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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy Child Support Arrears Preventing Passport Issuance

    I have an urgent and dire situation I am hoping to get some advice about.

    First let me say that I am not a deadbeat and voluntarily entered into a support agreement which exceeded the child support standards act nearly 12 years ago. I am an unemployed executive in the technology field, and paid my support obligations religiously up through 22 months ago when I lost my job through no fault of my own. I have been unable to obtain re-employment as these are the worst economic times since the great depression, I have applied for hundreds of jobs and done everything to obtain re-employment without luck. There are simply no executive positions in my field and the few that are posted receive thousands of applicants. I have a applied for lower level jobs but my rusty hands on IT skills are no match for younger applicants who's hands on skills are up to date. I have had extremely limited success trying to do odd consulting jobs in between job searching.

    I have exhausted all of my financial reserves and started falling into arrears which now exceed $12k and are growing monthly at ~$1500. I made multiple applications for a child support relieve but they were all rejected by the family court saying my job loss (which was through no fault of my own and I have proved this) is not justification for a downward modification. I am now facing civil contempt proceedings for non-payment, yet the court ironically just appointment me legal aid defense after months of my pleadings that I could not afford an attorney.

    I have a potential consulting job at the executive level in hand but the kickoff meeting is being held internationally. I fear I will not be able to renew my expired passport to go. it's likely this will materialize into a full time job perhaps even on par with the one I lost 2 years ago. How can I get a passport? Will my renewal request be denied if I attempt to get one via the passport office? I am beside myself because I am striving to do the right thing and make a living and this is a great opportunity that I have been hoping would come along for some time and fear it will end in professional embarrassment with my having to decline due to passport denial. What can I do? The trip is coming up this weekend, the potential employer already booked me for travel. I tried calling the court and the CS collections agency, no one has a clue as to what I can do. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    If the trip is coming up this weekend, about all you can do is to use a passport expediting service to try to get your passport renewed within the next few days.

    If you have been certified by the HHS as ineligible for a passport due to child support arrearages, it's highly unlikely that anything can be done by next weekend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    Thanks for your speedy reply. Do you know what the chances are that I am on the HSS passport denial list? I suppose I can just do the expedite renewal request and find out. I can't find the proper words to tell everyone how frustrating this is. I fail to see how denying folks passports helps, it actually impedes decent folks from many possible employment options. I would take a job overseas if I could to make money in my profession.

    Something should be done to change the system...it is flawed and actual makes me angry as opposed to coercing me to pay with monies I do not presently have. I should note that I am remarried for over ten years with two young daughters at home. I am no flight risk, just striving to earn a living.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    I am in the same boat as you are, Ibny. My ex-girlfriend took my son and all my stuff when I was at work in the year 2000 and she filled support. I tried to do everything and the courts would not budge; saying that I didn't have to know where the child was and I didn't have to take a paternity test to prove I'm the father; just pay. I did until I kept going through job after job. I've been married for the past two years and have two children "one from the marriage and one not". I finally got a position in the UK that will pay me 90,000 pounds. Enough money to pay the arrears and live happily ever after. But I have to get a passport and then go to the UK Embassy in California. I hope that everything goes well and I do get the passport. Not all people duck responsibilty; they just fall on hard times. I hope that you do make it and hope that I do as well. Maybe the system will change for the betterment of fathers that do want to try instead of condeming them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    Sadly, I was unable to go on the trip and the employment opportunity I worked for months to line up is lost with a good measure of personal embarrassment. I am not sure I am content waiting for enough people who are running this ill conceived family law system to have the system inflicted upon them to initiate change, something must be done to fix this proactively. My passport was denied without due process, I say it's unconstitutional. Perhaps if enough of us decent people whose lives are being wrecked by this system were to band together, positive change could be had over time. I would welcome any thoughts folks might have in this regard.

    In 4 weeks I face a civil contempt proceeding with the risk of jail time for non-payment of legal fees awarded to my ex as a result of my petitioning for a downward modification of child support. My income has been practically zero for 21 months, I am now legally insolvent, and the ex sends the kid to an $8000 luxury teen tour, and all I do is ask some relief given that I can not afford it through unforeseen changes in my circumstances that were not my fault, and they pile the teen tour fees into child support and add on $9k+ in legal fees. I am appealing Pro Se but my appeal will likely not be ruled on until after the contempt proceedings. I feel like I have 3 options.... show up at the local jail in an orange jumpsuit, find a way to leave the country and evade the system in essence becoming a fugitive (not really an option, I have a new family and elderly family members who need me), or dedicate years of my life an resources to fighting an ill conceived horribly flawed system with little chance of changing it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    I'm sorry to hear that, Ibny. With the stories that I'm hearing, it makes me not want to go Monday and apply for a passport. I believe the state of Florida was the one that issued my CS order and transfered it to NJ. But with all that, it's just a issue of confusion. I don't live in NJ, me and my family had moved to Arizona two years ago and with the opportunity of a lifetime presented to me; the passport might be my downfall. I never received anything from any courts that my drivers license was suspended or I am going to jail for nonpayment. I did received a letter in the mail about a year ago at my in-laws' house saying that since me or my son's mother didn't go to court (Which I got that letter one month after the court hearing and my son's mother is in no way trying to be found or in NJ) that my CS was reduced (still have to pay arrears). I find this absolutely strange but I'm trying to do whatever I can to try and resolve this. If I get denied, I will contact anybody and everybody I have to in order to get to London on April 5th for my job. Wish me luck and I will do the same for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    H.K. I shall wish you luck. I spent many fond months working in the UK for my US based firm earlier in my career and was targeting the UK as a location for potential employment until my passport mess came about. its just nuts that the system is actually hurting decent folks by limiting the area they can seek potential employment to cover their support obligations as given how poor the US economy has been regarding jobs, at least in my industry more executive level opportunity exists abroad IMHO.

    Now back to your situation, I tried and was unable to find out in advance whether or not I was on the passport denial list, all of my research indicated that it was still ruled as unconstitutional to deny someones passport renewal without due process, even for child support arrears, it's why I made the attempt to get the passport myself, I received a notice a month or so earlier and objected to it requesting a hearing....well so much for that, I have all the proof that I challenged being on the list and guess what, no hearing, no due process and when I call to protest, all you do is get a $7 per hour call center employee who reads from their "angry non custodial parent playbook". I also understand that newly issued passports these days have small RFID chips inside to with this technology, one could technically receive the passport, an have it "turned off" at some point in the future. I am not sure if they are doing this for child support passport denials or not, but it is now technically possible.

    Our basic rights to freedom that this country has been founded upon are being trampled upon... either the system has to change, or we can add this to the list of reasons why the US is on the decline in world standing IMHO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    You hit the nail on the head, Ibny. Our freedoms are slowly being dragged right out from under our feet. It is unconstitutional to deny a person, any person a passport for being in the "arrears". I think they want a reason to keep people in this country; since they need people to build it back up again. Problem with that is, at what cost do you just "make" people stay; give them better paying jobs, better health insurance incentives, changing the laws? It's trivial, very trivial. I was telling my wife that I had hundreds of interviews; most were two, three and four interviews with the same company and I didn't get the job for many reasons. But, I apply to the job in London and in one week, I got it; go figure.

    I had called the necessary people to find out about my passport issue and come to find out, I am on the denial list. I called a couple of case workers and even the state one so I can get a payment arrangement done so wish me luck on finding out if they will release me off the list.

    Just hang in there my friend and I will do the same. Just don't give up. Don't let this twisted system break you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Child Support Arrears Passport Dilemma

    Unfortunately, I came on this late, but I can tell you from experience that they will not take you off the list if you are in a "Uniform Family Act" state. Even though the text of the State Department policy says that consideration will be made "..if payment arrangements" are made- in other words if your arrears that came up as part of not knowing about a child are rolled into your current monthly payment- you will not be taken off the list in these states until the balance is under $2500. It surprises me that no one has started action against Section 51.70 (a) (8) of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations. With the requirement to have a passport to travel just about anywhere now- I have received a great deal of trouble for flying without passport even in the U.S.- it seems to me honest people should be standing up against this Draconian regulation.

    Any law eagles around that want to take this up?

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