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False Claim of unpaid child support prevents man from working

Massachusetts residents paying child support should be aware that false claims of missed payments sometimes can have debilitating effects. One man paying child support for his 6-year-old son lost his ability to work for several months when his ex-wife made claims that were ultimately determined to be false. She claimed that he owed more than $2,500 in child support, which is when the government intervened. Although the man proved that he had made the payments, prosecutors engaged in a legal battle that lasted several months and included freezing his passport. He was unable to travel for several months, which is necessary for his work as an international businessman.

The eventual outcome of this legal battle made some amends to this wronged father. A judge determined that the prosecutor and the man's ex-wife were wrong to pursue this unnecessary litigation under the pretense of unpaid child support. He ruled that the prosecutor and ex-wife must pay all of the legal expenses the man accrued during this process.

This case sparked a change in the established child support policies of Florida, where the case occurred. Previously, passports were frozen as soon as a sworn affidavit of unpaid child support was submitted, which this man's ex-wife did submit. Now, a court order is required before this action can be taken.

Massachusetts residents facing similar situations should know that they have options when they have been wrongly accused of violating child support agreements. In these situations, wronged parents can seek legal support to establish their adherence to stipulations of the child support agreement. In rare cases, such as this one, the results of a child support decision may even lead to an improvement of the system for all parents who are affected by child support arrangements.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Miami judge calls child support prosecutor's actions 'reprehensible,'" David Ovalle, Feb. 7, 2013

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