I hope this isn't overtly political. I feel that no matter which side of the aisle your leanings move toward, you can't help but feel that the child support system is broken once you hear my story, and that of my friends. The main reason I'm posting this here is to find out if anyone else is or has experienced similar circumstances.

As you may well know, I reconciled with the mother of my son back in March, and she and our child moved in with me in April. We have lived together now for 7 months, during which time I lost my job back in July. I had been under a child support order, and even before I lost my job, both she and I went to the court to try to get the support order lifted. The court refused, and said that her word that we were living together and caring for our child together wasn't good enough to end the support order. We were told we'd have to pay $150 to file a motion with the court to get the order lifted. Then came July when I was fired from my job, didn't receive unemployment, although after the fact, in two separate cases, my former employer was found to have fired me without cause and also forged documents to deny me unemployment benefits, though I still received no monetary judgment. Obviously, when you're not making anything, you can't pay anything, any type of bill whatsoever, and I fell behind in quite a few areas, one of which was my child support for the son who was living under my roof. The agency started coming after me for arrears, have filed an order to take my tax return, threatened to suspend my license, etc. We filed our motion to have the support order lifted, and without so much as hearing any testimony from either myself or my son's mother, our motion was denied. So, our next step was to request a state hearing, which was also denied without us once getting to tell our story to a court, judge or magistrate. I appealed that decision, and requested a state hearing yet again, and once more my request was denied without the opportunity to speak to anyone with the authority to make such a decision. We both agree that it doesn't make sense that we should be paying a state agency to funnel our money (because we share expenses, we feel that the money brought in by each of us is OUR money). On top of that, they have imposed a medical insurance order requiring that both she and I carry separate health insurance coverage for our son, even though the doctors only accept one insurance provider for health care, which is another $200 a month that is basically thrown away for no good reason. We've been told by the CSEA that the only way to get the support order lifted is for us to get married, and whether or not I want to do that, I feel is moot, I don't believe a state agency should require us to marry simply so that we can stop having them take money from us to give us money back for the support of our son. If we did want to get married, it would be nice if we could make that decision on our own when we were financially able to give her the type of wedding that I feel she deserves.

Another friend of mine has had custody of his two kids since last May when he got them back from his ex-wife, yet he is still being ordered to pay her child support each month when she only has them for one weekend out of the month.

Still another friend has a joint custody plan with his ex-wife where they each have their two kids for six months out of the year, but because he makes $70,000 more a year than she does, he's required to pay her $825 a month in child support even during the six months of the year when he has the children.

Where are decisions like this helping the kids? How can an agency claiming to be in the best interests of families behave in such a manner as to hurt those that it is set up to help?

I don't understand it.