Gambling Law Helps Children with Parents who Failed to Pay Child Support

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Support on Monday, December 27, 2010

There are several ways that a parent can obtain unpaid child support from a defaulting parent. Depending on state law, a parent can obtain a default judgment and garnish the wages of a defaulting parent, have a tax refund withheld until payments are made or even set aside the state lottery winnings of the defaulting parent in order to cover the amount of unpaid child support.

A recently enacted Colorado law pushed even further in the attempt to reduce their nearly $1.4 billion child support delinquency amount, and the results show that the new law is working. In the state, over $1 million has already been paid to children through defaulting parents’ gambling winnings.

The 2-year-old law, enacted in 2008, sets an amount for casino and racetrack winnings that would trigger a child support status check before paying out the money. The limit is $1,200 for casinos and $600 for racetracks, amounts that coincide with the IRS tax payment trigger. If a parent comes up as a “defaulting parent” then the winnings are diverted to the state to pay the unpaid child support. Anything that exceeds the default amount would then be paid out to the winner.

Garnishing wages helps to alleviate child support debt, but can take months or even years before the entire amount is paid off. A casino winning can generate thousands of dollars through a single check, sometimes amounting to more than an average yearly salary.

The law has received praise from the child advocacy community. One advocate with the association Hunger Free Colorado said that “any system that can boost single-parent household income or ensure that children are getting resources they are entitled to…is a really good thing.”

Source: “Deadbeat parents’ luck pays off for kids” Karen Auge 12/23/10

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