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Child support can get confusing after relocation

When parents divorce in Ogden and the court orders one parent to pay child support, the process arranging the payments is generally fairly straightforward. But over time, the custodial parent may decide to take the children and move out of Utah with either the other parent's consent or the court's permission. This could also happen with unmarried parents. As time goes on and multiple state child support agencies get involved, the chances of errors in child support collection go up.

For one man in another state, the problem led to him overpaying the mother of his children more than $1,500 in child support, while being simultaneously accused of owing more than $5,100.

The man says he faithfully paid child support to the mother of his twin daughters for years through automatic deductions from his paycheck. Then the mother moved to another state. The new state reported that the father was $900 behind and his home state increased his payments to make up the reported difference.

But because the payments went directly to the mother, her new state did not know that she was receiving them. In July, the state accused the father of owing more than $5,100. It put his federal tax return on hold to pursue the supposed shortfall. Meanwhile, the man was continuing to pay the extra child support even though the $900 shortfall had long since been repaid.

Though the man and his wife had trouble getting in touch with child support officials in their state, they are working out the overpayment problem and expect to receive a refund check. The mother's new state has closed the case on the "missing" $5,100. The father is working to revise his child support order to make sure that he does not overpay in the future.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Problem Solver: Child support case becomes a hot mess," Jon Yates, Nov. 18, 2012

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