Originally Posted by savafan
Tell me though, what is to stop a couple from getting married just to put an end to the support order and then terminate the marriage, particularly since I've discovered that it's cheaper to get married than it is to attempt to fight the CSEA in court.
Well, for starters, when you go to Domestic Relations court and get a divorce, the DR Judge or Magistrate will put a provision for child support into the divorce decree and you'll be right back where you started. The only way to avoid paying child support for children under 18 is to get married and stay married or die. Again, although it is paid to the custodial parent, child support is money you owe to your child, not your baby mama (sorry to put it in such crass terms).
The amount you pay is based on your ability to support your kids, not how much your baby mama makes. Each county CSEA and DR court can set its own standards for determining how and when to terminate support payments for people in your situation. I suspect the authorities in your county is being such pains in the behind so as to prevent situations you just described, where unmarried couples with kids work out some agreement to get married, but it's really just a sham marriage just to allow the father to get out of paying child support.
I really am sympathetic to your situation. There seems to be a lack of consistency from county to county in this state when it comes to how these cases are handled. From talking with friends, family and acquaintances in similar situations, urban counties tend to be much more difficult with non-custodial parents because they have a high number of deadbeat parents, whereas some rural counties tend to be more easy going. For example, I know a dad whose divorce went through in a large urban county who has to pretty much buy his kids shoes, clothes and school supplies because the mom is using the child support that should go to her kids for her own use (even though she is remarried and has a new husband to support her) and he can't get rid of support payments. Even when he's been out of work, he's had a heck of a time getting support reduced, so that his new wife was essentially supporting him, her own children with him, his children with his ex, and his ex-wife. Meanwhile, a neighbor who is a custodial parent has her case in a neighboring rural county and her deadbeat ex keeps getting his payments reduced or suspended, yet gets his visitation time increased. Her ex has substantial arrears, yet has never faced criminal charges for nonsupport. Of course there are exceptions to both cases, so don't take this as suggesting you should move to the next county and try to get your case moved there to avoid dealing with your current situation.