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Ohio county's Child Support Enforcement Agency sets the standard

You have to give them an 'A for Effort'. Butler County, Ohio's Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) is not letting deadbeat parents off the hook. The CSEA is serious about child support obligations being met, and the agency's officers execute their duties with diligence and doggedness.

Frequently, children of divorced parents get left high and dry when one parent fails to pay child support. Ohio's taxpayers should be pleased to know that one area where their tax dollars are bearing fruit has to do with such needy children. Butler County, Ohio's CSEA received over $5. 4 million in tax dollars to help collection efforts -- but they collected over $54 million on behalf of children on child support. That is some serious 'bang for the buck'. So how does the CSEA go about its work?

Initially, gentle reminders are issued -- after all, anyone can forget to mail a check. But when the default is habitual or deliberate, the CSEA's methods are many fold. According to a former county magistrate, defaulters have been cited for contempt of court orders, have had wages garnished and even had arrest warrants issued against them. Additionally, habitual offenders may be charged with a felony in Ohio, potentially resulting in a jail sentence if convicted. To some, the CSEA's techniques may seem tough.

Collecting child support in an age of ever-rising divorce rates is a national problem. Making child support modifications and strengthening related state laws and enforcement may prove to be a boon for many states. Perhaps the rest of the country should be learning from Ohio's CSEA and Ohio Child Support Guidelines.

That said, Ohio's CSEA is a governmental agency staffed with dedicated persons - it is not Superman. Now and then, a dissolution of marriage (the Ohio term for a negotiated divorce) of a wealthy couple could lead to a high-asset divorce. Either or both parents may be wealthy and privileged enough to hold off the CSEA. In such a case, a law-firm specializing in child support and divorce may be able to help in negotiating or seizing payments. And in the end the innocent children, who are not to blame for messy divorces or stingy parents, would emerge as the winners.

Source: Middletown Journal, Child support agency delivers, Jessica Heffner, 03 Jul, 2011

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