Non-custodial parents across the U.S. owe more than $100 billion in back child support, according to a report recently released by the federal Office of Child Support Administration.
Our Highland child support lawyers understand that some $2.3 billion of that can be traced back to the Hoosier state, with 95 percent of the cases involving dads who aren’t paying.
For those who are owed child support, it’s important to know that hiring an attorney to help with the process can be beneficial for several reasons.
An attorney can file for many of the same actions against a deadbeat parent that government agencies do, including garnishment of wages, requesting license suspensions, filing for property liens and requesting a contempt of court order. However, the difference is that an attorney can help you bypass some of the red tape that is involved when you attempt to navigate the process on your own through the Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Support Bureau.
It’s particularly important in light of a new investigative report by ABC-6 in Indianapolis. Reporter Kara Kenney learned that state and local agencies spent more than $83 million during the most recent fiscal year to enforce and collect child support payments. These are agencies, like the civil divisions of sheriff’s departments, that are already cash-strapped and operating on limited resources.
In a single day when Kenney road along with a sheriff’s department team from Marion County, deputies were grappling with a stack of $263,000 in unpaid child support.
The state has set up a website to help track down the “Most Wanted Child Support Evaders.” Of the 18 listed, the payments range anywhere from $10,000 to $157,000.
One of the problems is actually getting the support order. It’s not a difficult process per se, but the issue is getting both parents there.Typically, all that is required is a paternity test and a brief analysis of the non-custodial parent’s income sources. From there, a formula is applied to determine how much the individual owes per child.
The bigger hurdle is enforcement. ABC-6 reported that the state of Indiana has fallen to 41st in the country in child support enforcement.
Plus, as the Marion County chief deputy prosecutor was quoted as saying, the courts are filled to the brim with cases, so there is a considerable amount of lag time as it relates to the backlog. In just that county, for example, the system handles more than 70,000 cases with about 80 full-time employees. That breaks down to about 875 cases per employee.
Several caseworkers are managing loads of several hundred each.
A number of custodial parents worry about the ability to afford an attorney to help fight their case when they’re fighting to make ends meet. But for many parents, they can’t afford not to. Relying solely on the state could mean you might wait months or years to see progress on your case. We are committed to producing results for you as quickly as possible.
Indiana Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce and child custody matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
Child support $2.3 billion problem in Indiana, Department of Child Services says, Nov. 9, 2012, By Kara Kenney, ABC-6
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