Ohio residents and citizens all over America seem to enjoy hearing about the politicians who hold themselves up as the keepers of family values. Every city in America is known to have parents that are behind in child support payments, but when someone with means or public responsibilities reaches is involved, people talk.
Such is the case for U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., whose informal and possibly after-the-fact requests for modifications to his child support payments have left people talking. In Ohio and Illinois, there is a formal procedure for modifying child support involving a written application to the appropriate court. But Walsh, who apparently owes more than $117,000 in back child support, claims that he and his ex-wife entered into a “verbal agreement” three years ago to stop support payments. Some may have little sympathy for his protestations.
He alleges that his ex-wife was the primary wage earner between the two of them, and that their children were spending more time with him than with her. He stated in a court filing last week that he would have followed the due process of petitioning for child support modifications, but he thought his ex-wife was trustworthy enough to honor the agreement. A statement released from his office accuses his former wife of breaking Illinois law and “blatantly and knowingly submitting false information,” but it also does not appear to dispute the amount claimed due.
The case of the couple, who have appeared numerous times in court over the last few years, appears increasingly mysterious. While it remains to be seen what decision the court will make, the case underscores the necessity of playing by the rules. Walsh would have been better served by consulting a family law attorney to apply to the appropriate court for appropriate relief — just like every other person subject to a child support order is required to do.
Source: Sun-Times, “Rep. Joe Walsh: I had ‘verbal deal’ not to pay child support,” by Abdon Pallasch, Oct. 13, 2011