paying their support obligations on time and in full," said Jamie Corkhill, a policy attorney with SRS.

On Thursday, Daniels will testify in favor of Senate Bill 459, which would block delinquent parents from buying hunting and fishing licenses and camping permits.

Both bills include provisions that give delinquent parents the option of paying off their debts or entering payment plans that garnish their wages.

A third bill would let SRS tap a delinquent parent's insurance settlement for past-due child support. SRS already can withhold support payments from tax refunds and lottery winnings.

"We are trying to provide incentives," Daniels said.

In Kansas, thousands of children are on welfare because their non-custodial parents do not pay their child support.

Last year, SRS' child support collections topped $156 million. More than $576 million is collected past due.

"We'll never get all of it," said Paul Johnson, a lobbyist with Kansas Catholic Conference. "But with the proper tools, we think SRS could cut the monthly arrearage in half."

Johnson has been reminding lawmakers that 30 percent of all babies born in Kansas are born out of wedlock.

"This is a huge issue," he said.

A 29-year-old mother from Lawrence received three payments from her ex-husband last summer.

"Since then? Nothing," she said. "I'm a single mom with two kids living on about $1,200 a month - $525 of which goes to rent."

Her ex-husband, she said, is supposed to be paying $180 a month in child support.

"I work for a really good company," she said, "but my house is drafty and my electric bill is unbelievable. I pay whatever bills I can, but I can't pay all of them."

The woman and her ex-husband were married for seven years.

"I just wish he would be held responsible for his child," she said.

State Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, is all for cracking down on delinquent parents.


Amanda Griffith watches her son Lucas,5, play with one of his hermit crabs Monday afternoon. Griffith is a single mom who hasn't seen any child support payments from her ex-husband since last summer. She's finding is very difficult to raise Lucas and a newborn on her salary alone.

Amanda Griffith watches her son Lucas,5, play with one of his hermit crabs Monday afternoon. Griffith is a single mom who hasn't seen any child support payments from her ex-husband since last summer. She's finding is very difficult to raise Lucas and a newborn on her salary alone.

"If we truly care about children and families like we say we do, then child support is a no-brainer," said Landwehr, a conservative and chairwoman of the subcommittee that crafts SRS' budget.

SRS' initiative is the first since 1997, when lawmakers were forced to pass several bills to be in compliance with federal welfare reform efforts. At the time, conservatives argued the bills were an invasion of privacy.

That argument won't win many votes this year, Landwehr said.

"I'm all for protecting privacy and smaller government - everybody who knows me knows that," she said. "But if you've chosen to be a deadbeat and to live irresponsibly, then, in my opinion, you're just asking for government intervention."

Comments

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

And if she has a newborn then it wasn't from the deadbeat so she got pregnant again....why? Way to go honey.

craigers 8 years, 10 months ago

easy bankboy we don't know the whole story on her or the new born. I know what you are saying but don't jump on her about it yet or it will be a long day of defensive posts.

Ashley Woodward 8 years, 10 months ago

What the city needs to do is give more credit to dad's who are willing to pay child support but have to battle the courts for so long even to see their children. My ex boyfriend has had such a hard time with his baby's mom that he went almost a year without even getting to see his baby. They still havn't set up visitation when he's been willing to pay child support since she was born. I've always heard that Lawrence courts aren't for "fathers", but I didn't realize it would go this far.

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

It's always a long day of defensive posts haha but I get your point...I don't have time today though. I wish her the best but really I'm advocating common sense. Don't live off the system.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

If you want to catch attentions, don't suspend driver's liscences. Revoke state issued liscence plates, instead. When they come to renew them, confiscate them and arrest them for failure to pay child support.

Then a court ordered garnishment of their paychecks until the child is no longer eligible for said payments. Failure to pay, at that point, would be a jail sentence.

Sounds harsh, but it's a harsh world.

angelofmine 8 years, 10 months ago

Wage garnishment is already a somewhat ineffective option....depending on how hard the deadbeat tries to dodge it. I have an ex that qualifies as a "job hopper" that dodges garns before they can go through, moving on to the next job. It takes about two weeks to a month for those garnishments to hit, depending on how cooperative the employer is. Also, child support enforcement has to have a report of employment by the deadbeat. If they're working for some under the table construction company, you're out of luck. Other states have the option of restricting their driving privileges, and I think the restriction on hunting and fishing licenses is a good idea also.

Lucky for me I've got a great job, and have learned not to depend on that extra money OR the state for my daughter's daycare, clothing, dance classes, etc. The minute you depend on it, its gone again. My child is four years old this month. I have received six $180 payments. Total.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

They put a note on under 21, and under 18 driver's license. Make one for a deadbeat parent...unable to buy alcohol or cigarettes for failure to pay child support. (But that would only work if the driver's license was required) Heck, put it on there anyway, so when they have to show their license, everyone would know they owe back child support.

I also like the billboard idea someone suggested.

Kathleen Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Oh this makes a lot of sense - what if the parent doesn't have a driver's license? What then? Take away his walking privileges? There has to be a better way.

Kathleen Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

You are absolutely correct "offtotheright" there will be more driver's without a license. Taking their license means nothing to these deadbeats.

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

I suppose there's always indentured servitude for, what Aristotle would have termed, "natural slaves," those who as a consequence of their character and disposition are incapable of managing their own affairs without mandatory guidance. Why are illegal aliens taking jobs that good indentured servants could be chained to? Can't they be farmed out as a chain-gang to pick strawberries in the desert, paid a basic wage, which would be garnished for the children?

Kontum1972 8 years, 10 months ago

...hmmm...is this well thought out?

so what is the solution if the parent lives out of State...e.g. Mo., Colo., Okla., Neb.,...or 2 or 3 States?

What if the parent is a Lobbyist?

Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm a fan of forced castration. These jerks go on to have more babies with more women, and then they leave them with no money. If it were women leaving the kids, you can bet the men at the statehouse would create incredibly harsh laws.

christie 8 years, 10 months ago

Confron...

I always thought it took 2 people to make a baby.

Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

Christie: Well, isn't that obvious? Look at how rare it is to hear about a mother not paying child support. They BOTH made the baby, but the woman is the one stuck supporting it while the man runs around and starts new families.

mefirst 8 years, 10 months ago

No license...great excuse not to work. Child support will NEVER get paid.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

someone also thought military duty for those who won't work - cleaning latrines.

This bill may not be the answer, but it is better than nothing.

But I still like the billboard idea.

MarkyDSaad 8 years, 10 months ago

does anyone know the actual statistics of how many women who no longer have custody have to pay child support and how many do?

MarkyDSaad 8 years, 10 months ago

I thought it was great how Confrontation referred to the baby as an "it"

"stuck with it" actually

Like it was the plague or something

I am glad that Confrontation is not my parent

hockmano 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm with you confrontation! It's a man's world! The men screw up everything and the women have to take care of all the dirty work! I don't think taking away driving privileges is going to change anything! As usual, it's the children that get the worst end of the deal. Oh, and birth control is not 100% effective. That's for all you smart males out there that don't practice safe sex!

YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 10 months ago

I know the mom in this story and she certainly doesn't live off of the system. She works every day like we all do and pays her bills on her own.

I'm also another mom who doesn't get any child support and there is a court order in place. When dads/moms know how to get around the system from paying child support they will do it.

Heres my motto............ When child support happens to show up it " Comes In ", but I certainly do not consider it and part of my " Income ".

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

bankboy..I sure hope you never end up divorced and having to go through anything like this. You have become one of the biggest judgemental a** lately. How can you even to presume that this child isn't being supported by a very loving dad? How can $180 support for two children? All you hard working single parents waiting on a child support check..be strong for your children and do the best you can. Great job to all those who are working and taking care of those babies. My hats off to you all..

coolmom 8 years, 10 months ago

i know people say that the moms spend the money unwisely etc and i have seen that but you could not be the custodial parent and raise a kid on 180. i wish that is what it cost per month to raise kids heck i wish it was double that i would still save money. heck you would have to save all year to pay for them to start school each year.

ladyleo 8 years, 10 months ago

I AM the mom in this story, and I have a couple of things that I would like to clear up. First of all, my youngest child has nothing to do with this. He is an absolute blessing and I wouldn't change anything as far as he is concerned. We have an amazing man and more friends than we can count in our lives, and even though the support I receive for him (and Lucas) is not financial, it is more than I could ever ask for.

Second, and this is mostly for "bankboy", I receive absolutely no help from the system, while my ex receives food stamps, cash AND medical. He has chosen to fake a mental illness in an attempt to be granted disability. He is allowed to live off the state (and potentially the govt) while I struggle on a daily basis. I don't understand how you could just assume that I live off of the system. You should know by now just how little of the story is actually told. I understand that this is your opinion, but I didn't appreciate the preconceived notion.

This is what I would like them to do to my ex. I think that he should be arrested (he's not working anyway, right?), given a job, taken to and from work, and not be let out until he pays all of it off. But, this will never happen. Why? Because since he's on state's assistance they can't touch him.

Now, you tell me how that's fair.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 10 months ago

ladyleo..bankboy assumes a lot of things on these forums based in his own bias all the time. Don't let him offfend you. He tries to act all rightous and better than others but he si a little man with an even littler IQ. If you have read any of his others posts you would understand. You know that slimy stuff you step on in a mud puddle that won't scrap off? That's him and I feel sorry for his wife. Unless she is made up just like all he tries to glorify. It is easy for him to make assumptions hiding behind a keyboard all the time. He is probably real pansy a^^ in real life. Keep doing a great job helping your boys know the love of a mother. I am prroud of you.

norm 8 years, 10 months ago

Child support monies need to be paid period.

However, a large aspect of the problem here in Kansas and why the State is #34 in it's collection abilities centers around how the program is administered.

I have from unimpeachable sources that SRS targets the low paying wage earner absent parents (male and female) rather than those parents who can afford legal counsel. Wh? The lawyers mire the collection process with paper work. If one can afford legal counsel, one can delay and even concoct "deals with the State workers who represent themselves as "lawyers".

So we as a State chase marginal wage earners while the "fat cat" (money wise and earnings wise) exploit the adversarily legal system which is the American court system. Meanwhile, we let loose those that can pay for a paid mouthpiece to "deal make".

As well, if you are about to be saddled with a child support order but you "know someone" or "are someone", these same state workers who are "lawyers" "work with you.". I have personal knowledge of support cases that lanquish in a state "lawyers" filing drawer due to the "connections" of the person who owes child support.

Further, SRS does NOT actively pursue those parents who throw up their hands as to the control of their teen age children and all but turn them over to the state to mind. These "children" can simply be verbal or they can be criminal. Irrespective, they're brought into state custody and the parents' of these minors seemingly never find their way to a court ordered child support obligation. And yet, these are the very parents who have admitted they have failed as parents and seek state intervention to "fix" the "child". Utter nonsense.

I support the pursuit of all active child support orders. However, when the "connected" avoid orders all together or have the dollar amount ordered reduced to the point of absurdity, I am compelled to look at the people that Gary Daniels lawds and gives permission to "deal make" and say "Phooey".

SRS needs to TARGET the high way earners who ARE findable and traceable but who have the money to pay for lawyers and deal with it such that there are NO DEALS. Any compromise needs that are made need to be responsible and not "airey fairy...."

I have been made aware of certain cases within just the Lawrence SRS where people who sould be paying child support because they sought to put their child in Foster Care or the Juvenile Justice System have been able to AVOID not only PAYING child support....but who have avoided Court action because the SRS "lawyers" have elected to NOT pursue the cases......should I post the names and situations?

norm 8 years, 10 months ago

....continuation from above:

Furthermore, there are those situations where the SRS "lawyers" (mostly all female) have elected to concoct a "deal".....typically with husband/wife teams or "single mothers" ......all who earn a MORE than adequate living.....such that the "deal" excludes a bunch of the parents' income.

There are other situations within SRS where milk toasty "social workers" ORDER the child enforcement section of SRS to NOT pursue a child support order or the collection on an already existent order because doing so ".....gets in the way of reuniting the family....".

From my world, a bill is a bill is a bill....."; particularly when it's a bill to the state and the People of the state of Kansas. Amen.

However, it's the norm around here to look the other way and go after the child support owing parent who works a minimum wage job and struggles themselve to just keep their own head above water. It's the norm....we ARE in Kansas, Toto.

angel4dennis 8 years, 10 months ago

Ladyleo, I totally agree with you on this subject. I myself have a 12 year old that I have always supported without the help of my ex-husband or the system. He currently is over $3000 behind in support. He also is on welfare with food stamps and a mental illness claim and he is trying to get on disability, which in turn would actually benefit me. However, my money pays for his disability so I would just be paying myself. I read your response and wondered if we have the same dead beat. If you know Italian Princess, get ahold of her, she knows me and my email address.

For those that are curious, I also have re-married and we have 3 children that is not receiving child support from the MOTHER! She was working and dodging support payments every chance she gets. It does happen but not talked about too much because everyone focuses on the Dads. I love the idea about the license plates being revoked and I agree with the cigs/alcohol not being purchased. If they can afford a $4.00 pack of cigs, that $4.00 should be given to the parent and child. I have also found in my cases that the employers themselves are not always co-operative in garnishments.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

It's rare to hear about women who don't pay their child support because, in the grand majority of cases, the woman is given custody of the children...there are, of course, exceptions.

Ladyleo...if your ex does get disability, you can kiss any possibility of child support goodbye for as long as he's on it...even though you can take him to court and get a judgment against him, you can't force someone on a fixed income, who is receiving government assistance, to pay child support.

My daughter was with a guy once who was on disability...his ex gf claimed he was the father of her child, and took him to court...a paternity test proved that he WAS the father, but nothing else was ever done. Since he was on disability, they wouldn't enforce anything.

williamhmee 8 years, 10 months ago

In New Mexico, the Child Support Enforcement Division suspends Driver's Licenses as a "wake-up" call. Then we negotiate a settlement to pay down an arrearage or delinquency. Sometimes there are unknown reasons why a non-custodial parent cannot pay (job loss for example). 14% of our NCPs are WOMEN.

We are prohibited from using the term "Deadbeat Dad." The NCP and the CP are both "customers" to us; not clients, or burdens, or a waste of our time.

We have a law that states that we neither represent the CP or the NCP and we represent the best interests of the State of New Mexico, which is the quality of life of the child.

We try not to get trapped in the mindsets of the past.

We have Governor Bill Richardson's "Fresh Start" Arrears Management Program, which is trying to make the payments fair to the NCPs and increase income to the CPs. It is sometimes walking a fine line, but we have been able to do it. We "forgive" our interest balances which sometimes top $25,000.00 if someone is in the AMP. If you have a New Mexico case (ONLY), for more info call: 1-888-293-0825 toll free.

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