Heymann & Fletcher

Child died 25 years ago, but man is still paying child support

No parent in New Jersey -- or anywhere else for that matter -- should have to outlive his or her child. Even after decades, circumstances can trigger painful memories of that loss. For one out-of-state father, those circumstances include the fact that he claims to still be paying child support for his son who died at just 3 years old.

The man had another child with the mother of his deceased son. Up until 2011, he never thought to question why he was still paying child support because he believed he was paying for back support he owed on the other child. When he questioned the continuing payments, he was told it was for his son who died nearly 25 years ago.

The agency in Michigan to which he has been paying support all these years claims that it was never told the boy died. The father even traveled to Michigan to show officials the death certificate, which indicates the boy died in 1988. Despite this, he was told he owed $43,000 in back payments. Subsequent audits came back with totals that were eventually lowered to just below $20,000.

After involving the media, the amount was lowered yet again to $6,460.08. The man still claims he does not owe anything since he has been making payments for several years. Officials admit that human error must be the reason no one really knows what he does or does not owe.

This man's case is unique, but the fact is that child support officials can make errors since they are only human. Few New Jersey parents would argue that it is their responsibility to support their children financially. However, when a parent paying child support believes he or she does not owe the amount officials claim, he or she has the right to petition the court in an attempt to clarify matters.

Source: theindychannel.com, "Father says he's still paying child support for 3-year-old son who died 25 years ago", Kimberly Craig, March 1, 2015

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