Yesha Callahan

America’s Most Wanted Child Support Dodger

He was America’s Most Wanted. America’s Most Wanted child support dodger.

In January, Dr. David Z. Martin, 55, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport for failing to pay thousands of dollars in child support to his family in Texas. He’d been on the most wanted Child Support Evader list since 2002.

There were reports he fled to Costa Rica to avoid paying his child support, and other reports that he was living in another warm climate working with horses. So instead of paying support, he chose to shovel manure.

Then the good dead-beat doctor was arrested and detained in Oman for illegally entering the country after he failed to produce a valid passport. Under federal law, parents who owe more than $2,500 in court-ordered chid support are unable to obtain or renew passports.

And he owed $420,000. Nearly half-a-million.

“This arrest stems from the defendant’s failure to make court-ordered child support payments for over a decade,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. “Though he attempted to avoid his obligation by traveling internationally, authorities were able to hold him accountable. We are grateful to officials in Carson County, Texas, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their assistance with this case.”

Even though Martin was arrested, the chances of his family seeing a penny of that $420k are slim. Although child support evaders risk jail time, driver license suspension, passport refusal as well as garnishments and leans, the custodial parents still aren’t guaranteed anything, especially if there isn’t anything available to give.

Can’t squeeze blood from a turnip that refuses to get a real job to keep paying child support on its tubers.

According to a 2007 U.S. Census report, over $29 billion in back child support is due to women, versus the $4 billion that is due to men. While it’s unknown how much of this money falls under Diddy’s responsibility, $29 billion isn’t the change of chumps. That’s a lot of “baby daddies” who are letting the state shoulder their responsibilities.

There’s a kid somewhere desperately needing what his mother can’t properly provide who is caught up in the child support system. Waiting. Waiting for his Casper the Deadbeat Ghost of a father to be located. Waiting for Mr. Sometimes-On-the-Weekends to finally keep a job longer than a few months. Even waiting Papa Sperm Donor to man up and show some sign of affection along with offering even the smallest amount of pocket change.

I’m among the fortunate ones. I’ve had no child support issues with my ex. But six years ago, my mother received her first child support payment, courtesy of the State of New Jersey. Considering all of her children are now adults, with children of their own, it was quite a surprise.

After my parents divorced, my mother had four kids to raise practically on her own. Although extended family pitched in, financially the burden fell on her.  For the span of our childhood, my siblings and I knew there were things we had to go without. That pair of Lotto sneakers, blue Levi jeans, or the BMX bike I craved for. When you had a mother who worked two jobs occasionally, attended school and didn’t receive a brown penny from her ex-husband, luxuries were lies only others could indulge in.

When my peers went to summer camp we went to the backyard.

There was a severe lack of lake or log cabins back there.

But some of this was the fault of my mother who failed to do her due diligence when it came to keeping up with her child support case. After years of never receiving anything, she eventually stopped looking. This is the routine so many women often fall into.

Mothers-managing-money: If you want results sometimes you have to be that nagging person on the phone every week, standing in line and waiting in the social services office to speak with your caseworker, or harassing that lawyer to make sure they’re on top of things. If the courts can’t locate the father, you must attempt to locate them yourself. Don’t let yourself become among the women waiting on a $29 billion windfall that’s never coming through.

If you don’t stay on top of people, you’re destined to end up at the bottom of their case pile. Aggressively pursue your cases, not just for yourself, but for your child’s peace of mind.

  1. July 6, 2011 - Reply

    Damn shame that there is even a reason for this post to have been birthed in the first place. However, it’s the state of the world we live in. This is a very good reminder/necessary push for those women (and few men), not getting what is owed to the responsibility they helped create and then walked away from.

  2. July 16, 2011 - Reply

    I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. August 29, 2011 - Reply

    My mother never fought to get child support for me and my brother. My father married and worked the same job and eventually retired from it. When I think of all the things my brother and I went without, because she made jusst enough to not qualify for any welfare programs, and then, because her new husband “didn’t want another man’s money coming into HIS house, I don’t respect her for her choice. When I got divorced, I slapped a saddle on my ex and I will ride him all the way to 18. Think his mother or brothers don’t know when he misses a payment? Think I don’t have them cover an expense until HE can pay THEM back? Think I don’t have a copy of EVERY bill regarding the girls sent to his house? Hmmpt.

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