I was divorced in 1994, and was granted child support for three minor children. In 1995, my oldest child graduated from high school and was dropped from the child support. I and my two minor children then moved to Florida.
After moving to Florida my child support rarely arrived on time, sometimes it was four or five weeks between checks. When I did receive it, the amount was always different, sometimes less than $100, sometimes over $400. My court order was for a specific amount every week. It was impossible to budget when I never new if or when I was to receive a check, and how much the check would be. My creditors did not understand, or would not accept, that my payments were late because I was not receiving court ordered child support in a timely manner. Eventually, I fell so behind in my bills that I had to sell my home before it was foreclosed on, even though I was working aa steady job.
When my next child turned 18, he was still in high school, and was supposed to receive support until he graduated or turned 19 1/2. I contacted the court and they said I needed to supply documentation from the high school (copies of his registration, classes, and the expected graduation date). Once I finally got all of the documentation the child support was reinstated, although the checks still did not come on a regular basis, or in definite amounts.
My last child turned 18 in January 2003, and is still in high school. In December 2002 I faxed (and then mailed) all of the necessary documentation of her high school enrollment to both the Friend of the Court in Detroit, and the disbursement center in Lansing, stating that she was not to be dropped from the child support until graduation in May 2003. I requested confirmation that the proper office had received this documentation and that the child support would not be suspended. I never received any confirmation, and the child support was abruptly stopped in January 2003.
I tried calling the "800" number, and the local number, but as everyone knows you cannot talk to a person at Friend of the Court. In addition, when I called in January to get the status of my account, I got a message saying that the computer system was being worked on and no information would be available until after February 18, over a month later.
After February 18, I again called Friend of the Court and found out, on the recording, that I had a '0' balance in my account, which confirmed that the child support had indeed been suspended. I wrote another letter to Friend of the Court and the disbursement center, with copies of everything I had sent in December. I sent copies of this letter to both the judge that handled my original divorce and child support order, and the judge that handled my custody suit three years later. I also sent a letter and copies of all correspondence to date to a State Representative on the Child Support Service committee for the State of Michigan (Wayne County). I sent the letter to the Friend of the Court return receipt requested so I would be assured that they received it. I did receive the signed card back, but have had no response to my letters. I had also received no response from anyone else.
My daughter will graduate in May, and I could just let things drop, but I figure I would be shorted over $2,000 in child support. That would go a long way to help pay for further education, etc. for my daughter. Also, since the money has always been deducted out of my ex-husbands check, and he is aware that our daughter will not graduate until May 2003, I feel he should be well aware that the child support has ceased to be deducted from his pay. According to the original court order, he is still responsible to pay that child support, even if it is not deducted from his check. He obviously is aware it is not being deducted, if his check is more than usual, so he should have either informed his employer, the court, or his lawyer, or sent me the money directly. If he is not paying through the court, then the account should be shown in arrears for the time he has not paid.
I am at a loss as to what to do to receive my child support until May 2003. The Friend of the Court is impossible to communicate with by phone, fax or US mail. Since I live out-of-state there is no way to personnaly go to the Friend of the Court to speak to a representative. I can not affort a lawyer to look into this matter, but I make to much money to get Legal Aide. I have now been out of work for almost a year and a half, was told I was not eligible for Medicaid for my daughter, and we living with relatives until I find work. I really would like to get this resolved before she graduates so we can get on with our lives.
Another victim of the system