Monday, August 5, 2013
Help Me Howard: Child Support
A divorce can be bad, getting child support payments can sometimes be even worse. But one South Florida man was happy to pay his ex-wife to help care for their son. She was satisfied and the State of Florida, well it was one mans nightmare, which is why he called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
Brad Thaler: "It was hard for both of us. We tried to settle everything as amicably as possible."
But since the couple had a son, the divorce wasn't simple. Again they acted like sane adults.
Brad Thaler: "As friendly as two divorce people can be, sure we have our moments but overall we are better than some people."
In their divorce, Brad agreed to pay $894 a month in child support to help take care of their son.
Brad Thaller: "He is going to be six in October. He is the joy of my life. "I love him and I see him every week."
Then his ex-wife decided she wanted to move back to her country, Malasia. Brad agreed and since the cost of living is cheaper there, a judge lowered brad's child support. He then started paying $600 a month and that's when the trouble started.
Brad Thaler: "So they threaten me with all kinds of legal actions including suspending my license which they have done once."
For two years the state said Brad was not paying enough child support. That he now owed $7,300 in late payments. Brad has been to the Broward Child Support office to show they were wrong.
Brad Thaler: "Given them every piece of documentation they have ever asked for and nearly two years later, nothing has changed and they still say I owe more and more."
Brad says instead of listening to him, instead of reading the judges order, the state sent him letters.
Brad Thaler: "I would consider it borderline harassment."
Letters detailing what is going to happen if he doesn't send them the $7,300.
Brad Thaler: "They will suspend your driver's license, notify the IRS, they will put a mark on your credit report, they will suspended your professional licenses, they will issue a warrant for your arrest, my passport would be canceled."
Brad says after going thru all the paperwork, he actually discovered, instead of him owing money, he had overpaid the state.
Brad Thaler: "They owe me $494. They say I owe them $7,300, that's a lot of money."
But the child support people in Tallahassee and the enforcement people in Broward County obviously don't believe Brad Thaler.
Brad Thaler: "All you can do is call the people in Tallahassee and they tell you it's Broward County's fault and you go to Broward County and they tell you its Tallahassee's fault. They seem to me to be so incompetent down there."
Brad calls this an example of government incompetent. The government calls him an example of a deadbeat dad. Howard, legally what can a person do?
Howard Finkelstein: "Brad did the the right thing by going to the enforcement office in Broward County, over and over. If the bureaucrats arent listening, go to the judge that signed the child support document, let him or her tell the enforcement people that they are wrong and need to read the court order."
We then contacted the State of Florida's Department of Revenue which handles child support issues. They looked into Brads problems. Discovered Brad did give them the proper information in April and again in May. So why did the state and county continue to come after Brad for more payments? A spokesperson was honest and blunt and wrote, "We did not timely work his request and we apologize."
Howard Finkelstein: "If you are having a child support problem, need an attorney and can't afford one, the Florida Supreme Court has an entire set of motions and instructions on their website so you can deal with the issues without having to pay an attorney."
Brad Thaler: "Yeah, he loves to ride his little bike and have me race behind him running."
Brad let his ex wife keep the $494 the state owes him. Since she hasn't moved back to Malasia yet, he still gets to enjoy his time with his son and doesn't have to worry about the state and county coming after him.
Brad Thaler: "I'm definitely glad I called Help me Howard."
Patrick Fraser: "Glad we could help him out. Now Howard mentioned the Florida Supreme Court has help for child support cases and so does the Florida Department of Revenue. How to pay, how to get paid, things like that."
Got a childish problem that wont go away? Need some support? Contact us. You don't have to worry about us getting paid. We work for you, for free.
Florida Department of Revenue
Also, if you are able to point customers to our child support website for additional information such as what is available through e-services, that would be great. Here is the link http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/
Florida State Courts Website For Self Help
Contact Help Me Howard:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com