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Interstate Deadbeats Make Life Tough for Kids

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Eight-year-old Lindsey Parham's father has not paid child support in five years.
ROANOKE RAPIDS — Single parents struggling to collect child support from their ex-spousesis nothing new. But, when that spouse lives out of state, the processbecomes even more difficult.

Federal law says states must work together to make Dead Beat Parents pay.

When a parent withholds child support, one person suffers. Eight-year-oldLindsey Parham is suffering, because her father won't pay child support.

Despite a court order, Peggy Parham says that her ex-husband has failed tosupport Lindsey for the past five years. Parham says that because herex-husband lives in California, it's harder to collect.

About one-third of the cases handled by the North Carolina Child SupportEnforcement Division involve other states -- and the state is makingprogress. In 1997, North Carolina collected $100 million in these cases.The division's Mike Adams says that all child support cases, within andoutside of the state, are significant and important.

The Uniform Interstate Child Support Act requires states to work togetherin collecting child support. North Carolina adopted this law two yearsago, but many other states have lagged behind.

The final nine states just made the January 1 federal deadline to adoptthe law. They are Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, NewYork, Ohio, Vermont and West Virginia.

But, it may be awhile before they apply the law, which means kids likeLindsey will continue to wait.

One major part of the federal law requires that businesses report thenames of all new employees to their state. If it's discovered that theperson owes child support, the money can be docked from their wages.

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