Monday, January 18, 2010
A West Virginia attorney recently filed a class action suit against the State Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, claiming that the Bureau has taken no action in scores of child support enforcement cases, allowing limitations to run and otherwise mishandling enforcement cases.
“I think we have class action here,” Webb said to a woman sitting in his office several months ago as she told him how the Child Advocacy Office handled her case. Her husband owed more than $16,000 in support payments, but the statute of limitations had kicked in and the order lapsed with no action from the office that is supposed to collect from delinquent obligors.
Webb has been a family law lawyer for 23 and served two terms in the state legislature. He knew that his client, Kimberley Hoover, wasn’t the only mother in West Virginia with a child support problem.
“The Child Advocate Office has a duty to collect child support payments for children. It should have been on high alert not to allow statutes of limitations to run out on these judgments,” says Webb with a slightly perceptible growl. “But they weren’t. No one seems to notice or care that children were losing thousands of dollars because of a failure to draft and implement a very simple writ of execution.”
Webb anticipates that the Child Advocacy Board will claim to be “overworked and underpaid” and will say that “the child support payments were uncollectable” in many cases. He doesn’t think that will pass as a defense. It is a particularly weak argument in the case of Kimberley Hoover. “The parent who owed the money advised the court that he was receiving a lump sum payment for a disability claim,” says Webb. “This was a collectable judgment.”
Read the full story here.