Hey all, been a min, the brother was busy with work, life and all things storm related over at crackberry.com so I have neglected my own site.. Saw this article and even though I dont have kids I found the system fucked up..
A slumping economy affects our lives in many ways And this week’s question comes from someone who says he’s doing his best to stay out of jail and support his kids.
Marshall Coe of Monticello wants to know what happens to your child support payments when you lose your job because of the economy.
Marshall’s not alone in this situation. Forty-two percent of parents who pay child support are behind on their payments according to the Office of Child Support Services. Not all because of the economy, but the office says its something they’re seeing more of.
Coe spends 50 hours a week looking and applying for jobs. He worked for the same civil engineering and surveying company for 12 years, until February when they laid him off.
“Our company was around 25 or 26 employees, but now I think it’s downsized to maybe seven or eight employees,” he said.
Coe’s wife filed for divorce two years ago. Their 18-year-old son lives with him and she has their 15-year-old daughter.
“My children are my reason for breathing and living. They’re the love of my life,” he said.
He says he’s struggling to pay child support for his daughter. He lives off unemployment while he searches for work, that’s $320 a week. He says he always paid the $276 a month he and his wife agreed upon. But at a hearing after he lost his job, a judge ordered him to pay based on what he’s capable of making. Now he owes $660 a month.
“I’m not trying to walk out on my kids or neglect them or anything of that nature… I just want it to be fair,” Coe explained.
Kristi Stone works for the Office of Child Support Services. She says she’s familiar with Coe’s dilemma.
“There are a lot of people out there that are losing their job due to the economy,” she said.
She says Child Support Services calculates the amount of child support someone should pay and gives the paperwork to the judge, but he can order whatever amount he sees fit.
Coe has sold most of his furniture and kitchen appliances to continue paying what child support he can. He heats his home with wood from a friend and hopes he can avoid jail, until he finds a job that pays.
Coe says he’s exhausted every angle to try to get change in his case, with no luck. But Kristi Stone says there are several things you can do if you’re in a similar situation.
She says communication is key. Keep in touch with the Office of Child Support and let them know any time you lose your job or change jobs.
If you’re having trouble finding a decent paying job, you can enroll in the office’s Fatherhood program. They can help you get a GED, learn skills, and place you in a job. Since 1998, they’ve helped 16,000 participants get jobs.
If you’d like to change your child support payments, you can request a review and modification by the Child Support Office. They could adjust what they suggest you pay, but ultimately a judge decides.
Stone says if you’re frustrated and have questions, don’t hesitate to call your Child Support Office. She says the worst thing someone can do is stop communicating and fall off the radar.