Deadbeat parents should stay out of casinos
The state has found a clever way to get child support payments from dead-beat parents in Louisiana who chose to gamble over supporting their children.
If a parent has the money to gamble at a casino, but refuses to pay child support, the state can step in a garnish any winnings over $1,200.
Since September 2011, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has intercepted more than $806,000 in casino winnings from 599 non-custodial parents for child support arrears.
DCFS works with custodial and non-custodial parents to ensure that both parents fulfill their obligations to provide financial, medical and emotional support to their children, said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier.
“The casino intercept initiative has been a very successful tool for us in collecting overdue support,” she said.
A pilot program was launched in September 2011 at Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge. The first intercept was made only two days later from a non-custodial father in the amount of $1,995.40.
“In our work to assist families who rely on court ordered child support to provide for their children, DCFS uses every avenue available, like casino intercepts, to collect the more than $1.2 billion owed by non-custodial parents statewide,” said Sonnier.
Legislation was introduced in the 2010 session to collect child support from winnings of more than $1,200 at Louisiana casinos. Other states with similar laws include Mississippi, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Colorado and West Virginia.
Failure to pay court-ordered child support can result in liens against the non-payor’s property, seizure of assets, suspension of driver’s, business, professional, hunting or fishing licenses, interception of state and federal tax returns, passport denial and contempt of court charges, among other enforcement actions.
DCFS Child Support Enforcement offers custodial parents several resources, including parent locator services, paternity establishment, establishment of child support orders, enforcement of orders and collection and distribution of child support.
Any parent or person responsible for a child can receive services from DCFS’ Child Support Enforcement program. Those currently in the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KSCP) or who receive Medicaid automatically receive child support enforcement services. For more information or to apply for child support enforcement services, visit http://www.dcfs.la.gov/CSE. Search the database for Louisiana delinquent child support payors at http://www.dcfs.la.gov/delinquent.
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