Help for child support payers is here

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Parents struggling to keep up with child support payments can get free legal advice at the Putnam County Courthouse. Tom Frohman, a lawyer with Indiana Legal Service, comes to Greencastle on the second Wednesday of each month to discuss child support issues with parents.

The Indiana Supreme Court recently recognized that, "the existence of unsustainable support orders actually leads to greater failure of non-custodial parents to pay their support obligations." According to Frohman, when child support becomes impossible to pay, many parents stop paying all together.

There are many situations where parents may have a support order that is more than they should be paying, said Frohman, citing loss of a job or emancipation of a child. However, many people don't know that in order to change support, a petition must be filed with the court.

"For example, if a parent becomes disabled, the child may get benefits from the parent's Social Security account," said Frohman. "Even though the parent is entitled to a credit against the support obligation, it won't happen unless something is filed with the court."

Another common source of confusion occurs when a child comes to live with a parent who has been ordered to pay support. According to Frohman, that parent is still obligated to pay support unless a petition is filed with the court.

"Parents who have trouble collecting child support can get help from the child support prosecutor's office," said Frohman. "Parents who have trouble paying child support or who are facing contempt of court can talk to me."

Helping parents get reasonable child support orders, according to Frohman, will help parents pay the child support that is ordered.

"I'm not trying to keep parents from paying child support. I just want the orders to fairly reflect what the parents should pay," Frohman said.

Frohman can only meet with parents who are financially eligible for free legal services.

Parents interested in meeting with Frohman can call Indiana Legal Services at 1-800-822-4774 for an appointment.

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