My son pays his child support to his ex-wife’s attorney’s office who then forwards the payment to her. He is $700 behind in his support, but the attorney is saying he is $2,600 in arrears because some of my son’s payments weren’t recorded on the attorney’s spreadsheet. Is my son entitled to a payment history from the attorney to my son’s ex to see if the attorney paid her the support? It appears either the attorney has not paid her or they are not giving him credit for his payments. And is it normal for child support to go through his ex-wife’s attorney’s office?
I am assuming your son does not have any receipts. Did your son pay by check or money order? If he paid by check, he can request the records from his bank which would detail when the checks were cashed.
Because I do not practice in Georgia, I cannot tell you whether or not this payment method is “normal.” I can tell you that it would not fly in my jurisdiction. In Wisconsin, when support payments are not paid directly to the recipient, they go through a support trust fund which maintains detailed records of payment receipt and non-payment. The support trust fund also calculates the interest which accumulates on the arrears. This is all by statute.
Your son should review his divorce decree; specifically the provisions detailing payment of support. The Order which requires him to pay using this process may have a provision which requires the attorney to maintain records of payment. It seems that the attorney is maintaining records; however, your son disagrees with those records as he believes they did not record all payments. If your son wants a copy of the records and the attorney is refusing to turn them over, your son could hire an attorney to pursue the matter who may be able to obtain the records using your state’s discovery statutes.
You should contact an attorney licensed in your state to determine whether the payment practice is acceptable and what your son can do about obtaining payment records. Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys licensed and located in Georgia who would be happy to help.
Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.