In Your Corner: Child Support

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Dec 12, 2008 at 11:16 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's Newscenter)--
Laura Gerber's story is far too common around the country, the Decatur mother is owed nearly 21-thousand dollars in child support
Laura Gerber "all I want is help, for someone to make him pay"
A court ordered the father of her son to pay 86 dollars a week, but after a year the payments stopped, the last check she received back in May for 10 dollars and 80 cents. As is often the case, the children pay the price when support doesn't arrive. Laura's high school aged son is now working part time to help pay for clothes and school lunches.
Meridith Jones is also in the group of thousands of Hoosier parents that count on support being put on a state issued credit card each month.
In her case the money came faithfully for 4 years, but she hasn't received anything for nearly 4 months.
Meredith Jones- That's groceries, the electric bill, shoes and when you don't get it it puts strain on your budget"
In each county, the prosecutor's office is responsible for enforcing child support orders, Allen County's Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mike McAlexander told us there a handful of people that owe 6 figure amounts currently, his office has 40-thousand child support cases with half of them active right now, 25 years ago they collected 362-thousand in support, last year that number skyrocketed to 40-million
"The hardest part if finding them and some are irresponsible, it's discouraging and it's frustrating"
The courts can garnish wages from either parent and they're allowed to take 55 percent of a person's income. Some courts require offenders to make support payments in jail, while others don't. All counties face a similar challenge in that their case workers struggle to keep up with the volume of cases, that's why it's critical for the individual to help in the collection effort
'the spouse knows the family and if we can get that information it's critical to us"
Since we shot the story several weeks ago, the man responsible for paying Laura Gerber has been jailed out of state, which means Laura won't receive anything until he gets out. In Meridith's case, the prosecutor's office is showing unemployment, so she'll likely see monthly payments less than what the court has ordered. Governor Daniels recently spearheaded an effort that will take away hunting and fishing and driving licenses for those who are delinquent on their child support.>

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