Collecting Back Child Support?

My ex owes $65,000 in child support arrears. The automatic deduction from his monthly navy retirement income of $1,400 is only $100. He also receives SSI. He is now in a nursing home. My DOR caseworker won't contact the navy to request an increase in the child support arrears deduction. (He is out of state living in Florida, the case is in Massachusetts). What can I do to get an increased deduction?


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February 5, 20190 found this helpful

Contact a lawyer. If you cannot afford one, contact the Legal Aid Society.

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February 5, 20190 found this helpful

Who drafted your child support settlement? Was it a lawyer or mediator? That person needs to lead the charge to get the process back on track since they will have all of the history and documentation.


If that person is gone (left the state, died, etc.). Contact your state sentator's office to find out if they can help you (they may need to connect you with your federal representative/senator since this is a cross state issue) or if they can give you a reputable legal aide referral. NEVER Google for a lawyer or legal aide. There are too many scams out there.

Best wishes. Post back what you learn.

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February 8, 20190 found this helpful

There are too many things going on in your case for anyone on this site to give you more than just a few suggestions for you to try. It is possible one of the suggestions could help you.


  • Truthfully, it may be too involved for your DOR case worker to want to get involved in trying to work something out between the military, you, 2 states, your ex, and a nursing home that will fight to keep the money they are getting.
  • It would be mandatory for the DOR to help you if there were minor children involved but since this is for back support payments it is not something that will cause a real problem for them.
  • I really do not understand how your ex could have been in the service for any length of time and did not have child support payments taken out of his pay?
  • It will be difficult for an attorney to try to do anything that involves military pay so acquiring an attorney may not help you.
  • It may not help to pay a visit to anyone higher up in the service as they may just send you back to the DOR (but - they may send a letter to the DOR about your visit which might cause the DOR to take some kind of action).
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  • On this note sometimes it helps to send letters (not just emails) to the DOR asking them to look into this matter and CC a copy to someone in Washington (or several "someones") as well as your congressman as they would then know they may have to provide an answer to someone other than you.
  • Making an appointment with your congressman may be your only real recourse but be well prepared to provide lots of information.
  • The nursing home in Florida will not want a reduction in the pension as your ex's SSI may be a very low payment considering that his pension is $1400 which could off-set the SSI benefit payment. It is very expensive to keep someone in a nursing home but since they receive both checks for his care they will make a case as to the cost of his care that may override your need for back support monies.
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  • There are some military nursing homes in Florida but it seems your ex is not in one of those?
  • I believe a lot of decisions will depend on your ex's reasons for being in the home and what is his expected health for the future.
  • It will take time and may get even more frustrating but make an appointment with your congressman and find out if you are fighting a lost cause.
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February 9, 20190 found this helpful


Here is an article link that I found, which discusses a similar situation. The article is about withholding child support from the payment given to a nursing home.

Blessings and let us know how this turns out.


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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
February 10, 20190 found this helpful

I also read some articles about withholding back support monies and nursing homes but could not find any that could actually relate to this situation as the ex-husband is drawing SSI which cannot be reduced by child support or anything really as SSI is only paid when the client does not have sufficient SS credits to draw regular SS benefits. I believe he may have started drawing SSI sometime in the past because he was disabled in some manner.


From reading about this situation, I believe your ex was in the service before (and after?) 1957 and he was not paying into SS and it appears he never paid (from any work) any SS so he has none or very few SS credits and can only draw SSI.
During this period seems to be the time he did not pay child support (when you probably really needed it) but the court does not usually look at "arrears" in the same manner as regular child support. If your ex was in good health the Navy may allow more money for arrears but as it is, rather doubtful.

He may have also been drawing his navy pension either because he was disabled or his age made him eligible. His pension can be attached (if approved) for back support but not the SSI. The Navy will usually make all of the final decisions on the amount that can be paid (but I believe a regular court judge can sometimes influence that decision).

I believe the health and welfare of your ex-husband will be the deciding factor as to whether the Navy will make any changes and the Florida nursing home will probably fight any changes because his pension and SSI payments do not cover the cost of his care.

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