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Child support payments going to the wrong family

When a family goes through the divorce process, the children are typically impacted in several ways. Child custody decisions establish the parenting plan and how much time each parent spends with the children.

But in addition to a custody agreement, one parent will likely have to pay child support to the other parent who has primary custody of the children. Typically that money is intended to help the custodial parent pay for necessities such as food and clothing. But what happens when child support payments accidentally go to the wrong family?

One man discovered that the money being taken out of his paycheck was being given to another family. He had three daughters for whom he made child support payments. But when he got someone else's paperwork in the mail, he realized that the money may never have reached his children.

The mix-up was apparently due to the fact that another individual paying child support had a very similar name to the man. Initially when the man brought the problem to the attention of his state's child support services, they told him they would fix the problem. But the problem persisted.

Unfortunately, a consequence for failing to pay child support can be getting a driver's license suspended. Since records were showing that the man was failing to pay child support to his ex-wife, his driving privileges were taken away and he now has to appear in court. After bringing the problem up again, the director of child support services acknowledged that the situation was just a mess.

Now the problem is being sorted out by computer analysts. The man discovered that some of the money taken from his paycheck wasn't paid to anyone. Hopefully the problem can be fixed and the child support intended for his three daughters actually reaches them. But the man raises a good question: are others unknowingly being affected by computer glitches?

Source: KRDO News online, "Dad's Been Paying Another Man's Child Support," Lindsay Watts, 18 April 2011

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