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11
Ten accused in theft of $91,000 in child support money

04/17/2004

Associated Press


The Marion County prosecutor filed dozens of felony charges against a former state employee and nine others accused of taking part in the theft of more than $91,000 in child support money.

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said Kathleen Crumpton, who worked for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration from 1998 until last year, used her authority to redirect and steal child support checks. Crumpton, 38, is charged with two felonies.

"She diverted money that was intended to help support children in single-parent homes," Brizzi said. "Who knows what these children had to go without?"

From September 2002 to March 2003, Crumpton had about 25 child support payments mailed to her mother's home and other addresses, and she then falsely endorsed and cashed them, according to the charges filed Friday in Marion Superior Court.

Crumpton could not be reached for comment. A phone number assigned to an Indianapolis resident with her name is unlisted.

Prosecutors also charged Crumpton's 19-year-old son and a bank teller who allegedly processed the checks. Seven others also were charged.

The 10 suspects were expected to surrender to authorities, prosecutors said. The charges include conspiracy, forgery and theft.

The Family and Social Services Administration, according to court records, was tipped to the scheme in February 2003 by a liquor store owner who became suspicious when he was asked to cash one of the stolen checks. The FSSA began its own investigation and closely monitored Crumpton's activities for about a month, spokeswoman Cindy Collier said.

Crumpton resigned during the FSSA investigation. Prosecutors were presented with the evidence in September, Collier said.

"We have been very anxious to see this come to fruition," she said. "That money belongs to children, and that's who should get it."

The FSSA processes about $430 million a year in child support.

The agency has tightened policies and procedures since Crumpton's resignation last year, Collier said. The theft "was an important learning experience," the spokeswoman said.

Information from: The Indianapolis Star

http://www.whas11.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D820O9282.html

12
The Follies of Child Support: Dead-Beat or Dead-Broke?

March 11, 2004
by Carey Roberts

Persons who are looking for an example of how good intentions can turn into a nightmare should consider the case of Alexander Shire. When Alexander was 14, he was plied with liquor and raped by Laura Evelyn, then 21 years of age. Evelyn became pregnant and bore a child. That was back in 1984.

When the child support commissars in Michigan recently found out about the case, they demanded that Shire pay child support.

You may wonder how this can be, since the offspring is now full-grown and no longer in need of “child” support. But draconian child support laws make no provision for that. Shire would be required to pay for all back payments, plus interest.

How could this banana-republic justice happen here in America?

Back in 1974, the Congress established the [a href=http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/index.html" target="xx]Office of Child Support Enforcement[/a]. For years, few knew of this petty bureaucracy.

All that changed on May 4, 1992, when Newsweek magazine depicted on its cover an affluent white man. He was framed with a Wanted poster bearing the caption, “Deadbeat Dads: Wanted for Failure to Pay Child Support.” Almost overnight, Deadbeat Dads became Public Enemy No. 1.

But the Newsweek picture was wrong. Instead of a well-heeled businessman, it should have shown a guy wearing a faded T-shirt. Color him disheveled. Call him “dead-broke.”

In his acclaimed book, Divorced Dads, researcher Sanford Braver concludes that “unemployment is the single most important factor relating to nonpayment.” And according to a study of non-paying dads released by the Urban Institute last year, “only 1% have recent net incomes in excess of $50,000.”

So much for the two-timing executive driving off in his red convertible with trophy girlfriend in hand.

Teresa Kaiser, former director of the Maryland child support office, freely admitted to her audiences that support formulas are set way too high for low-income dads. So the child support “crisis” is actually an artifact of unrealistic payment guidelines.

But seduced by the stereotype of the dad willfully neglecting his kids and tantalized by the prospect of reducing ballooning welfare budgets, the child support zealots moved ahead.

First came wage garnishment in 1977. In 1980, child support agencies were granted access to IRS wage information. [a href=http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/2003appendix7.pdf" target="ll]Paternity identification programs[/a] geared up in 1988.

But the early returns were not encouraging. In 1989, moms were getting $2,252 – only $37 more than they had received in 1983.

So the Clinton administration shifted the campaign into high gear. The 1996 Welfare Reform Act established two vast databases that made almost every American a potential suspect for non-payment of child support: the National Directory of New Hires and the Federal Case Registry.

Clinton-era bureaucrats dreamed up other programs that, in retrospect, were simply irrational. Driving licenses were revoked – just try earning a living wage if you can’t operate a car or truck.

And debtor’s prison was re-instituted. As you read this article, 15,000 destitute dads are spending time behind bars. Is that where they’re supposed to get training for the jobs of the future?

Last October the Census Bureau issued its [a href=http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p60-225.pdf" target="mm]report[/a], Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2001. The report reveals that from 1994 to 2002, the percentage of mothers who received child support actually dropped, from 76.1% to 74.7%.

Thirty years and many billions of taxpayer dollars later, we must face the truth: We have unfairly marginalized millions of poor dads from their families, while betraying the hope and trust of struggling moms. In the process we have infringed on the rights and privacy of average law-abiding Americans.

In short, the American child support system has been a depressing failure.

The case of [a href=http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=11004783&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id=141265&rfi=6" target="nn]Alexander Shire[/a] was finalized last month in the Michigan Court of Appeals. State prosecutor Carl Marlinga successfully argued, “At stake here is not the mother profiting from criminal wrongdoing; what’s at stake here is the child, who is entitled to an appropriately supported upbringing regardless of how he was conceived.”

That statement, notably short on compassion and reason, is the totalitarian mindset at work. And that’s what the $4 billion-a-year child support dragnet is doing to us.

Carey Roberts


http://mensnewsdaily.com/archive/r/roberts/2004/roberts031104.htm

13
Senate: Divorced parents can’t be made to pay for college


By ANNE SAUNDERS
The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004

CONCORD - The state Senate voted Wednesday to bar judges from ordering divorced parents to pay their children’s college expenses.

The 20-2 vote sent the bill to Gov. Craig Benson for signature. The House had approved it last year.

Judges cannot ordered married couples to pay for college tuition, and it would be unfair to apply a different standard to those who are divorced, said Sen. Frank Sapareto, R-Derry.

“If a college education is to become public policy, it should be for all parents, not just divorced parents,” added Sen. Robert Clegg, R-Hudson.

Lawmakers wanted to reverse a state Supreme Court ruling extending a divorced father’s child support for his daughter while she attended college.

Clegg said parents can make divorce agreements that cover college expenses even though judges can’t. Judges can approve the agreements and enforce them.

Other states allow judges to order a divorced parent to pay college expenses for their children. Studies show the children are less likely to go to college.

The Senate also approved a bill that would seal financial records in divorce proceedings. The Senate said the information can be released if someone can convince a judge the public interest is served.

Supporters of restricting access argue affidavits provide information that could be exploited by stalkers or identity thieves.

But those who want divorce records to remain open say the public can’t evaluate the fairness of property divisions and child support orders if they can’t see the facts underlying those decisions.

Clegg said the added exception protects the public interest but establishes “a high standard to protect the privacy of divorcing parties.”

The bill goes back to the House.

The Senate also approved and sent back to the House a bill that would make it easier to change a child custody arrangement if the court is convinced the existing arrangement is detrimental to the child. The current rule allows for a change only if there is a “strong possibility the child will be harmed” without it.


http://nsnlb.us.publicus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040108/NEWS02/201080428

14
Child Support Issues / RE: Child Support
« on: Jan 09, 2004, 07:59:30 PM »

>paid $7.00 hr. so he asked child support in Florida if there
>was a modification that could be made because he couldn't
>afford what he was paying before. They told him that he had to
>wait three years for them to make that modification.

I'm not certain they told him the truth. There is a cap on the amount they can legally take; if his pay decreased by 40% and the support amount didn't decrease at all, it's possible that they're taking more than the max.

See:

Maximum Child Support Limits
http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/max-cs.htm

Even if they aren't taking the maximum, he may still be able to apply for a downward mod. You might want to check the Texas and Florida  CS Statutes:

Florida:
http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/tgbfl.htm


Texas:
http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/tgbtx.htm


Another CS Link:
http://www.supportguidelines.com




15
Child Support Issues / RE: Cannot verify the true cost of day care
« on: Jan 07, 2004, 11:38:10 AM »
I don't know if this would work, but I'd consider sending her a subpeonea for her banking records and/or tax records, plus records relating to your children.

16
Florida Judge Withholds Child Support Payments
He couldn’t take it

January 4, 2004
by Tom Kovach

I’ve tried to avoid whining in this column, but today it’s my turn.
In a recent news item, it was revealed that a judge in Florida had stopped making his court-ordered child-support payments for a year.  He didn’t go back to the original court and ask to stop paying.  He simply stopped.  Of course, he claimed to have a good reason for withholding the payments.  You see, his ex-wife had been arrested a second time for DUI.  He sees nothing wrong with his actions.  And, in a way, neither do I.

But, what if that was me, or any other (read closely) “Beat-Dead” father?

Ironically, Circuit Judge Bob Wattles justified his withholding the payments because, “By my calculations, I'm ahead. I paid more than I should have when I stopped.”  He based that statement on the fact — undisputed, by the way — that he had been voluntarily paying about $300 more per month than the court had required.  But, I will pose the questions that any judge in a Family Court would ask a regular father under the same circumstances.  Don’t you think your child will need to eat sometime before he turns 18?!  What did he expect his son to do, store up blubber like a whale?

The irony continues, though.  The judge’s required child support was only $358 per month.  On a judge’s salary?!  My support payment, for only one child, is $123.50 per week!  And, my “real” job only pays $8.50 per hour, and I usually don’t get 40 hours in a week.  (Thus, I have more time for my real love, writing, even though it doesn’t pay.)  From years of experience in the Fathers’ Rights movement, I know that there are plenty more fathers voluntarily over-paying their fair share than there are fathers (especially judges) getting away with under-paying.  Although I admire Judge Wattles for paying more than the minimum, I simultaneously deplore the fact that another judge let him get by with paying so little in the first place.

Perhaps the judge really meant well.  (And, deep down, my gut tells me that he did.)  Perhaps he recognized that he was enabling his ex-wife’s drinking habit by giving her all that money.  Perhaps it was his way of protesting and punishing her behavior, and also protecting their son.  Fine.  Bravo.  Good for you, judge.  You have the right idea.  But, what about all the other fathers across this country (and others) that have been forced to enable whatever bad habits their ex-wives might acquire?  And, what about all the other fathers that have technically violated a court order for trying to do the right thing?

For example, when our divorce became final, my ex-wife had gone through three attorneys.  She finally went pro se.  Then, she started messing around with my access to our daughter.  I applied for custody, and I sued her for alienation of affections.  Then, she got one of her attorneys back.  Then, he started billing her.  Up until that point, we had a great system of child support.  I paid her regularly with Postal Money Orders.  I kept records as best I could.  But, when the lawyer started billing my ex-wife, she suddenly went to the Family Court and demanded that I be put on “The System”.  And, by her attorney’s skillful calculations, I became a “deadbeat” from day one.  (And, of course, my custody and civil suits were dismissed.)  

Of course, common sense tells anyone — except Family Court judges — that she is spending my child support money on her attorney.  And, some of his legal fees were tacked onto my “support” obligation.  And, when my ex-wife refused to let our daughter see me one Fathers’ Day, I stopped paying.  Then, the attorney petitioned the court to have me jailed for contempt.  But, does anyone care?

During that same time, my ex-wife has systematically denied me access to our daughter, alienated her against me, married a guy who lived with his parents until he was 38 years old, and moved our daughter into a run-down rural house.  (My ex’s own word for it was “dumpy”.)  She has also — by her own admission, in court papers — racked up more than $24,000 in multiple credit-card debts.  We only had one credit card when we were married, and I cut it up when it got out of hand at only $2,000.  Can the court see which one is the responsible parent?  (Well, in the eyes of a Family Court judge, the responsible parent is the one that’s paying a lawyer!)

It galls me that I’m paying “lawyer support”, and helping prepare for an attorney’s children to go to college at the expense of my own.  It galls me that the State of New York refuses to recognize Parental Alienation Syndrome as a valid cause of action.  It galls me that the NY Family Court refuses to enforce Section 241 of the Domestic Relations Law.  (That section says that, if the custodial parent denies access to the child, then the non-custodial parent may stop paying support — after a successful court petition, of course.)  

It galls me that “any reasonable person” can see that the real reason that a total of six Family Court judges have kept my daughter away from me is because I helped to write legislation that reduces their terms from ten years to four.  It galls me that my situation — which seems painful to those with “normal” lives — is nothing compared to millions of other fathers that have it far worse, and that “The System” will not lift a finger to help them.  But, it galls me much more to think that Judge Wattles will probably get away with stopping his support payments (although he was apparently doing the right thing), while other judges would lock up any regular father for using that same method to try to protect their children.

I have to wonder how many fathers Judge Wattles may have locked up previously for not paying support.  Apparently, Judge Wattles thinks that the court system is unfair.  Perhaps the judge thinks it’s all just too confusing.  Or, perhaps the judge can’t afford a lawyer — after that whopping support deduction.  Or, perhaps the judge doesn’t think that one should have to ask a court’s permission to do the right thing and protect one’s child.  Or, perhaps the judge doesn’t think he can afford to take that much time off from work.  (Do any of these concerns sound familiar, gentlemen?)  No matter what the reason, a sitting judge bypassed the judicial system. Apparently, he just couldn’t take it.

Justice isn’t blind; it’s willfully stupid.

Tom Kovach
http://www.geocities.com/tf_kovach/mailform.html


(From: http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/archive/k/kovach/2004/kovach010404.htm)

17
Child Support Issues / IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ!!
« on: Jan 06, 2004, 06:12:56 PM »
January, 2004
PLEASE NOTE:  

The Internal Revenue Service has (once again) changed its interpretation of the law regarding the "special support test for divorced and separated parents."

The "Tax Tip for Never Married Dads (http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/irs.htm)" that previously appeared at this website, explaining the circumstances in which a never-married non-custodial parent of a child born out-of-wedlock could claim the child dependency exemption, should be disregarded.

For the past several years, it was the official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) position that the entitlement to claim the tax exemption for a child of never-married parents was not controlled by the “special support test” (commonly known as the “custody rule”) but rather by the “regular support test” (taxpayer must have provided more than 50% of the dependent’s total support).  

That has now (once again) changed.  Effective with the 2003 tax year, IRS now says the “custody rule” DOES apply to never-married parents. The change of IRS position is apparently the result of the decision of the US Tax Court in the case of King and Lopez v. Commissioner, 121 TC #12 (9/26/2003) (http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/InOpHistoric/ki7ng2..TC.WPD.pdf), which gave a revised interpretation to Internal Revenue Code § 152(e)(http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/26/152.html), the law creating the "special support test" for divorced and separated parents.

So, for tax years 2003 and thereafter ............  

The "Tax Tip for Never Married Dads" that previously appeared at this website, explaining the circumstances in which a never-married non-custodial parent of a child born out-of-wedlock could claim the child dependency exemption, should be disregarded.

In view of the US Tax Court decision in the King/Lopez case and in view of the recent change of the IRS position, a non-custodial never-married parent should NOT claim the child as a dependent (regardless of how much support was paid) UNLESS the non-custodial parent's tax return is accompanied by a completed IRS Form 8332 signed by the custodial parent.

LAWRENCE D. GORIN
Law Offices of L.D. Gorin
521 S.W. Clay St., Suite 205
Portland, Oregon 97201
Phone: 503-224-8884 (afternoons, Pacific time)
Fax: 503-226-1321
E-mail: LDGorin@pcez.com
 

18
Child Support Propaganda Haunts Michigan Papers

January 2, 2004
by Roger F. Gay


Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has been in office for one year. He promised to make child support collection his top priority. Just as knowledgeable observers would expect, the promise was followed by a year of lying and corruption. Three recent articles in Michigan newspapers illustrate why he, and others like him, get away with it.

On December 18, 2003 the Detroit Free Press carried an article by staff writer Dawson Bell entitled ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE COX: ONE YEAR IN OFFICE: Honing political skill, hunting deadbeats. "Deadbeats" is a familiar reference to people who have not paid all the child support that has been ordered.

Anyone looking for an unbiased analysis would be in the wrong place. You only need look at the last paragraph, which reads: "But one thing we do know. He's easily the best Republican attorney general Michigan's had since Frank Millard."

Mr. Bell gives readers false hope with a section entitled; "Varied reviews," which then begins by saying "Virtually all observers agree there's not much downside for Cox on child support." That may be true, unless of course you happen to pay attention to the swollen throngs who see nothing but a downside to Cox on child support.

Mike Cox runs a private organization called PayKids that takes corporate donations from companies interested in child support collections. He has simultaneously been using his influence as Attorney General to lobby the state legislature to set up a system that would provide private child support collection agencies with lucrative state contracts.

On December 29th, The Macomb Daily published an article by Gitte Laasby, Capital News Service entitled; Cox zeros in on $7 billion in unpaid child support. The title copies misleading promotional information from the Cox website.

"Deadbeat dad" propaganda has been the subject of scientific investigation and the source of plenty of work by fathers' rights advocates. Although never supported by an ounce of honest evidence, proved and reproved false again and again, such bizarre claims are still common political fodder for dishonest politicians and their supporters.

One paragraph typifies the old-fashioned approach applied to Macomb County. "Deadbeat parents in Macomb County," the article claims, leaning heavily on the name-calling ethic, "owe about $17.3 million in estimated arrears at any given time, and Michigan is third-worst of all states for uncollected child support. Statewide, parents owe about $7 billion in back child support to 650,000 Michigan children and to the state."

By population, Michigan is the 8th largest state in the country; but adjusting for that, and reasonably for its claimed status as especially bad, one might expect at least $200 billion in past due child support owed nationwide. That's more than five times the total annual child support owed in the United States, including the amount "owed" (so to speak) by the 80-90 percent of fathers who pay regularly. The GAO has reported Office of Child Support Enforcement estimates that the total accumulated unpaid child support since the federal government first became involved in 1975 is less than $100 billion, and several analysts who have focused on child support (including me) believe that number is too high.

Claiming 650,000 children are owed child support in Michigan would imply around 25 million in the United States. With currently around 7 million (male and famale) custodial parents due child support nationwide (including those who receive regular payments), that would be around 3.5 per custodial parent; but if considering only those not receiving child support, the number might be somewhere closer to 25-30 children per custodial parent.

Obviously something is wrong with the statistics and something wrong with writers who repeat such dribble and newspapers that print it.

The article goes on to build up Mike Cox's image with an attack on noncustodial parents. Cox's press officer Mike Doyle complains that the public's misperception of the problem is partially to blame. "People kind of see deadbeat parents not as criminals, but people who are doing something unethical in not paying for their kids' support," he said.

'Another problem is that collecting support "wasn't a terribly high priority" to county prosecutors and the former attorney general,' parrots the article before a quote from the press officer drops entirely off the reality truck.

"For too long, these deadbeats have been able to avoid paying child support without too much fear of any kind of pursuit by law enforcement. The attorney general is trying to establish a credible threat that they will be prosecuted for a felony if they don't pay," according to Mr. Doyle.

It's one thing to claim such programs are "for the children" but entirely another to shape the promotional campaign for an audience under 5 years old. You can't expect people much older than that to be unaware of the huge and extremely expensive government program aimed at the so-called "deadbeat dads" that started more than a quarter century ago; the continuous threats, and overzealous enforcement efforts.

It might seem possible that too few people understand, because so few "news" outlets let on, that the program has not had any effect on compliance. That's because fathers (85 percent of the statistically understood noncustodial parent population are fathers) were paying well before the program began. The primary cause of non-payment is that a significant portion of parents who owe child support cannot pay as much as they have been ordered to pay for various reasons. One of them is that some of the so-called "deadbeats" are actually dead.

People get behind in every sort of payment, house payments, car payments; whatever payments there are, people get behind even when they don't want to. It's only when it's child support that corrupt public officials get away with treating it as a crime. What's worse is that the enforcement program shut down the legal mechanisms for obtaining proper adjustments to the amount owed when appropriate. The amounts owed as child support are extremely random, typically unrelated to children's needs and the parents' ability to provide. But that's just the circumstance that results in the appearance of need for enforcement, as the past-due amounts continue to rise.

Some payers encounter problems and later make up for it, or at least start paying again. Cox attributes every payment of a past-due amount to his personal efforts, a claim that could never stand up to scrutiny. Writer Gitte Laasby regurgitates without question: "With $1.4 million in overdue support payments collected so far, the attorney general has surpassed the $1 million mark he was shooting for by the end of this year."

It's not particularly interesting to know that some people are behind, but paying. That's happened every year for as long as there have been child support agreements and orders. All people like Cox need to know in order to meet or beat their own projections is what the statistical average is. It's likely that more than $1 million in past-due support would have been paid without Mike Cox or any special child support enforcement program at all for that matter. That's just part of the way things work out in real life.

On the same day that the Capital News Service article ran, The Macomb Daily also published an article entitled Macomb officials skeptical of child support crackdown by Chad Selweski, one of its own staff writers. At first the article seems to finally present a challenge to Cox's propaganda machine; but it stops short of the serious truth.

The article isn't so much about criticisms of Mr. Cox's involvement in child support as it is about his defense, repeating the same bizarre statistical misinformation as the Capital News Service article.

'Sheriff Mark Hackel sees the situation differently,' Mr. Selweski tells readers. 'He calls Cox's program a "duplication of effort" with no clear strategy. The state would reap more benefits, he said, if it helped fund enforcement programs in Macomb and other major counties.'

That's right. It turns out that local officials want the state's Attorney General to turn over more of the funding to them. Not a word from any real skeptics, who according to Michigan's newspapers don't exist.

Roger F. Gay

19
Child Support Issues / RE: child support
« on: Dec 25, 2003, 10:18:53 AM »
> my question is, since i have primary residential
>parent custody of the children and pay for all health and
>dental insurance as well as 14000$/year fro privte schools,
>can she still get child support from me since they spend about
>half the time with her?  i do not need support from her, but
>should i even try for it?  she has no job and has made no
>effort to find one saying she is a full-time stay at home
>mommy.

Yes, you should seek a legal award of child support. Your circumstances may change or hers may change, but there should be child support provided for the children regardless. You should be documenting this, in case you end up in court in the future.

20
Child Support Issues / Father To Pay 15 Years In Back Child Support
« on: Dec 25, 2003, 10:16:35 AM »
Father To Pay 15 Years In Back Child Support

Dec 23, 2003 6:58 pm US/Eastern
http://kyw.com/Local%20News/local_story_357194747.html

HARRISBURG (AP) A narrowly divided state Supreme Court has ruled that a man who began paying child support after a paternity test in 2000 revealed he was the father of a teenage girl must pay support going back to 1988, an amount that his lawyer estimates could exceed $85,000.

"It's going to change my whole life, because the expense (was) not factored into my retirement," said 56-year-old Snyder County welder Robert W. Ely, who lost a 4-3 decision last week that left him owing 12 years of back support for Tenaya Beth Christianson.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Sandra Schultz Newman, blamed the delay on foot-dragging by Ely and a lack of follow-through on the part of Tenaya's mother, Donna K. Christianson.

"It appears that (she) did not pursue what she filed very vigorously, and when she did move forward, Ely resisted and dragged it out," Newman wrote.

Child support begins to accrue at the time legal action is initiated, which in this case was 1988. Retroactive support is common, in part because it can take a month or more to get the matter before a judge.

But Ely's lawyer, Brian L. Kerstetter, said the succession of three support complaints - in 1988, 1997 and 1999 - and the fact that Tenaya is now 18 years old, makes the case "extremely uncommon."

Newman's opinion called it "a good example of the time-consuming nature of the litigation process, and the reason why (court rules) and the courts prefer retroactivity in support matters."

In dissent, Justice J. Michael Eakin said the back support should begin in 1999, when the most recent complaint was filed.

"The majority's result is concurrently unfair to (Ely) and unavailing to the child. Had (he) been the cause of this delay, I would afford him no sympathy or relief," Eakin wrote. "However, he is not."

He described Donna Christianson as a "litigationally lethargic appellee" whose "dilatory conduct and indifference left this child without support through the formative years, but she is rewarded with support sums that will continue after the child has left her home."

Christianson, 57, who lives outside Beavertown and, along with Tenaya, works as a clerk in a natural-food and garden store near Lewisburg, said she struggled to raise three children alone and did not always have the resources to follow up on the support case.

Christianson's first job as a single mother was cleaning houses for $3 an hour. At the time of her brief affair with Ely, she was married to another man, with whom she had two other children.

"For me to be constantly going in to heckle somebody who has a lot of money and just wants to be relieved of the responsibility financially -- no, the children came first, their care, their needs," she said Tuesday.

She pursued the case for so long out of her belief that single parents are entitled to support, she said.

"After a point, it's not your case any more. It's other women and children, or other parents," Christianson said.

Michael McCormick, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group American Coalition for Fathers and Children, said the decision was "grossly unfair" and could be a major financial hardship for Ely, who has been laid off.

"It flies in the face of any kind of equity for this biological father," McCormick said.

Christianson's lawyer, Brian W. Ulmer, said the county domestic relations office will probably be responsible for calculating the precise amount Ely owes. He was paying $563 a month beginning in October 2000 until September, when Tenaya moved out on her own.

Ely said he is considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.

Tenaya, who has had no relationship with Ely, said her mother did the right thing.

"I really don't care about the money," she said. "It's more or less that it went through and he didn't quite get his way, I'll say. That makes me a little bit happy, that we at least won."

(She "doesn't care about the money"? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.......)


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