This is my personal story that will outline the corruption within the child support system that I have faced each and every day since 2004.
I have a 15 year old daughter that was born in 1993. Unbeknownst to me, my ex-wife collected welfare in 1993 and 1994 while we were living as a couple in the same house. I came to find out later that this is welfare fraud. It is this fraud that has caused me a great deal of grief and strife in my life.
I went about my life since my daughter's birth. My ex and I divorced in 1994 and I went on to be an electrical contractor where I had to take a State exam for the state license. I had a driver's license and a couple other professional licenses as well.
I gave up on electrical contracting and went on to become a police officer in another state in 1998. When you become a police officer, the police department runs a criminal history on you to verify that you have never been in any type of trouble. That inquiry leaves the equivalent of a paper trail and a receipt number is permanently made a part of your criminal history along with the reason for the inquiry. Some may be wondering why I am saying this. Don't worry; it will all tie together in a little while.
I worked as a police officer and decided to come home after about 7 years in 2005. When I returned, I turned in my old license to obtain my new state license and was told that I could not obtain the license because the child support department wanted to speak with me.
I went to the child support office and was told that they had a child support case against me for the welfare money that my ex collected in 1993 and 1994 and that that principal amount was approximately $7,500.00. I was told that "with penalties and interest" that the amount had grown to approximately $29,000.00. I told child support that I was always available and if they wanted to find me they didn't have to look very far. The case worker could have cared less. I could see it in his face, after all, I too was a public servant and I knew it when I saw it.
I had to take my case to court and was told by the judge "If child support says you owe $300,000.00 then that's what you owe". I told the judge that I was a police officer and that if they really wanted to find me that all they would have had to do is run my name in through the FBI computer. My ex-wife even knew I was an officer at that time. The judge wouldn't hear it, period.
I told the judge that I has always maintained a current driver license with a current address and had various professional licenses. The judge did not want to hear anything about the past penalties and interest. Again, the judge would not even listen. He abruptly interrupted me and told me that is was not important. Not important???
I have since found out that my ex was fraudulent in signing the welfare documents as they make you sign under penalty of perjury that the spouse or significant other is not living in the same household. She obviously lied.
I agreed to pay child support in the amount of $300.00 per month which was $50.00 more than I was paying before. The judge told me that I had to pay more money to get my driver's license back. Ok, I agreed, "just get me out of this courthouse" I thought.
I was still not working at this point because I had just arrived back to the state. I managed to get a part-time job for a couple of months from a friend which would financially hold me above water. I was still paying child support and after about 2 months, child support had suspended my license. I called the child support department and they had admitted to an error in the suspension. I got my license back in about 2 week's time. The part time job I had would not allow me to drive a company vehicle because I was not allowed to legally drive. I had to leave that job because of the license suspension.
About one year later, I decided to get back into law enforcement and was in the background process with a police department. My background investigator wanted to make sure that everything was ok with this civil child support case and verified it as such. My license was also in tact.
One thing that is worth noting here is that during that year from when I actually left my friend's business and the time when I actually started working for the police department, I was making some side money and always made my $300.00 month payment.
I was hired on with the police department in the beginning of 2006 and moved to the area where I would be working. The department, knowing full well that I had a child support issue, told me that I could never fall behind on my payments nor would it be a good idea to "inconvenience" the city for a wage garnishment. I immediately called child support and told them that I wanted to continue to send them the payments and that it wasn't a good idea to garnish my wages because it would be frowned upon by my employer. I told child support that even when I didn't have a job, I had always made my payments in a timely manner. Child support told me that they could not guarantee anything and that it is standard operating procedure to garnish wages.
Well, after two months, even though I was making my payments in a timely manner, child support had requested a garnishment of my wages from the department. This was NOT a good thing.
I was called into the Captain's office to explain WHY... WHY wasn't I making my child support payments. I explained to the Captain that child support would not give me any guarantees on not withholding my earnings. I was still very new at that department and I had started to feel like the management was forming their own opinions about whether I was truly making the payments or not. The Captain called child support and he was told that it was in fact their procedure to garnish.
Six months later, after child support was deducting their money like clockwork every 15 days, I was called back into the Captain's office. The Captain showed me my current driving record from the department of motor vehicles. I noticed that my driving status showed "Suspended". The date of the suspension on the department of motor vehicle printout was effective one month prior to my Captain finding out, which means that I was operating a city vehicle, AS A POLICE OFFICER, with a suspended license for one month.
I was forced to resign on the spot or face termination. I was told that unfortunately because I cannot control child support from "randomly" suspending my license that I could not stay on as a police officer. This sounds harsher than it actually was. I left on good terms and was told that if I could pay the arrears amount in full that I would be reinstated immediately. Unfortunately, I did not have $25,000.00 or $30,000.00 in my pocket. I also completely understood where the department was coming from.
While I was packing to move, yet again, child support ordered a bank levy and took approximately $1,000.00 from my bank account. Child support had just received a garnishment from my employer. What the heck??
I was unemployed for about 1 year after that. I didn't know what I could do. I could not get my contractors license back because it would also be subject to suspension. I had no driver's license, no income and no possibilities of anything more than a minimum wage job which was not an option for me. Marijuana was looking mighty good to me at this point. ;) (Just kidding - Hey, you've got to have a sense of humor about all of this or you will go crazy)
I managed to find a company where I thought I would fit in. I applied and went to two separate interviews. After the second interview, I was told that I had to pass a background investigation. I remember telling the manager that I wasn't worried because I had been a police officer and that police departments generally have higher standards than private sector jobs and that I was sure I would be fine. On my way out of that second interview, I was given a written offer of employment for a sizeable amount of money and that was pending this background investigation.
My telephone rang the next day and it was the manager from this company. He called to tell me that unfortunately I was not considered for the job because the company had looked at my credit history and deemed me to be a "Risk" due to all of the money that child support claims I owe.
I have been unemployed for almost 2 years now and haven't made a child support payment since I last worked at the police department. I unfortunately have to rely on family to pay bills and make ends meet.
Child support has managed to intervene in my life where they have absolutely no right to be. There was never a court that wanted to even listen to what I had to say.
The same tactics the German Gestapo employed in 1933 are the exact same tactics being used by the child support enforcement agencies today, where good and honest men are turned into criminals overnight while they sleep all because they have had a decrease in pay or have been fired from their jobs because of an inability to maintain a driver's license.
The true victim in all of this is my daughter because the courts and child support have effectively removed my civil rights and I cannot find work. With such a large debt that child support claims I must pay, it seems ironic to me that they will not afford me the right to work to actually pay the phony debt.