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State sitting on millions in Florida child support funds

Scores of Florida children have not received the financial assistance they need because their child support payments have been delayed. You may think that this phenomenon is caused by so-called "deadbeat" parents -- but you would be wrong. In fact, the state is holding on to millions of dollars in child support, depriving families of the financial help they desperately need. An investigative report showed that 4,000 families in three Florida counties are owed $463,000. Consider the overdue amounts throughout the state, and the figure skyrockets to nearly $30 million.

So, why are so many families going without the money they need and deserve? Official reports from the state's Department of Revenue say that outdated computer systems may be to blame. Sometimes, the money is held up because of missing information that could include phone numbers or addresses.

Shockingly, the state is not required to look very hard to find the recipients of the pending support. If two manual reviews of the information are unsuccessful at turning up a recipient, the department is permitted to abandon the search. If the recipients cannot be located, the money is divvied up between federal and state coffers. Child support experts say that simply is not good enough.

One man said he has been paying his child support in full, but his son has not received a complete payment in months. The man's money goes directly into an account, so there should not be any confusion, and his checks should not be improperly processed. State representatives say that the use of the Direct Deposit Service is encouraged, so that such errors can be avoided.

Parents who believe their child support payments are not being delivered to their children may benefit from speaking with a Florida family attorney. These professionals can provide additional information about interacting with the Department of Revenue. If you are paying child support, your child should be reaping the benefits.

Source: ABC7WZVN, "State sitting on child support payments" Jim Spiewak, Mar. 10, 2014

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