Child Support Foul-up

(WSVN) - In a state where we often hear of parents who refuse to make child support payments, we have a father who did make his payment and couldn’t get it to his children. It started with two numbers, and it got so frustrating for one dad when he couldn’t get his child support straightened out that he asked Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to step in.

You have heard of those deadbeat dads who refuse to take care of their children.

Henry Schultz, child support headache: “Whatever it takes to take care of my kids, that’s what it is.”

Now meet a dad who’s deadly serious about his monthly child support deadlines.

Henry Schultz: “I pay $1,600 a month. I’ve never missed a payment. It’s about half of whatever I make, so it makes things a little tight for me, but I have an obligation.”

Then Henry stopped by a bill payment center where he makes his monthly payments. It’s where he wrote his ex-wife’s account number.

Henry Schultz: “And one of the numbers in the receipt that was supposed to be a 1 looked like a 7.”

Henry didn’t know his 1 was mistaken for a 7 until his ex called asking, “Where’s the kids’ money?” So he called the Broward Clerk of Courts, which manages the account.

Henry Schultz: “And they told me that the money had been disbursed to someone else’s account that had the 7 instead of the 1.”

Simple, Henry thought. Just take the money from the wrong person’s account and put it in his ex’s account.

But, of course, nothing is simple anymore.

Henry Schultz: “They told me there was nothing they could do. That they just disburse the money, so once the money is disbursed, it is out of their hands and they have no way to fix the problem.”

The Clerk’s Office told Henry that the Florida’s Department of Revenue had the power to take the money back, so he called them.

Henry Schultz: “And the state disbursement had me call them back, the county, and back and forth, and back and forth.”

Back and forth, back and forth, battling the bureaucracy — and Henry’s kids were stuck in the middle.

Henry Schultz: “I want that money that’s rightfully my children’s money.”

The state said they couldn’t take the money from the wrong person who got it. Their solution: Henry would just have to make that payment again.

Henry Schultz: “We have a budget that we live by. I don’t have an extra $1,600 laying around.”

Well, Howard, Henry’s child support went to the wrong person. He says the state told him they can’t take it back from that person. Is the state right?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, they absolutely can get that money back, and legally they have to get that money back. If they won’t do it, Henry would have to go to the judge who handled his divorce, and that judge can order the state to retrieve that money.”

We contacted the Broward Department of Revenue. They could not confirm that any accounts existed, but we didn’t give up. For days we emailed them again and again.

Then we got a call from Henry.

Henry Schultz: “And then I got a text from my ex-wife saying that she received the money. I didn’t think it could happen. I was amazed. I thought it was a lost cause.”

Howard Finkelstein: “Getting child support can be difficult and many exes tell us they cannot get anything done. One suggestion, and it has nothing to do with the law: bug them, day after day after day, until they get tired of you and do what you want to make you go away.”

Henry’s kids got the money after their father refused to give up fighting for it and gave us a call.

Henry Schultz: “You guys responded, you took care of the problem. I couldn’t have done it without you. I couldn’t be happier.”

Henry wanted to pay. We hear from people who can’t get their ex to pay the child support. If that’s you, contact the Florida Department of Revenue. Either they can help, or they can put you in touch with the agency that can.

And if you’re thinking, “I have contacted them and got nowhere,” do what Howard said. Bug them over and over. It’s how we solve many Help Me Howards.

A deadbeat refusing to make a payment to you? Tired of their childish behavior? Let us lend our support. We don’t kid around, ’cause we want to retrieve what you are owed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Florida Department of Revenue

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.