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Karma Pays Child Support

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I am a single mom. I was married to the most wonderful drug addict my money could buy. After eight years of him cheating, lying, stealing, wrecking cars and disappearing for days on end, I decided that he was the man I wanted to marry. We were wed and immediately started to work on our family. Everything was wonderful and our glorious union lasted for three whole months. He moved to Ohio to be near his family and I stayed here to raise mine. I filed for Child Support when my daughter was two years old through Juvenile Court. Now, if you have ever had the pleasure of doing business with Juvenile Court you will know that what I am about to tell you is not at all exaggerated but a testament to our justice system.

Now, I married my ex in 1997 in Memphis, my daughter was born in 1997 in Memphis, my ex moved to Ohio in 1997 and I filed for child support in 1999 in Memphis. All communications with my ex from JC were sent to his address in OHIO. When he came here for court in 1999 he told the judge that he lived in OHIO. The support order was set and they even sent him a follow up letter in OHIO. Two years go by and I haven’t received even one partial payment. During those two years, I followed up with JC on a bi-monthly basis to find out why I wasn’t receiving payments and was told that my case worker would follow up on it. I finally spoke to (well, yelled at) the right person on the phone one day and was told that the reason nothing can be done is because he lives in Ohio and that I have to go back to court to file for an Interstate Enforcement. It was as if they didn’t realize that Ohio was another state when this all began and it never dawned on any of them to friggin’ tell me I had to request it be enforced in Ohio. I realize how stupid it was of me to assume that if the parent that is supposed to pay resided in ANOTHER STATE, the court would automatically try to enforce the order in that state. Noooooo, first I have to prove that Ohio exists on a map, then, I have to track down his last fifty addresses and phone numbers so they can locate him in a state that may or may not exist. I have to continually update my file with current information so that they know where to send the checks that I am not going to receive because he isn’t going to pay because they won’t enforce the order. Only my case worker can provide me with any information from the Ohio court but she isn’t reachable by phone, I can fax her. I am fairly certain that my case worker is either illiterate or blind because she never responded to the thirty faxes I’ve sent over the years. I can take off work and go down to the court house, sit in the waiting room for three hours to see her so that she can tell me she will “follow up on it.”

In February 2005, my ex finally went to court in Ohio. He explained to the judge that the reason he hadn’t paid a dime in five years was because he really felt that the $323 a month he’d been ordered to pay (and agreed to in court) was just too much for one child. What???? Too much for one child—it’s obvious that he doesn’t have a clue what it costs to raise a child these days. Clothes, food, daycare, glasses, shoes, school fees, insurance, medicine, field trips, four hundred school fundraisers a year of which I have to buy a bunch of crap I don’t need so that my child can get a $ .49 flashlight and not have to go to therapy. Not to mention small things like a roof, lights, heat and water. I can see where he would think that $3876 a year is a little steep . . . I guess the two children he has in Ohio are home schooled and malnourished and don’t have flashlights.

Meanwhile, in order for them to enforce payment in Ohio, they have to first, monitor payments—easy enough, he doesn’t pay. Second, they will garnish his wages—he gets paid in cash so garnishment can’t be enforced. We tried that from Memphis three years ago, guess someone up North should’ve read the file. 3rd, they will suspend his driver’s license – the one that was suspended years ago for a “traffic violation” that was never paid for either. And finally, they will put him in jail until the debt is paid. Let’s see, $323 X 64 months = $20,672 and in jail they make like five dollars a day. So, he should only have to serve around eleven years in order to pay off the debt to this point not including future payments that won’t be made while he’s in jail and not working. So, if my calculations are correct, while he is in jail paying off the last five years, he will accrue an additional $42,636 in monthly payments. After his eleven years, my daughter will be eighteen so he will no longer be liable for payments but he will still have to serve twenty-three years to pay off the accrued debt. You know, I guess when it’s all said and done, our Justice system does work. I get to spend eighteen years raising her, loving her and supporting her and he gets to spend 34 years in prison to pay for 8 percent of it. Seems fair . . . I’m going to fax my findings to my case worker to see if she can follow up.

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