The following was contributed by Mark Duffy of Colorado.
(As an educational addendum, go to this video. It’s a speech by a former Michigan child support enforcement officer named Carol Rhodes who makes it clear that experiences like Mark’s aren’t his alone. Indeed, they’re not even merely common; they’re the policies of child support enforcement agencies.)
In the closing months of 2007, I satisfied the arrears balance on my ex-wife”s residence to keep a roof over my children”s heads, and the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agency in Colorado suspended my driver”s license, closed my bank account, restricted my passport, garnished my wages, and retracted my credit.
I was unsure of what action to take when my former wife, who had the majority of parenting time with my children, fell behind on the mortgage. The mortgage was seven months behind and foreclosure proceedings were being administered. I paid the foreclosure balance on the residence while continuing to pay my child support obligation.
Unfortunately my former wife didn”t extend the same gratitude, and shortly after this occurred, she went to the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agency claiming that I wasn”t paying my obligation. I presented on numerous occasions documented support of every child support and maintenance payment made throughout our divorce and that my obligation now was now excessively overpaid with the inclusion of the additional mortgage payments.
Still, the technician, who maintained “godlike powers’ applied every remedy possible. Now without a bank account, license, ruined credit, and an employer that viewed me as a criminal, I eventually broke down and resigned from my staff accounting position. I had hoped to correct the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agencies mistakes and seek a resolution to the custody and occupancy for my children, with my former wife”s residence once again in foreclosure and ten months in arrears.
I endured over two years of continuous remedial actions and finally a vague review was conducted by the Jefferson County Commissioner, Faye Griffin. Her findings determined that I continuously made my obligated child support payments, that my obligation was overpaid, and that Magistrate Voisinet administered the foreclosure payments on my former wife”s mortgage to be applied to my maintenance obligation. Essentially, Faye Griffin was insinuating that if I had continued making the small consecutive maintenance payments instead of paying for the large foreclosure balance, and allowed my children to be evicted from the house they grew up in, that the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agency wouldn”t have applied any of the remedies.
However, even though the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agency was informed on several occasions of my pending litigation, they proceeded to apply a multitude of remedies. Currently, I”m overpaid once again on my child support obligation, and the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agency is slowly allowing me to retain some of my overpaid wages. I”m also awaiting mediation with the Jefferson County Child Support Enforcement Agency to discuss some of their conduct and procedures. The mediation as they have stated is to discuss the potential mistakes or errors that they could have made.
As for my former-wife, the financial institutions that held the mortgage on her home granted her a reduced interest rate to a 4% fixed rate for 30 years, applied the 20 months of unpaid mortgage on the back end of the loan, and the second mortgage was dissolved in a bankruptcy awarding her with equity. After several bouts in the Jefferson County Courthouse, I was graciously allowed more custody with my children, however only about a third of the year.