Child support reimbursement sought by grandparent

Although it is not uncommon for parents to be held responsible for their minor children's financial issues, Minnesota residents may be surprised at the situation facing a Florida woman. The woman's son was a minor when his daughter was born, and a court order was issued in 2013 in Highlands County requiring her to pay $254 per month in child support for her granddaughter. The order also imposed costs for back support dating to the girl's birth in December 2012. The woman has paid more than $3,000 and does not have access to the child.

The woman's son reached the age of legal responsibility for the child in January, but she has continued to deal with a monthly deduction. Her son is endeavoring to find a job so that he can support his daughter and says that he does not know where the child is currently located. Meanwhile, his mother is currently receiving assistance with the case from a community advocate.

In investigating the situation, the woman and her advocate have questioned whether state statutes require that a grandparent can be responsible for a grandchild's support. An official at the Department of Revenue indicated that there was no paperwork sent to the woman's employer requiring deductions in this case. She also stated that in a situation involving a parent who is a minor, a parent of an individual who owes support may be included as a party to a support action and may be served with a support petition. However, this does not imply an obligation to pay that support.

In complicated family situations such as this, legal representation may be important for halting an inappropriate support action. If a parent misses child support because he or she cannot afford the required amount, a lawyer could negotiate a new payment amount, which could be beneficial to both parents.

Source: Highlands Today , "AP grandmother seeks reimbursement for child support", Paul Catala , July 23, 2014

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