Quinn: Child support collections up 13.1%August 19, 2021
By Anthony Quinn
Dubois County Prosecutor
The month of August is dedicated to bringing awareness to Child Support Services in Indiana. Many residents are not aware they can contact their local prosecutor for assistance with enforcing child support orders.
Dubois County Prosecutor Anthony Quinn wants to educate and inform parents, guardians, grandparents, or other custodial parties in how to access child support services through his office.
“Many of these services are not widely known to the public and can be accessed through the prosecutor’s office without hiring an attorney," Quinn said.
The services, claims Quinn, are vital to those seeking help with locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity, and medical or child support orders.
Prosecutor Quinn recently announced child support collections in our community have increased by 13.1%. In 2020, the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office collected and distributed over $1.9 million in child support to children and families in the community, a significant increase from the 2019 total.
“We have certainly seen a COVID-19 related increase in our collections due to federal stimulus payments that are intercepted and delivered directly to children and families under a child support order, but we have also placed an emphasis on increasing our collections,” Quinn said.
Child support payments provide a court-approved method for helping to ensure children are supported financially when their parents’ divorce. These payments are intended to help the custodial parent maintain a similar quality of life for a child as he or she enjoyed before the divorce and not only cover necessities such as food, clothing and shelter but also may be used for educational expenses and extracurricular activities, such as sports or hobbies.
“Regular child support can mean the difference for a child to remain in their home, and have food, clothing, and other needs met," Quinn said. "It impacts everything we do in our office." He added that as paternity and child support is established, it leads to fewer children living in poverty and lowers the likelihood they will one day become involved in the criminal justice system.”
In Indiana, child support payments continue until the child reaches age 19 or is emancipated in another way.
Judges use child support guidelines to determine the amount of child support payments. Non-custodial parents must make their court-ordered payments or face wage garnishment, being found in contempt of court and even jail time.
Quinn stressed that his child support staff is friendly, knowledgeable and ready to assist. “There is really nothing to be afraid of; you're taking action to best serve your children and protect your rights," Quinn said. "It's an easy process and we keep you informed every step of the way."
Alternatively, there are consequences for parents who fall behind or fail to pay their child support. Parents who fail to pay support can be charged with a felony, however, Quinn encourages any non-custodial parent who has fallen behind in paying child support to contact the office. "Most cases are not contentious," Quinn said. "When people who owe acknowledge that, we play the role of facilitator."
However, those who continue to fall behind can expect the prosecutor to be aggressive in seeking support payments for families.
"Financially supporting our children is crucial to their well-being and their ability to thrive during the critical years of childhood," Quinn said. "My office continues to work diligently to ensure that parents provide that financial security for their children.”
Recently, the Indiana General Assembly enacted new legislation that allows for the immediate reinstatement of driver’s licenses, hunting licenses and other licenses once a delinquent parent pays eight weeks of support. Though this law will take effect in January of 2022, Prosecutor Quinn encourages parents to get current and will work with anyone to reinstate licenses when they get caught up on support payments before the new law begins.
There is no fee to access Child Support enforcement services offered through the Prosecutor’s Office.
For more information, stop by the Dubois County Prosecutor's Office Child Support Division at 716 Clay St. in Jasper or call our Child Support Office at 812-482-1818.
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