ABUSIVE, UNFAIR, AND CARELESS TACTICS ARE RAMPANT AT CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES DEPARTMENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Case in Point: Victorville, CA --San Bernardino County Child Support Services Department
1. On August 7, 1998, Kevin Gesson sent a letter to the child support services requesting a DNA test and a review of the amount of child support because the amount was a hardship. The amount left him unable to pay rent and his bills. When you become a "default father"(which means you have not been notified of child support orders), you have nothing to say about the amount of child support; it is the highest amount possible from your paycheck. Also you don't know your check will be garnished ahead of time because no one has notified you or cares to notify you until it's too late. ln fact we learned later from personal experience, that the people at the child support serivces love to use the expression, "Sorry, it's too late."
2. If you are more than 30 days late in a child support payment, they take away your drivers' license, your business licenses, your passport, your checking account will be seized, and your tax returns will be seized. Your livelihood is taken away from you. How can you pay child support if you cannot drive to work? If you lose your job and get behind in child support, isn't it a little difficult to explain to a perspective employer that you can't drive? If something happens to your health and you miss child support payments, and your drivers license is gone, how can you get to rehabilitation or to doctor's appointments without a drivers' license? Guess what, these child support services people are brutal and don't care. That is plain immoral. You just keep getting more and more behind on payments, they can collect more and more money on arrearages and not only do you suffer but the children they are supposed to be helping, suffer.
3. Four years after our original request to the mother for a DNA test, we got one and it showed Kevin to be zero (0) percentage to be the father. Kevin's Dad went to the child support services with the document and a letter from the mother to take Kevin's name out of the system. He was told he could not speak for his son without notarized authority by Kevin to speak for him. So our family got notarized authority to speak for Kevin, since he had a hard time getting away from his job. Kevin and his Dad went again to the child support services, with the DNA proof and signed letter from the mother, and they were told, "Sorry, it's too late, the paternity judgment is the law and all you can do is pay up".
4. Next, we proceeded to go to the DMV to attempt to at least get Kevin's driver's license back and were told that child support services would have to sign a release for his license, that they were holding it. So Kevin and his Mom went to the child support services office. While we were in the waiting room, a very distraught man came huffing and puffing in the door and demanded an immediate appointment. He had gone to the bank that morning to get some money for his kid's breakfast and couldn't get any money because the child support services had seized his checking account. He was extremely angry because the week before the child support services told him they had cleared him of all arrearages and that he was all paid up.
When we got our turn to talk to someone she looked our case up in the computer. We had our DNA evidence our original letter of DNA request and signed note from the mother with us. She told us, "sorry, it's too late. You should have done this sooner". We responded with show of documentation and and explanation of how we asked child support services for a DNA test right away, which was ignored. he mother refused to give us one for four years" She said, "sorry, it's too late."
5. December 2002, Kevin got a threatening letter from the child support services that they would take appropriate action under the Criminal Law of California for refusing to contribute child support. They claimed that they had requested that Kevin report his employment status to their office. Kevin never got any such requests. They gave Kevin 10 days to call their office or else they would take action. This letter was received 5 days before Christmas. Kevin called them to notify them he was unemployed and that a letter of verification of DNA and non-responsibility for the child was being sent to their office. Kevin sent the papers on December 30, well within the 10 day time limit.
A letter dated January 6, 2003 was received by Kevin from the San Bernardino County Child Support Services wilth a response to his status request. Briefly the letter acknowledged Kevin's situation and his problems with the validity of his judgment. Basically it said to get an attorney to get a judge to overturn the judgment, that it is out of their hands but they still want their money.
Kevin went to the child support services office on Jan. 7, 2002 and a person named Ron Pesch offered his advice on how to resolve and he said it looks like they are going to file criminal charges against Kevin.
6. On November 8, 2005, Kevin finally got his life back, when the judge vacated his child support judgment based on the Navarro case. However, before the case is closed, the child support services attorney said our DNA test is not valid and wants a court ordered DNA test done again. The reasoning on this issue is simply mind boggling because the child support services cannot find the mother, Lisa Burns-Gretzner-Pierce, anywhere. They insisted she is part of this case, which she is not, because we already have one valid DNA test done. Lisa is not a part of the case because Lisa told Kevin that the father must be the guy she went to Las Vegas with who must have gotten her drunk and raped her. Then she told Kevin to never contact her again. We have a signed note by Lisa Burns to the child support services to take Kevin's name out of the child support system; and that he is not responsible for child support for Austin Burns. We have no objection to another court ordered DNA test, except the county has used all their tools and resources and cannot find the mother anywhere. Now they want us to find her. We've already published for her to appear in court and we cannot find her either. Since this is new law, the judge doesn't know what to do either.
The main issue is that we originally asked the child support services for one DNA test and they wouldn't give us one. The child support judgment against Kevin was made with absolutely no proof and no DNA test taken. It was just the child support services decision and their view that Kevin had already taken responsibility for the child. How can you take responsibility as a father for child that you have never met or seen? Now that's real common sense! To finalize the judgment being vacated, the county attorneys are asking for 2 DNA tests to be done. Yes, you get the picture, Kevin got a child support judgment against him and they would not allow us one DNA test. But now they want 2 DNA tests to vacate the judgment. Wow, that really makes common sense!
March, 2006, the mother issues and signs a DECLARATION OF LISA M. PIERCE (formerly Lisa M. Burns) to the court saying she has made repeated requests to the DCSS to dismiss Kevins case and that Kevin has never been Austin Burns father. She states that DCSS has been non-responsive to her requests.
7. With the judgment finally vacated, our attorney asked for Kevin's drivers' license to be reinstated. The child support services refused that request pending the case being finalized. Our attorney pointed out that the case would not be affected in any way by Kevin having his license reinstated. Reinstating the driver' license would have no prejudice against anyone in the courtroom, not to the County (child support services), not to the child, not to the custodial parent. So it makes absolutely no sense that his license not be released. The county attorneys still refused the request. That is plain malevolence on the part of the child support services to hold a person's drivers' license when it has no benefit to them. The judge, would not be jeopardinzing his position with the county over a drivers' license, but did not reinstate Kevin's drivers' license as part of the vacated judgment. The judge said he would consider a written motion on the driver's license. Where is his reasoning? It did not take a special motion or judgment to have the driver's license taken away. It was just done arbitrarily by the child support services. Why should it take motion to get it back?
Kevin's attorney had to file a separate motion to get Kevin's driver's license back which was granted on March 1, 2006. This is a clear violation of family code by the San Bernardino Child Support Services.
8. In December, one month after the child support judgment had been reversed, Kevin got a bill from the child support services for a little over $23,000. (click on this link to see a copy of the bill). Kevin was billed for current child support for the months of November and December plus arrearages. He is being billed for a woman that the child support services has admitted they cannot find. He is being billed after the child support judgment has been reversed. That is a clear violation of the judge's order. Is that a slap in the face to the judge or does anyone care? Does truth matter? When the child support judgment was issued against Kevin, his judgment became effective immediately and they garnished his wages immediately. However, now that the child support judgment has been reversed, the child support services ignores the court order and keeps billing anyway.
9. In January, 2006, a person idenitfying himself as a San Bernardino County employee, called Kevin's brother-in-law and told him that there is a warrant out for Kevin Gesson's arrest for not paying child support and that Kevin would be arrested. The phone call was made on January 16 which is a government holdiday and government employees don't work on this holiday. This was more than 2 months after Kevin's child support judgment was reversed. We immediately called our attorney and she said to write everything down that was in the conversation. Kevin said he thought someone had been watching him during the week and it looked like one or two private detectives. (We have all the exact details of this threat documented).
Case in Point: New York City, NY
Child Support Agency Harasses Grieving FatherNothing that child support enforcement agencies do ever surprises me anymore but Jane Spies of the National Family Justice Association has found a new one. Robert Levine, a New York truck driver, lost his 14 year-old son to a sudden illness in April. Despite this, NYC child support enforcement froze his bank accounts and tried to seize his driver's license (and destroy his livelihood) in an effort to get him to pay child support for his dead son.
Just like James R. Frazier, Levine fought it and, even though he also got a letter saying that it had all been straightened out, the child support bureaucracy still pursued him. Read the story and see the video here.