There are numerous ways child support battles can get complicated. One is when a Native American individual is one of the parents. Since they technically belong to sovereign nations, they don’t necessarily have to follow court orders for child support payments. And even if they are rolling in money from casino profits, that money can’t legally be touched by the courts.
One woman in California has had a tough time collecting payments from her ex-husband after he refused to pay an accident lawyer the money he deserved.. She says she lives with her mother, has gone on and off welfare, had two cars repossessed and lost her house. And even though her ex garners over $13,000 per month from his tribe’s casino, he has stopped paying her.
The man apparently agreed to pay her $30,000 in back child support, but would not pay any more. He apparently stopped monthly payments of nearly $3,000 in 2009, and now he does not pay the raised monthly due of $4,659.
While the state cannot legally touch money from the tribe, some tribes in 18 different states have used federal funds to power child support enforcement programs. But it’s not a requirement. As a result, some advocates say, taxpayers pick up the slack in the form of welfare and food stamps.
According to NPR, the California woman’s ex-husband’s tribe recently passed a resolution that may consider enforcing child support payments. But that’s only on a case-by-case basis.
It’s a tricky situation. Parents are legally obligated to make child support payments, yet it can’t always be enforced. And it’s the children and families who suffer as a result.