Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gambling Intercept for Child Support Bill Heard

The Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee met Wednesday 06 January 2010 to hear public testimony on Senate Bill 0163. The bill is sponsored by committee chairman Bray and was based upon the work of the Indiana Department of Child Services, Child Support Bureau.

DCS director Judge James Payne and Cynthia Longest, Deputy Director of the Child Support Bureau were the first to speak. This made my job much easier as their extensive testimony prepared the committee members for the issues I would speak about.

The bill primarily would mandate that casinos and horse racing facilities check the bureaus database for delinquent child support payment obligors before paying large jackpot winners. Figures discussed range from $600 to $2500.

The bill would also add gaming employees to the list of other licensed professionals who could have their licenses or permits revoked, suspended or not renewed for having a child support arrears.

There was one area of concern for me in the bill which was the definition of delinquent. The bill provides that anyone who owes at least $2000 in back support or a cumulative amount equal to three months is considered delinquent. In many paternity cases and some divorces support orders are not issued until after the final hearing. At that point a support arrears may be set that easily exceeds those amounts considered to be delinquent. I propose that for the purpose of licensing issues that the delinquent amounts apply to after the most recent support order.

I do feel that there are adequate safeguards in place in this bill that would prevent mistakenly intercepted winnings from being paid out to the custodial parent and that licensing issues would only go into effect if a parent failed to cooperate or ignored the notice of possible suspension.

"We do not believe that a parent who's having difficulty paying child support should be out gambling," said Stuart Showalter, with Indiana Shared Parenting, a group that advocates for equal joint custody.

The bill is expected to be amended slightly and be prepared for a vote by the committee next week. If the bill passes out of committee it will go to the Senate floor for a vote. Keep updated on all Indiana child support and custody bills here.

Also next week our joint legal custody upon signing of a paternity affidavit bill is expected to receive a hearing. Please check this blawg frequently for updated information on the 2010 Indiana General Assembly.

You may be read more about this and leave comments in the Associated Press article appearing in the New York Times, Miami Herald, USA Today or the Seattle Times.


Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

©2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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