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Letter: You may be duped into paying Child Support twice

By AJ Rothstein, RN. If you live in New York State, the Child Support Processing Center may be taking you for an unsolicited ride. What I am about to share, my may shock you. We all know a single parent that hustles for their hard earned dollar where every dollar counts.

Last week, I had a less than a welcoming surprise from the NYS Child Support Center. I was informed that a letter was sent to my employer, where I work per-diem as a school nurse, with an order to garnish my wages. To say that I was surprised, would be an understatement. The law states that the agency must deduct the full amount of support that primary job has already been doing for eight years. In fact, I have a $506 in support credit.

When I called the state, the customer rep explained to me the absurd policy. Apparently, every time a non-custodial parent gains employment, perhaps to make ends meet; the Child Support Processing System automatically generates a duplicate child support order requesting that your new employer deduct the exact same amount already paid by your primary employer.

At least there is a silver lining to this story. A non-custodial parent may call the processing center and request that a termination letter is mailed to your secondary employer. In the interim, your wages will be continued to garnished by both of your employers, concurrently until the official termination letter arrives.

Wait, it gets better (or worse). My natural follow up question to the state was, can I get a credit for any overpayment? I was gently shared with another state policy. To “protect” the non-custodial parent from falling behind in payments, NYS will hold a credit amount equal to what your monthly support is. So, for example, if you pay $1000 monthly in child support, the state will retain all further overpayments up to $1000. This amount will be refunded when your youngest child turns 21 years old.

In my case, all the money earned during my next few shifts will go directly to the state instead of my pocket since the amount will be less than the monthly amount that I pay.

Perplexingly, NYS does not require a parent to maintain a months’ worth of support in ‘escrow.’ Yet, if my hard earned money makes it into the state’s pocket, I can kiss it goodbye for years to come.

Who knows how many parents are losing their hard earned wages unnecessarily. If you know of anyone that maybe sharing the same, please contact me @ nurseajr@gmail.com

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There are 9 Comments to "Letter: You may be duped into paying Child Support twice"

  • Amil Zola says:

    The money being collected doesn’t go to the state, it goes to your dependent children. Now if you think the amount of support initially orders is too much go back to court to have it evaluated. In most states when you take an additional job you are to report that income to whatever agency addresses these issues.

  • AJ Rothstein says:

    The money does not go to the dependants unless there is a change of support amount. The state holds on to the money.

    Yes, potentially the amount of support may change if there increase or decrease in income.

    In my case the amount would drop since my primary job dropped to part time.

    One of the NYS Senators reached out to me and is interested in making a legislative change.

  • RN NJ says:

    If you choose to go part time why should your kids have to manage with less money when you have another per diem job as well?

    • AJ Rothstein says:

      Good question. I am seeking a full-time position nursing position and working the part-time and per-diem positions until then.

      If I earn more money, the support amount should be reflective of that. However, until a new order is in effect, my hard earned money is neither going to my kids or my pocket.

      This article is not intended to get into a debate on how much the amount of support should be. Rather, it is about NYS automatically issuing a duplicate order and holding on to the money. Nobody gains. There is a pending legislative proposal to address this matter.

  • Shmeel says:

    You need a lawyer ASAP. I’ve been going through many years of similar issues, but Not exactly the same as yours’.

  • Amil Zola says:

    Just when were you planning on notifying the courts/xspouse about your changes in income and employment?

    This is interesting since it was my understanding that garnishments were only made once a parent stopped the voluntary payment of child support (in the state of NY and other states).

  • AJ Rothstein says:

    Amil,

    Garnishments can be setup for a variety of reasons. In our case it was a mutual decision. I looked at it as a form of Direct Deposit.

    Secondly, I did not have plans on notifying the state yet. If elected to inform them now, my support amount would go down in my scenario).

    The point of my article is that the state automatically and arbitrarily sent a duplicate of the first order to my second employer. Had they checked and saw that I was up to date, they would have never sent out the second order. This is evident by the fact that they terminated the second order once I informed them of the duplication.

    In the interim, my second payments are sitting in a ‘black hole.’

  • Mayer says:

    You must have been very angry and emotional when you wrote this letter. It is confusing and includes several syntax and grammatical errors. Bottom line – NYS will hold the equivalent of one month’s support for the protection of your children. How much money are we talking about?

  • AJ Rothstein says:

    Mayer,

    I was clearly frustrated by what happened.

    The amount submitted to the state was under months worth but was crucial enough to affect my bottom line.

    I respect and understand the concept of withholding 1 months worth of Child Support. What bothers me the most, is the fact that one is not required to have ANY amount of money in ‘escrow.’ Therefore, I do not understand as to why I am unable to have the surplus money refunded to me.

    The money doesn’t go to the children and will remain in the Treasury until my youngest ages out.

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