Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, April 10, 2005

Error stymies dad's efforts to pay

 •  Hawai'i at bottom in child-support ranking
 •  Despite 2002 court case, state still has problems delivering payments

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i lists William F. Medeiros on its child-support delinquency list, although he said he regularly mailed his $220 monthly support checks to the Child Support Enforcement Agency from his home on the Mainland since 2000.

"They would cash the check, then a couple of weeks later I would get back a state of Hawai'i 'refund' check for the same amount," Medeiros said. "I tried calling them, but I couldn't get through. Have you ever tried calling them? I didn't know what to do."

Medeiros' 14-year-old daughter is being raised by his mother and other relatives in Waimanalo. When his mother applied for medical benefits for the girl in 2000, the state told Medeiros he was responsible for paying $220 per month in child support beginning in May 2000.

After sending him a series of refund checks, the state last year notified him he owed more than $10,000 in delinquent child support. "That letter gave me a number for a live person I could call. I called, explained that I have been making payments the entire time, but you people keep sending the money back to me," he said.

Medeiros said the state insisted he hadn't been paying. He sent documentation by certified mail, he said, including photocopies of all the checks he had sent and all the checks the state returned to him.

"The next thing I heard from them is that they said they hadn't received anything. So at that point I had to be rude right back to them. They did another investigation and found out that the computer, the automated system, didn't recognize (my) court number, the case number. They apologized, said it was their fault. Now my checks are going through," he said.

Medeiros is trying to pay back the earlier amounts that were returned to him but says it has been tough, and that isn't the end of his troubles.

"Then my 2004 tax return, my refund, was taken away from me because they have me classified as a deadbeat dad," he said. "I don't have $10,000 in an account to send to them. I'm paying it back as I can. I'm now delinquent by a little more than $9,000," said Medeiros.

The mother of his daughter lives in Colorado, and he thinks she should pay support as well.

"The state of Colorado recently got in touch with me and asked me for information on tracking down the mother. The Colorado people said they weren't getting cooperation from the Hawai'i child-support people. Who's in charge? This system is messed up."

Attorney General Mark Bennett said Friday he could not comment on specific individual child-support cases without written waivers of confidentiality laws from all parties.

Reach Jim Dooley at 535-2447 or jdooley@honoluluadvertiser.com.