Heymann & Fletcher

How one state is using gambling winnings for unpaid child support

Child support payments are often a crucial part of child care. When two parents are not in a relationship, a child's needs must still be met. The legal system in New Jersey has many ways of ensuring that this happens, including collecting prize money from a parent who has won the lottery or had a gambling win. One state has learned from New Jersey's example and is attempting to recoup unpaid child support from gambling jackpots.

Statistics say that about 14 million people across the country are single parents, but only half of them have an official child support order. It is estimated that child support payments in the United States total more than $33 billion each year, but custodial parents see just over two-thirds of that amount. One state decided to take action and find ways to collect unpaid child support, including taking gambling winnings.

Ohio's Department of Family and Children's services reports that this change is having a positive impact. Since the program was implemented, they've collected more than 6,000 jackpots directly from the casino, without the winner receiving the payout. The money is instead rerouted to the custodial parents who are owed past due child support. The state reports that it has collected more than $10 million.

New Jersey children have been benefiting from a similar program for a while now, but there are still many families who are owed child support and not receiving it. Parents who have questions about their child support agreement or who want to create an agreement may want to consult a knowledgeable family law attorney. Children need proper medical care, education, nutrition and more, and there are those who want to help ensure they get it.

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