Local News

Interstate Deadbeats Make Life Tough for Kids

Posted January 9, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— Single parents struggling to collect child support from their ex-spouses is nothing new. But, when that spouse lives out of state, the process becomes 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-old Lindsey Parham is suffering, because her father won't pay child support.

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

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

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

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

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

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