Feb 242004
 
Authors: Holly Stollsteimer

Corrina Kramer, 21, recently applied for child support for her

10-month-old baby, Kaeli.

Kaeli has not seen her paternal father since she was 2 months

old and according to her mother, he has only seen her a total of

three times.

“I’m only pursuing child support because Kaeli deserves it,”

Corrina said. “And he should show some responsibility.”

Corrina doesn’t think her ex-boyfriend would ever request

visitation rights, but she does think he owes Kaeli some

support.

“I’m 99.9 percent sure he’d never ask for visitation,” she said.

“If he ever asked, I wouldn’t fight it unless the visit was alone,

but I don’t see that happening.”

Still, Corrina will do everything in her power to receive

payments. She’s spoken to a lawyer and filed the initial paperwork

with the Child Support Program of the Department of Human

Services.

Corrina said the Child Support Program has lawyers available

when filling out paperwork.

Myrna Maier, child support manager for the Child Support

Program, said there are two ways to go about receiving child

support.

If the person filing for support is on Medicaid, Colorado Works

(formally called welfare) or the child is in foster care, there is

an automatic referral sent to the program. In this situation, Maier

said, the program automatically opens a case, contacting parents

only if more information is needed.

This situation did not apply to Corrina, and she had to request

an application.

Maier said the application is $20 and is mailed out to the

parent. When the program gets the papers back, it opens a case and

determines the next action.

If the parent is simply requesting to enforce an already

existing child support order, Maier said it takes less time than it

would to open a brand new case.

In Corrina’s case, this is a long process that has only just

begun, her having opened a new case.

Maier said it is very important that the parent requesting child

support have the other parent’s name, date of birth and Social

Security number. These make the process faster to locate the

person.

Corrina called Kaeli’s father to inform him of her decision to

apply for child support, and she said he refused to give her his

Social Security number. He then moved and refused to tell her where

he was living. She said he also had his local family members

promise not to speak to Corrina or tell her of his whereabouts.

“His mother lives right behind my parents, and she’s never come

over to see me or Kaeli,” Corrina said.

His sister, however, did speak to Corrina and gave her an idea

of where he lived but said she didn’t know the exact address.

In this case, Maier said, she would ask Corrina if she and the

father have ever filed taxes together or filed any papers together

such as loans or housing rental agreements.

Maier also said if the parent in question is being paid

over-the-table by a job, the program could locate them by his/her

employer.

Corrina said her ex-boyfriend works for his grandfather and is

paid under-the-table.

According to Maier, if the parent cannot be located, there is

nothing that can be done to obtain child support. This happens in

about 30 percent of the cases.

“There’s some we can’t locate today that we locate tomorrow, so

it’s hard to put an exact percent on it,” Maier said.

Once the parent is located, however, the program sends a notice

informing him or her of the parental responsibility to pay child

support. The papers state a date, time and place to discuss payment

options. This is called a Notice of Financial Responsibility

Packet.

In Corrina’s case, if the father did not show up for his

appointed time and place, he would become a father by default and

would be given a second notice, a court order. The judge would then

decide what to do about the default.

Brent Olsson, an attorney in Fort Collins, said the amount of

child support given each payment depends on both parents’ incomes

and the number of overnights spent with each parent.

“The child support guidelines have a plateau from zero

overnights to 92,” Olsson said. “Support will be the same for any

of the above cases. It’s only when the child spends over 92

overnights that the amount changes.”

Less child support is demanded of parents who spend 92 to 182

overnights with their child. The primary custody would switch to

the other parent if the overnights exceeded 182.

Corrina said she isn’t concerned with overnights and visitation,

because Kaeli has a father figure. She and her daughter live with

Corrina’s fianc�, who wishes to adopt Kaeli after he and

Corrina are married. She said she feels very lucky to have a father

figure for Kaeli, as some are not so fortunate.

According to Olsson, once Corrina’s fianc� has adopted,

the paternal father no longer is obligated to pay child support.

However, when she marries, Corrina said Kaeli will not be able to

be adopted before June of 2005, a year after they have been

married.

“We have a long road ahead of us,” Corrina said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.