Checking Account Raided For Back Child Support Arrears
by Keith Jones
I'm far from a "deadbeat dad," having done all I can to keep up with monthly $1,700 spousal/child support payments since divorcing in June 2007. I spend regular time with my daughter and have paid some $41,000 of $58,000 owed, to date. I've done this through loss of job and an 18 month unemployed period and loss of two homes due to the housing market crisis.
I've been making payments on an as-able basis, but learned recently that wages from my job as a federal employee would begin to be garnished. This I had expected and was in the process of adjusting to...
...when yesterday I checked my on-line personal checking account with Key Bank and saw that $2,400 had been deducted and paid to the Ohio Child Support Payment Central by the county agency that handles my case, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency (ph. no. 216-443-1431).
This is all the money I have to live on. Checks I'd written recently for rent, utilities, etc. will bounce and fees will be assessed by the bank. What's worse is that my car is in the shop and I'd planned on using $800 of the balance to get my only source of transportation back today. In short, making my financial situation more difficult and expensive will only serve to provide less money for my spousal and child support obligation.
Is it legal for funds to be drawn directly from a personal checking account with a private bank? Garnishment of wages I understand and have read 42 USC Sec. 659 that provides for this for federal employees.
My ex-wife and daughter have what they need and are more comfortable than I at this time, as I assumed much of the debt and expenses from our divorce. This action will definitely affect my ability to continue to work, earn and satisfy my obligations. Also, I don't know if this deduction will happen automatically every time I allow a balance to sit in my checking account.
Any insight and assistance you're able to provide is greatly appreciated.