Friday, May 29, 2009

Rant #21: Who Supports Those Who Pay Child Support?

Finally, after checking with Albany, the capital of New York State, for the umpteenth time, my child support notice came into my workplace, so I am officially finished with my child support payments. After more than 18 years of having this money taken out of my earnings, my paycheck will finally reflect my salary, not less what I pay for this support each week.

To get this done in as timely a manner as possible--it has been two weeks since my daughter turned 21--I had to use my own checks and balances system to make sure that Albany was doing what it should have been doing--and no, they weren't.

I discovered this early on, when one of their representatives gave me a very hard time, lied to me about sending out the notice, and was completely unruly on the phone. The second representative I got when I called a few days later was nice, but basically paid me lip service, and did not send out the notice (I don't know if the notice we did receive came from her or from the next person I spoke to).

Finally, I called a third time, and whether it was through him or the previous person, the notice came to my work today. I am ecstatic ...

Well, almost 100 percent ecstatic.

Let me explain. Several years ago, when my payments started to go through Albany (ordered by the court as a way to put a buffer between myself and my ex-wife, as I had been actually handing her a check each week), I was told that it would be in my best interests to set up an account with the state, so if, for some reason, payment from my employer came late to them, they could use the money in the account to make a seamless payment to my daughter through my ex-wife. This actually happened a few times for whatever reason. Once money was taken out, it would be replenished.

The account was interest bearing, meaning that whatever money was in there would accrue interest for the length of time I had the account. Since I have had the account for more than a decade, the interest might provide a tidy sum at the end of my responsibility.

Well, the end is now, and I checked up on this. I found out that the state is only obligated to pay me whatever overpayment I made for child support (one week) and the principle in the account. Whatever interest accrued goes to--

The custodial parent with physical custody (I have joint custody, but not physical custody), which is my ex-wife!

I questioned this and I was told that a reimbursement such as this will never include interest.

Now remember, I have been paying taxes on my child support since day one, have not been able to declare my daughter as a dependent, and have not had a clue about how my child support was being used for my daughter's upkeep. When I was briefly out of work in the mid 1990s, the state took two-thirds of whatever money I had coming in for support, and I had to pay back what I "owed" when I became employed (no, I am not a wealthy person, by the way).

Now, they hit me with this nonsense, which I can tall you was never explained to me when I set up the account.

Yes, Albany loves to stick the knife in and turn it counterclockwise.

When I was on the phone and found this out, I decided right then and there not to ask about exactly how much interest had accrued. I didn't want to aggravate myself even more than I was.

I guess the main thing is that this nightmare is finally over--although, obviously, the financial support I provide for my daughter continues.

But you know what? It's better to want to help out than be forced to pay out as a form of punishment for a marriage that failed. I always felt like I was being blamed for this failure, rather than both of us bearing this responsibility.

So be it. I am done!

(By the way, the poster that I have included in this rant has nothing to do with me--I just put it in to show that guys like this--and any gals out there who pull this crap--should be locked up for failure to pay their support. However, when you use support as a punishment tool, you are going to have people running away from their obligation. Laws should be changed so such payments are not punitive.

Anybody who says they aren't the way things stand now is an idiot, just plain ignorant, or both, plain and simple.)

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