Interstate Child Support Case
Right after our divorce in 2007, my ex-husband moved from Nashville, Tennessee (where our CS orders originated) to Naples, Florida. For some time, CS was taken from his paychecks via wage assignment as long as I was able to track him and his employers down and provide the information to CSE here in Tennessee. As time progressed, he became more savvy. He wilfully quit the jobs where child support was being taken out of his checks and where health benefits were being offered. He took jobs as a "contract employee" so that his employers wouldn't take child support out of his checks. Then he learned to take jobs that paid him in cash "under the table" so that his income wouldn't be reported.
It became increasingly difficult to locate him at all, much less find his employers. He claimed to be "searching for a job" day in and day out and really struggling due to the state of the economy yet he always had a place to live, a cell phone, food to eat, alcohol to drink, cigarrettes to smoke, money for bar tabs, a vehicle, and somehow has always made bond when he would get arrested for various crimes felony and misdemeanor crimes.
Since approximately October of 2010, he has paid no child support. I have tried desperately to locate him. He has family in the Naples, Florida area where he lived, but they say they can no longer locate him either. He has a working cell phone and still communicates with his family there in Naples (sometimes even via a land line).
He recently married a woman that his family claimed was trying to gain US citizenship. His family stated that he married her in return for a cash settlement so that she could become a legal US citizen. CSE has tried to locate him at the only known address for his wife but to no avail.
He and his wife no longer live together, but still remain married. Over the past several months, he has basically disappeared, at least in the verifiable sense. CSE says that they are unable to find a serviceable address for him and cannot serve him with contempt until they find a "good" addres for him. While nobody seems to know where he is living, his family still talks to him regularly.
They say that he is working, but they do not know where. His eldest sister has indicated to me on several occasions that if I ever needed to communicate with him I should send all communications to her address and she would get them to him. He seems to stay just out of reach of his family and the CSE offices.
At this point, my ex-husband is over $30,000 in arrears. At the time of
our divorce in Tennessee, he was given a $1,200 judgement for back child support which he never satisfied. I am in a terrible situation with this interstate child support case. Tennessee cannot do anything because he is a Florida resident now.
Florida will not work with me to find him and bring him to justice. They will only work through the Tennessee CSE offices. Each time my advocate here in Tennessee makes a contact with the State of Florida, we have to allow them 30 days to respond. When there is no response after 30 days, my advocate will contact them again, but we have to allow another 30 days for them to respond.
It is an endless and vicious cycle that gets me nowhere. This situation is a nightmare! While there are supposed to be Federal laws in place regarding enforcement of interstate CS cases, there are so many stiupations that the states are able to do little or nothing to enforce the case and get away with it.
It seems that Florida feels no real reason to locate this deadbeat because I am not living off of their state. I have even had a representative with CSE in Florida tell me that if I were a welfare recipient in Florida, they would work much harder to find my ex-husband and punish him. That is nuts!
Because I am a working single mother trying to provide for my family without government handouts, I am not going to get the same representation and agressivie enforcement actions that someone living on welfare would get??? Our system seems to be truly flawed!
I have spent hours upon hours of my time trying to assist both states in finding him so that he can either start being responsible for his two children and pay what he owes, or so that he can go to jail for wilfully neglecting his responsibility.
I am to my wits end. I have considered over and over again just giving up. I certainly do not and cannot rely on his support. We would have gone under long ago if I had. However, I have had to sell my home and most of my posessions to make ends meet because of his lack of support.
I have asked that Florida have a contempt order prepared to serve him so that the next time he is pulled over or arrested they can serve it to him. They indicated that they MUST HAVE a serviceable address to serve him personally before they can draw up the order for contempt.
I am so confused. I cannot understand how a man that is present by phone calls, arrests, marriages, communication with local family members, cell phone records, etc. can be so impossible to find by local law enforcement.