Mother fights to get child support payment - - Jackson, MS

Mother fights to get child support payment

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - "Deadbeat" parents, it's what the Department of Human Services calls those who can pay child support, but choose not to.

With the increase of job layoffs over the past few years, some simply can't pay.

WLBT spoke with a woman Tuesday, who hasn't received adequate child support since she went on disability five years ago.

Sarah Criss is a single mom of two children. One is married and on their own, but her daughter still lives at home.

And for years she supported both children on a nurses' salary, until she had to go on disability. Since then it's been a struggle for her to receive a child support payment.

"We depend on that money. That money is grocery money; it's food for the children. It's utility money," Criss said.

Criss said, in her case, her children's father works, but often they will receive just enough money, so he gets by, without going to jail.

"The child never received the full amount, we would receive a percentage, which would keep the absent parent out of jail," said Criss.

In addition, DHS reports since the economy has gone down more and more cases of not paying child support have come up.

Director of Child Support Enforcement Wallie Naylor said last year they had about four times as much collected in unemployment payments, so far this year is looking the same.

"We are going to have at least $4 million intercepted again in unemployment payments," Naylor said.

Of the 360 thousand cases statewide, about 55 percent have a court order on them. And Naylor said about half are not paying because of unemployment.

But they do offer services to help them get back on their feet.

"Job training, job prep, you know if he needs to learn how to present himself in such a way to get a job," Naylor said.

Additionally, when this happens, Naylor says both parties have to go back to court. Typically, the party who is paying child support doesn't have to pay as much until they are making enough to go back up on payments.

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