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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    2

    Default My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Washington
    I am the mother and non-custodial parent of 3 children; 23, 25 and 28. The divorce was final in 2006. All 3 of them are college graduates with jobs. I owe arrears of $17,000 and the state has, in the past, suspended my driver's license and just recently found me in contempt of court for failure to pay child support. I will add that I do pay when I am working, but due to health reasons, I no longer have a job and have filed for disability. For the last year the court has me on "Probation", with pay or appear hearings weekly. I have had to sell personal items or borrow to make the payments and stay out of jail. I remarried in 2014 and as a result of this court action, my husband and I have separated so I now have ZERO income. My children are helping me make the payments so I don't go to jail or get my license suspended again. My children are paying their own support! This is insane! I will also add that my court appointed attorney told me I apparently signed a statute of limitations waiver. I have never signed one. The only reason I am not the custodial parent is that my ex husband made me leave the family home (which was owned by his parents) and his attorney (which they hired for him) argued that since I had no home I should not have my children. I could not afford an attorney to fight this. I am a good mother and I love my children. This is hard for them and they do not want this order enforced. They have no contact with their father. Would it do any good for my children to appear at the next hearing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    RTR/WDE
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    1,696

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    No. Child support is owed to the parent, not the child for support of the child.
    Don't make me quote Monty Python at you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,647

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    As boorenie stated, the money is owed to the other parent, not the children. Second, this is past due child support. You’ve owed this for at least five years already. If your children wish to assist in you paying this, it is up to them. They are simply aiding you in paying your debt.

    If the other parent doesn’t choose to release you from the debt, it’s their choice. They surely are not obligated to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    2

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    I realize this. How can I pay a debt with no money? So they take my license and throw me in jail, how does that help anyone? My ex makes very good money and has always had his parents money in addition. He NEVER had to struggle to take care of those children. Here I am, the mother who gave birth to them, stayed home with them, was their mother AND father while he was gone every day from 5:00 am to 10-11 p.m. I will add that they were in their teens when we divorced, not babies. Thank you for your reply, though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,967

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    The trouble with arrears is that the interest rate makes the balance grow faster than you can pay it down if you are paying small amounts.

    My son is in the same boat. He owed $6500 in 2001. Now he owes over $9000 even though he has paid over $2100 through wage garnishment and interception of tax refunds. My son is 49 and his daughter is 26. Because of other mistakes he is homeless and unemployable except for day labor cash jobs. The state doesn't care that he has no money just as the state doesn't care that you have no money.

    I sympathize with you but the harsh reality is that if you ever want to get out from under this, your 3 adult children will have come up with enough money to pay off the arrears once and for all. Otherwise you'll find your disability benefits going to pay your arrears. SSDI is subject to attachment though I don't know to what extent.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,963

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    You can take your kids to the hearing if it will make you feel better. It won't do any harm. It won't do any good, though, because the arrears is not owed to them - it's owed to their father, and he is the only one who can waive it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,038

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    I realize you said your children have no contact with their father. Unfortunately, their father is the only one that can release you from this. It might not hurt for your children to try and approach their father about this.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: My Kids Are Paying My (Their) Arrears to Keep Me Out of Jail

    Quote Quoting leslied65
    View Post
    Would it do any good for my children to appear at the next hearing?
    Not really sure what you have in mind. If you're asking whether the court will forgive your arrears just because your kids are paying on your behalf and you're "a good mother and . . . love [your] children," the answer is no.

    If I were you, I'd try to find a way to get a loan to pay this off. That would get the courts off your back and, if you eventually find yourself unable to pay the loan, a loan can be discharged in bankruptcy, whereas child support obligations cannot.

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
    View Post
    their father is the only one that can release you from this. It might not hurt for your children to try and approach their father about this.
    Concur.

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