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Mercer County ranks first in NJ for child support arrests

Mercer County led the state’s 21 counties in the number of people the sheriff’s department arrested and the amount of money that was collected related to child support in 2016.

The Mercer County Sheriff’s office arrested more than 300 people and collected more than $104,000 for distribution by the NJ Family Support Payment Center of Mercer County in 2016, officials said today.

Of all Mercer County child support warrants handed down by judges in the county in 2016, the sheriff  child support enforcement team executed 92 percent of the warrants.

The NJ Child Support Council awarded its 2016 “Sheriff s Office of the Year Award” to the Mercer County Sheriff s Office at its 35th Annual Luncheon in Atlantic City on March 3 for the office’s efforts to pursue “the most egregious non-compliant parents or so-called ‘deadbeats’,” officials said.

Sheriff Jack Kemler said officers spend endless hours tracking down parents who are behind on their child support. He said the effort is not just about arrest numbers. “When a parent does not pay support, it places their child at risk for not having their basic needs met for food, housing, clothing and health care,” he said.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • ConservativeinNJ

    Most Dad’s are not “willful” deadbeats. In fact, most are not deadbeats at all. The vast majority of fathers who are behind on their Child support are behind because of changes in their work. Most of the fathers who are behind on their child support have been downsized at work, lost a job due to the economy, or have been fired because of the harassment by the NJ family courts.
    A father who is behind on his Child support more than $1500 has a few things that happen automatically, first his drivers license is suspended and a bench warrant goes out for his arrest. Most guys continue to drive regardless because they do not have money, time and are afraid to go to court to ‘purge” the warrant. So, if he is pulled over, He will be arrested on the side of the road and taken to county jail. There he will have to wait 12 – 48 hours for hearing before a judge. depending on the judges mood that day, he may get off with paying as little as $50 to purge or the judge may want something more substantial like $2000 to purge. If he cannot come up with the money he will remain in jail up to 30 days. Many men lose their jobs during their stay in prison because their employer thinks they are ditching work or just didn’t show up. Many men, try to explain what’s going on to their employer, but all employers hear is Jail, court, arrears, and that equals problems for the employer. This process of DL suspensions, Arrest warrants and Jail starts a vicious circle of an otherwise normal man becoming a fugitive. Most of these men have never committed a crime in their entire life and all of a sudden they find themselves caught in the machinations of the government machine which does not care about what their circumstances are, it wants what it wants which is the money. The process of DL suspension, warrants and jail is debilitating for most men. Once you are in the system it can take herculean efforts to break free.
    One little dirty secrets of the family courts is title IV-D of the social security act. This law, gives states the funding to conduct these “sweeps” of fathers who have warrants for child support arrears. What they do not tell you is that they use this law to steal from the federal government. This is how it works, if a father has to pay child support and alimony, legally child support is supposed to be paid first because that is the only thing that a warrant and DL suspension can be generated from and what they can collect from the Federal government for enforcement. So to get more funding from the feds they combine alimony and child support so that they can get funding on the alimony portion which is ineligible for inclusion for reimbursement purposes. Many men are able to pay their full child support obligation but when combined with their alimony they fall short and therefore, end up in the system. More and more women are getting caught up in the system for being behind on their support. No matter if it is a woman or man who is behind on their A&C support, the current system does more harm than good. It causes people and children way more harm than good. It is time NJ comes up with a better system.

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