NJ Unfairly Treating Some Like Deadbeat Parents [AUDIO]
Not every parent ordered to pay child support is a deadbeat, but the State of New Jersey treats some like they are even when they are making good on the obligation.
This has spurred Assemblyman Ron Dancer to tackle the problem through legislation that establishes accuracy standards for child support wage garnishments.
"I actually had a constituent that brought this situation with child support garnishment to my attention," explains Dancer. "I'm telling you, it just pulled at my heart strings."
According to Dancer, the constituent went through a divorce, was ordered to pay child support and then he lost his job. The man borrowed money from his parents and sold personal assets because he loves his son and wanted to provide for him, but because he didn't have a job there was no wage garnishment from a paycheck.
"So, he applies for unemployment," explains Dancer. "He was up to date on his child support, but when the unemployment check came out big government already had its hand on his unemployment money for child support."
Federal law requires child support payments to be automatically deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck. This process makes it easier for the non-custodial parent to make payments while providing the custodial parent with timely benefits.
Wage garnishment may also be applied to Social Security, Disability, and Unemployment benefits.
"The payment of child support benefits is first and foremost about promoting the best interests of children," says Dancer. "While we sometimes hear reports of 'deadbeat' fathers or mothers who defy court orders to make payments, the vast majority honor their obligations. This measure is intended to ensure accuracy and fairness throughout the process for all parties."
A new bill introduced by Dancer requires the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to establish procedures to ensure that the total amount of income withheld from all sources for child support meets accuracy standards so that the total amount of support that is due is paid timely with no underpayments or overpayments. It also calls for AOC to establish procedures to refund overpayments.