Local News

Court Helps Deadbeat Dads (and Moms) Get Back on Track

Posted April 22, 2008

— A Wake County judge has a new approach to helping parents who can't pay child support.

The county has 19,000 child support cases. In 30 percent of those, parents are not making regular payments.

Judge Kristin Ruth presides over child support court and said many parents who don't pay are substance abusers.

“It was impossible to keep a job, to be a part of my family's life, to pay child support,” Christina Manchester said.

With a grant from the Wake County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Ruth is offering substance abuse treatment to parents like Manchester.

“Many of these (people) have never paid or have paid very little, a few dollars, and now they're paying substantial amounts, even if it's $100, $200,” Ruth said.

Treatment coupled with job training and house arrest is getting people like Victor Ellis back on track. He owes $40,000 and is finally making payments after the program helped him get off drugs.

“It means a lot to me to know that I can be accountable and my kids can depend upon me,” Ellis said.

Manchester owes more than $34,000, but thanks to the program, she is sober, working and paying child support.

“It feels great to know my kids are getting exactly what they need. I've made them my No. 1 priority in my life, whereas drugs used to be my No. 1 priority,” she said.

There are 25 people currently in the program. After they prove they can stay sober and pay child support on a regular basis, they are taken off house arrest.

Ruth said she is tracking each case to help determine the success rate of the program.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • 1 of the original Americans Apr 23, 2008

    PS JAT I know the CS system like the back of my hand. I have been in and out of court for the last 5 years with a man much the same as you. Has two kids with me, can't pay his support and marries and has another kid and now wants me to get less $ so he can support the new kid. It is not my sons fault he cant keep it in his pants so why should they pay for it!!

    I have a $700/mo that he pays a whoping $175/mo on. Now you tell me how is $175/mo half the support of two small boys??


  • VT1994Hokie Apr 23, 2008

    I am just glad that some of the drug abusers are getting some help to become productive members of society. This also eases the tax burden that we all pay.

    The more people that get help, the better for all of us. Less crime, rape, killings, and robbing. I just wish more people would take advantage and get off of drugs.

  • LambeauSouth Apr 23, 2008

    JAT, FYI I'm a Dad too!

    Breath deep and just make the best that you can for your kids
    because after all its really about them!

  • 1 of the original Americans Apr 23, 2008

    A man should not have to worry about how to provide for child #2 because of a court order regarding child #1. Both children should be equally important in the eyes of the law. Sadly, that's not the case.

    Both of those children should have been equally important to you when you choose to have child #2 when you couldnt take care of #1

  • 1 of the original Americans Apr 23, 2008

    Taxpayers foot the bill when deadbeat dads/moms don't pay their child support.

    Sorry but I have several thousands owed to me and not one tax payer has footed any bills for me!!

  • 1 of the original Americans Apr 23, 2008

    JAT it obvious you have other issues. It doesnt matter who caused the divorce its done. But you choose to start another family while you could not afford the child you already had which was irresponsible on your part. To quote Judge Ruth you do not need $ to get by until your child has a roof over his head, food and clothes. Ok you had your 1st child you didnt know what it costed to support one. But darn you for the second because you knew what it costs and now both are doing without cause you couldnt take care of your responsiblities!!!!

  • Tired of your excuses Apr 23, 2008

    Gingerleigh 225 - for the record, watch the video from last night's 6:00 broadcast. Taxpayers foot the bill when deadbeat dads/moms don't pay their child support.

  • JAT Apr 23, 2008

    Final comment - I would just like to see as much concern and monitoring placed on the other parent as is placed on all these people they insist on calling "deadbeats". Both parents needs to support any children of the marriage equally, but both parents also have the right to go on with their lives, especially the parent who wasn't directly responsible for the breakup of the marriage. A woman should not be able to choose not to work and, for that simple reason, glean more from the man. A man should not have to worry about how to provide for child #2 because of a court order regarding child #1. Both children should be equally important in the eyes of the law. Sadly, that's not the case. The whole custody/child support issue is one that is, in the end, more about money and less about the children and no one wins.

  • JAT Apr 23, 2008

    Is that $100/kid or $100 for all 3? Was that court-ordered amount per the child support guidelines, or just an agreement between you and him? And if he was hurt and can't work, then he must be drawing something and the kids can get part of that. You can't get milk from a dead cow but you can get what you can. If $100 is all he has, it's all he has. I don't know your situation but for alot of men, $100 is honestly more extra than they have each month and yet they're still saddled with more.

  • JAT Apr 23, 2008

    my paint: why has your ex gotten $50k behind? That's crazy. You should have gotten a lawyer $45k ago. If you don't need the $50k and have gotten along without it, and he's out of the children's lives, then don't worry about it. You've "won" - you get the kids, you get the relationships, you get the Mother's Day cards, the holidays, the everything else. I'm not saying kids aren't entitled to support but you, as their mother, are not unless you were granted alimony. And if you haven't gotten any money, then I guess you don't let the kids visit/see their dad. Some dads consider it a tradeoff, but the sad cases are the dads that pay and pay and try and try and the mother still doesn't encourage a relationship and still doesn't behave like a civil human being. And believe me, from what I've seen, there are a whole heck of lot more of those.