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Bluecat

Does Anyone Know?

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OK, excuse me if this is in the wrong place, but there are more Americans on this board than anywhere else I know, so can anyone give me a few pointers?

I am in occasional email contact with a US citizen who lives in another foreign country (not the US, and not where I live either). This person has asked me what ideas I can offer him about his legally anomalous situation.

I'm seeing this as a counseling situation, as I have (as he well knows) no legal knowledge or expertise.

This guy's story, as told to me, is that he was reluctant to return to the US as he had a massive claim for unpaid maintenance outstanding from his ex-wife.

According to him, he faces jail time. Apparently (also according to him) jail without possibility of remission unless the maintenance is paid, which he states is impossible for him.

As a result, he has failed to renew his US passport in the country where he now lives. He states that he believes if he goes to the US embassy he will be seized and deported.

So he is currently living as an illegal - no passport, no visa - in that country. It is becoming more difficult to do this, as various laws have been tightened up.

My 'ideas" are that his choice is to (a) continue living illegally until he gets caught, resulting in jail time in the country he's now in, followed by whatever the US has in store for him, or (b) turn himself in at the embassy, which might at least minimise or obviate jail time in the place he's in now.

It might help me advise him if I had a better idea of what the US system might actually have in store for him. Can anyone explain this? His home state is Texas but his marriage he says was in Arkansas.

In the UK most child maintenance from absent Dads is never collected at all. An agency was set up to improve this, but has been disbanded as the cost of pursuing maintenance exceeded what was ever collected.

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OK, excuse me if this is in the wrong place, but there are more Americans on this board than anywhere else I know, so can anyone give me a few pointers?

I am in occasional email contact with a US citizen who lives in another foreign country (not the US, and not where I live either). This person has asked me what ideas I can offer him about his legally anomalous situation.

I'm seeing this as a counseling situation, as I have (as he well knows) no legal knowledge or expertise.

This guy's story, as told to me, is that he was reluctant to return to the US as he had a massive claim for unpaid maintenance outstanding from his ex-wife.

According to him, he faces jail time. Apparently (also according to him) jail without possibility of remission unless the maintenance is paid, which he states is impossible for him.

As a result, he has failed to renew his US passport in the country where he now lives. He states that he believes if he goes to the US embassy he will be seized and deported.

So he is currently living as an illegal - no passport, no visa - in that country. It is becoming more difficult to do this, as various laws have been tightened up.

My 'ideas" are that his choice is to (a) continue living illegally until he gets caught, resulting in jail time in the country he's now in, followed by whatever the US has in store for him, or (b) turn himself in at the embassy, which might at least minimise or obviate jail time in the place he's in now.

It might help me advise him if I had a better idea of what the US system might actually have in store for him. Can anyone explain this? His home state is Texas but his marriage he says was in Arkansas.

In the UK most child maintenance from absent Dads is never collected at all. An agency was set up to improve this, but has been disbanded as the cost of pursuing maintenance exceeded what was ever collected.

First of all, Texas is NOT a debtors state. You cannot be put in jail for the inability to pay a debt (unlike Louisiana and perhaps some other states.) Texas can prevent one from obtaining or renewing certain licenses for such things a child support, but not other debts. Any debt to his ex-wife would, I think, not carry any jail time unless there was some contempt of court charge that has been ignored. And, until recently, Texas has not had alimony so it is unlikely that the debt stems from a failed marriage. It is more likely some sort of settlement. But without knowing the true story with all the details there is nothing anyone could better advise, other than consult with an attorney.

If he approaches a US Embassay in the attempt to renew a passport AND there is a warrant for his arrest that can be found then he will be held until extradition is attempted. Of course, that may be declined depending on the severity of the warrant.

Attorney...or, he is a man without a country.

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Unless there are other incriminating circumstances, I do not believe he will be jailed for non-payment of child support. Courts generally view imprisonment as not helping the child(ren) in question, so they generally assign instead a "new plan" by which the deadbeat father can begin paying something to the mother. This often happens by way of wage garnishment.

The dude needs to man-up and return to his obiligations.

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"unless there was some contempt of court charge that has been ignored."
"generally assign instead a "new plan"

Another "been there done that"...my "ex" had me in court seven times within five years of our divorce and was fraudulently attempting to collect "Child support" (which for about a year she was getting 3x's what the court ordered due to her paperwork at the welfare dept). The main thing to keep focused on is proof of what has been paid and how much his last court order demanded of him.

1. make sure the "ex-wife" has a valid and legitimate claim against him

Very often "grumpy" men and women work for the agencies "collecting", depending on the sob story some may pursue the "delinquent" far more aggressively than others. They are human they either believe in the bs fed by ex's or not, but if they do, watch out! Like my ex, she told welfare I wasn't paying child support so both the county and the state she moved to were paying her the $150/mo ordered (1980) putting me $300 behind every month plus the $150 I paid her directly. For about a year she was getting $450 off my $150/court order because of paperwork foul ups which are VERY COMMON. (In the end, six years later, she faced fraud charges and moved out of the state...one lowsy week after the seven year statute ran out, her case worker finally connected the dots, but it was "too late" to charge the ex! She was arrested several months later for welfare fraud in California and the charge she "beat" was counted as first strike, showing a history of fraud, and she served two years and lost the boys...my son (then 12) to me, his brother (then 9) to his Dad.)

2. if she is on the public dole (welfare) he will be fighting the county his children and ex live in, not her

If the ex is on welfare of any type, he is not fighting her, rather the county from which she filed for public assistance. Make sure he contacts the actual dept. where this claim is generated from. He can talk to (in most cases) the ex's case worker to figure out a "plan" as Hooka mentioned. He can give her an e-mail address for contact...he has the right to see the claims against him before giving contact such as home address...the County may balk at this, but perfectly legal in all 50 states.

3. depending on "where" he is, make sure of what that diplomatic relations call for, some countries will "extradite for cause"

He should be able to go to the embassy without fear and actually one fellow I knew years ago they helped him get through the mess. Play ignorant, not dumb and embassy's usually are a big help. If he were to convince the embassy all he wanted was fairness and admit his mistakes of not renewing Visa etc...usually no big deal.

Whatever he does make sure he does NOT contact some of the "Dead Beat Dad" Info "Help" web-sites...most of them are advocates for paying and don't care about the circumstances, they get their fees by finding "dead beats" and turning them into the counties or jurisdictions. They are not friendly to the person owing, except while gathering information. If he's slick, he can get them to open up a bit and channel down some info regarding his case, but be very careful. If he "signs up" for any of those sites, I recommend using a pseudonym name ....instead of John Allen Smith ...use Allen Smith or John Allen (lots of legal-eze behind "why") Many of these "Help-sites" "play along" with them and get more info than petitioning. Remember they want the person "wanted", not to make friends with or be understanding "dead beats" even though they will often sound that way in the beginning.

So that's my 2ยข and if I can help more, just e-mail. He's in a pickle, but not one that should ruin his life....if he plays it right. I also agree he needs to man up not just about the $, but for his kid's sake, if he ever wants to be a Real Dad.

Blessings of Peace

http://www.childwelfare.com/arkansas_child_welfare.htm

http://www.arkansas.gov/dhs/homepage.html

Arkansas has many publications on this:

https://ardhs.sharepointsite.net/DHS%20Publications/Forms/AllItems.aspx

TEXAS:

http://www.childwelfare.com/texas.htm

http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp_website.cfm?rs_ID=16&rate_chno=AZ-0004E

hope this helps,

Blessings,

Edited by RevAl

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for what it's worth:

he needs to get his passport and visa renewed first.if he is found illegal in another country,he could find himself in hotter water than he wants to be in.foreign jails are not fun!then he needs to contact a lawyer stateside to find out his options.and yes,he needs to make arrangements to pay the man.

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You guys are wrong... At least here in VA, and in ALLOT of other states, jail is not only possible, but mandatory. And the REALLY bad part is that these payments are usually WAY out of line with available income... leaving a situation that is very fruitful for the state in that they get an abundance of the slave labor that jail is really all about, so these cases are perused with GREAT vigor.

Just about every working aged male that I know has been in jail for this. I once knew a guy who worked THREE full time jobs... And lived in his car.... Due to this detestable practice. Before I fully understood the situation, I asked him WHY he didnt just give up and quit paying.. Of course, "jail" was the answer.

This man ABSOLUTELY must consult with a lawyer from the state the case is IN.

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for what it's worth:

he needs to get his passport and visa renewed first.if he is found illegal in another country,he could find himself in hotter water than he wants to be in.foreign jails are not fun!then he needs to contact a lawyer stateside to find out his options.and yes,he needs to make arrangements to pay the man.

Indeed. As I say, he's currently in Country B without a legal passport or a visa.

I don't know what the real story about his marriage is (and don't particularly want to know), or what might be awaiting him in the US, but my knowledge of the country in which he currently resides makes me extremely sure he does NOT want to spend time in prison there.

As for his income - I don't know how he is managing in Country B, as it is (theoretically at least) impossible to get legal work there without all the documentation. He is obviously working illegally. If he returns to the states, he does not have a job to go to.

Even so, my own opinion is that he'd better do the time (if any) in the States soon than wait until he's caught, does hard time in country B and then jail in the USA.

Apart from anything, he was neither young nor particularly fit when I first knew him 11 years ago, and I doubt the trend is improving.

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