Contest And Amend Child Support Arrearages

by Kelly White
(San DIego, CA, USA)

In September of 1996, I lost my job due to illness and my 2 sons went to live with my ex-husband's sister until I could get back on my feet. In November of 1996 she took me to court for temporary custody(which I was agreeable to) and the judge ordered me to pay $375 per month to her for child support. I was ill a lot and was a waitress part-time not even making that much money. In January of 1997, my ex-husband was killed and so the sister was able to collect social security for the boys on his behalf.

In either March or April of 1997, I took her back to court to have custody returned to me, and at the same time she had a show cause hearing for why I hadn't paid her any support. At that time, the judge awarded custody to be returned to me at the end of the school year in June, and he granted me visitation every other weekend with my sons, and he dismissed the show cause for not paying the support.

In June of 1997, I picked up my children as the court ordered and my children remained in my custody until July of 2000. During the period I had custody, the support order for my sister-in-law, was not only not dismissed for when she had custody, but support enforcement never stopped the original order even when I had custody. I wrote a letter and contested it and never received a response.

In July of 2000, my children went from San Diego (where we were all living at that time) to VA to visit my family for Summer. I was informed they were not coming home and were going to live with my brother in Virginia Beach,VA. I was not happy about this at all. I was given a court hearing in November of 2000 for custody to be given to my brother and his wife. I rescheduled the hearing, but was unable to attend the court hearing because I didn't have the money to fly to VA.

I was not working, and suffered from severe depression and anxiety from the separation of me and my children and my husband at that time, left me and threw my out of our home when he left for deployment with the navy.
I never received any further correspondence from the court in Va about custody or support.

I was so emotionally and mentally screwed up and I was using drugs to medicate myself. I had no income until March of 2004 and I was only making $10 per hour. After paying $500 for the room I rented, there was very little left.
I did have like $600 in a savings account and it was attached for support. I was never given any order to pay child support, nor was I ever given any further orders regarding custody.

In 2004, my youngest son returned to San Diego to visit and didn't want to leave so he stayed for approx. 4 months. I lost my job and apartment and so he returned to VA. From November 2000 until my sons were no longer eligible, my brother received $630 in SS income for their father's death.

Both of my children dropped out of high school, and at the age of 16 and 17, were not even living with my brother. They were staying with different friends. When my oldest son was 17, he came back to live with me in April of his senior year, and never has returned to VA. My youngest son also moved back here a year later when he was 17 and hasn't returned.

During the time that they were in VA and after they returned back to CA to live with me, my wages were garnished at several jobs for support arrears. My tax refund has also been taken. I am now in an automobile lawsuit with an ins company as the injured party and will possibly receive settlement for my injuries and have just been notified that any money that I am awarded, will be levied for support.

They are alleging I owe over $27,000. I do not think this is fair!! I never even wanted my children there in the first place, and was not in financial condition to fight it. I can prove that I had virtually no income, and I was never served with an order to pay child support or do not even know what the amount was I was supposed to allegedly pay. What can I do about this? Please can anyone help me? Thank you.

Comments for Contest And Amend Child Support Arrearages

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Child Support Questions
by: Child Support America Staff Member

Dear Kelly,

Thanks for sharing your situation with us. We do have some information that may help you.

In July of 2000 when you did not attend the scheduled court hearing in VA, a court order was more than likely set that day. Custody and a child support order could have been set because the court considered you a "No Show. You said that you rescheduled but never mentioned that you did actually attend a court hearing, thus meaning an order must have been placed at that time, or at another hearing.
If the court did not have a current address for you at the time you would have never been served with any official papers. Legally they can try a few times and if no response they will consider you served. Even if you never received the actual papers.

If they were able to attach $600 from your savings account then they must have placed a lien on any of your accounts. If they are offseting your taxes there are child support orders coming from somewhere. That could not be done without a court order.

Unfortunately, you are going to owe the arrerages. Even though you had no income at the time, your payments still would be owed and you would have been required to request a modification at that time.

You could go to an attorney for a free consultation and see if legally there would be anything that could be done. Have you tried contacting VA child support and requesting a payment history account or a copy of the court order?

** Please when responding back to us, put V.I.P. Member in the title so we will respond to your question in a timely manner. **


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