Ohio Answers Child Support Class Action Complaint

After reading through Ohio’s response (filed as a Motion to Dismiss requesting Summary Judgment) to Matt Dunlop’s Class Action Lawsuit, it’s my humble opinion that MPP Law has Ohio dead to rights with regard to the allegations in Mr. Dunlop’s Complaint.

Michael Dewine, Ohio Attorney General, postures (very weakly I might add) in his argument that the Ohio Court of Claims (where the suit was filed) does not have jurisdiction over child support matters. Dewine’s argument in my humble opinion is utterly baseless and is an absolute red herring that I suspect he prays (and not in a legal sense) the Court will take; hook, line and sinker.

Reason being, the lawsuit isn’t about Ohio collecting “child support” monies, it’s about Ohio seizing monies to which it had no legal authority to take. Monies that are in fact far in excess of those entangled in child support obligations that many noncustodial parents (aka obligors) have been court-ordered to pay.

Speaking bluntly, the State of Ohio is clearly stealing money from about 114,000 people. If you or I did that, we’d immediately be arrested and subsequently indicted, convicted and incarcerated for felony theft.

Also found in the State’s preposterous Motion to Dismiss, is the State arguing (in 12 very long, boring, and repetitive pages) that the Ohio Court of Claims lacks the necessary jurisdiction to make determination and orders concerning child support matters, and that’s a completely moot point. Moreover, anything to the contrary is not a foundation for any of the allegations made by Dunlop in his Complaint. So again, the State argues with nothing more than a straw man.

Dunlop’s lawsuit isn’t about child support or “child support matters,” it’s about Ohio stealing monies that you and I would assuredly go to jail for taking, if it were us who were in fact doing the stealing.

As if the aforementioned weren’t ridiculous enough, Ohio Attorney General Michael Dewine argues that perhaps such “overpayments” should be “held for future expenses”. Really? Mr. Dewine, please direct me to where in Ohio statutes, any judge is granted statutory authority to retain illegally seized monies should a currently unknown but possible future expense be incurred?

In Dewine’s Memorandum in Support of his Motion to Dismiss, he once again argues, “…this Court does not have jurisdiction over child support.” Again, I must point out that Dunlop’s case is not about the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) collecting child support, but rather it’s only about ODJFS taking money that has nothing to do with child support and it’s therefore “stealing” under threats of arrest and incarceration against those being stolen from.

In the last paragraph on page five, Dewine argues that Dunlop’s assertion that ODJFS intentionally misrepresented the true status of his account (by reporting his balance as “$0″ online) is undercut. That, because Dunlop admits that after he requested a written summary of his account, it was provided to him and it “clearly showed” an overpayment. So for those who don’t know they’re overpaid? Well too bad I guess that some will forever be out that money, but no harm done because they never knew right? Is that not how it works Mr. Dewine?

Do you see how that despicable thievery by the State of Ohio appears to be justified in Mr. Dewine’s eyes? His argument is that because Dunlop was provided an accurate written summary of his account only after he requested it, the State is not intentionally misrepresenting the status of his and another 114,000 or so other obligor accounts.

Dewine completely ignores the fact that 1. Online, Dunlop’s balance says “$0.”
2. When Dunlop would inquire about his balance over the phone, he was told his balance was “$0.” 3. Had Dunlop not asked for a written summary of his account, would he have ever known he was overpaid by more than $1,000 as he is? Do truth, honesty and integrity matter to Dewine or the State of Ohio? Need I really answer that?

I find Mr. Dewine’s defense of ODJFS’ practice of intentionally hiding overpayments from obigors to be utterly vile, immoral, despicable and completely void of character and integrity. As if the State stealing non-child support related money from obligors wasn’t immoral enough, Dewine then defends the State’s practice of hiding the money from those they stole it from.

Has society degenerated and thereby descended into such an immoral abyss that such a practice is carried out not only without even a hint of shame, but it’s also actually defended by a State’s Attorney General who by definition is a state’s chief law enforcement officer?

After reading through Dewine’s entire motion, one can easily see that the basis of Ohio’s request for Summary Judgment is such that the Ohio Court of Claims lacks jurisdiction over “child support matters,” but such an argument is completely irrelevant as I explained.

Worse yet, is that Dewine defends Ohio’s practice of deceiving obligors about being overpaid thousands of dollars in child support and falsely claims that such people can “find relief” in a Court of Domestic Relations. That at it’s core is a bald face lie that’s shown to be so whereby Dewine is convicted by his own words as explained in the forthcoming.

In the second to last paragraph on page two he says in reference to the Court, “…exercise its discretion in determining whether or not the overpayment should be retained for future potential expenses.”

Do you understand what he’s alluding to? The fact that a Domestic Relations Court will decide if an overpayment will be returned to an obligor, or simply kept because some unknown (at that time) and possible (but not identified) expense may arise in the future. In such cases,the obligor won’t get their money back that was wrongfully taken from them to begin with.

I personally was nearly $8,000 overpaid in my child support obligation at one time. That’s close to $8,000 of which I need now to buy a reliable car that we’re in desperate need of. However, that “remedy” that Dewine alludes to has been explored by me, and it cost me nearly $5,000 in legal fees to ask the Court for permission to get my own money back. How many of you can just do without $8,000 of your own money, and especially in these terrible economic times?

The Court’s response? I may pay $100 per month less in my monthly “child support” payment until that $8,000 is down to $0. As if doing without that money and having it returned to me gradually (which wasn’t how it was taken) over the course of the nearly seven years it’ll take for me to get those funds back isn’t bad enough, I must also pay the State of Ohio a 2% processing fee ($160) to get my own money back. Moreover, if the obligee under my order were to suddenly vacate the earth prior to me getting my $8,000 back or if there were a change of custody before that overpayment was $0, my wife, my daughter and myself would forever be out that money.

Is that fair, equitable and just? I think not and truly hope that you feel the same way. Is that in my daughter’s “best interest?” Of course it’s not. There are many things I’d love to do with her as well as buy her with that money (which is mine of course), but I can’t, because I can’t get it back.

It’s not in mine, nor is it in my family’s best interest that I don’t get my money back. But what it is in, is Ohio’s best financial interest (and that at the expense of my daughter’s best interest) to wrongfully seize that money to begin with, then to charge me a 2% processing fee (that Ohio collects) so that I can have my own money back.

Am I such a prude that only I define Ohio’s and Mike Dewine’s behavior as lawlessness given that it’s in my humble opinion no less than state sanctioned theft?

Tony Fantetti
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights
Email: tony.fantetti(at)ocffr(dot)org

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21 Responses to Ohio Answers Child Support Class Action Complaint

  1. jimmy lee rowland III says:

    i am over paid as well. not as much as you but what it is would help for a lot of things.
    i always thought we would get get it back once the kids were out of school. i dont like the state holding money that i could put to good use for the best interest of my kids right now. if i cant keep go through pitfalls such as car repairs to get to work and the state has my overpayment, who does that help.

  2. Sonya says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. I receive child support (well, sometimes), however I fought it for years that they were stealing what little payments my kids were to receive. Totaling above 9k. I laughed (not in a mean way) when you said paying 5K to get your 8K back. I feel the exact same way! It drives me crazy because their story changes every time I ask why they took it. A bunch of crooks!

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      Keep in mind Sonya that the longer they delay the payments to the custodial parents (CPs), the more interest they draw on the monies. And of course that’s at the expense of the best interests of the children.

      Did you ever receive the money?

      Tony

  3. Hoping for Change says:

    I wanted to say some things about child support. I believe that children should be supported by both parents, not just one paying his or her ex monies that they can use however they feel they want too. And for those parents who do pay child support it should never be so much money they cant live comfortably and provide for that same child in their own home as well. The whole child support system is in SERIOUS, DESPERATE need of reconfiguring. I am a mother who was a single parent raising her children on very limited funds, child support was ordered but none has ever been received. But, I took care of my children on my little salary if I can do it on what I made anyone is able to do it as well! I am not saying that it was fair or right to do it all by myself and their father not HELP support them some, just making a point we made it, and by the way I didnt get foodstamps- I worked made 7.50 hr and provided for a family of 4. If my children would have received any child support it would be have been used on them as this money is NOT for me! I think I am one of the few mothers who may feel this way as I have seen so many women and some men mis-use the child support system and the money they should be using on their childrens’ needs, but use it for themselves. I also want to say I am not tooting my own horn or trying to make myself look good, life was hard as a single parent sole provider but we made it and we were ok. I have also taken notice how some women have said men should not have other families or basically should not go on with their lives because their child support to their child should be their number one priority-shame on you, you women who feel this way. A man who is happy and moving on or having other children does not mean he wont love his other children, how about you, does this mean if you move on, remarry or have another relationship or child you may not fully love your first child(ren) how stupid to say or think!!! I have also noticed because my husband and I have ex spouses who abuse the system- that the woman seems to feel she should have an entitlement because she has the children. What my main beef is -is when either parent uses their children as a paycheck, or way of life for themselves and the child support system does absolutely nothing about it-they just make it easy to do and they should be punished as well, sitting there in their state job with excellent pay and benefits making life extremely hard for the parents who do try to support their children while the ex spouse, partner is living it up spending all this money that is supposed to be taking care of their children!!! where is the accountability to the children???? where? I know of a woman who lived off of her child for years- moved countless times in an out of homes rent free at times and for two years her child no longer lived with her and she was still collecting child support. The father tried and tried to get it stopped through the county but the only thing they would tell him was to get a lawyer!!! hmm, thought they were supposed to be non biased (this is their claim) and tell me how it was in the best interest of the child for her to continue collecting the money and not go back to the father who had the child living with him full time and was basically paying double. It took a small fortune to hire an attorney and get it stopped. Tell me how did she get away with it? The law is you tell the csea of your new address, your change of custody even if its not court ordered the physical custody has changed -you are to report!!!! This woman received thousands and thousands of dollars for those 2 yrs and her daughter NEVER received anything out of it at all!!!! The court finally ordered a stop to her receiving the child support but she doesnt have to pay all of the money back- they sent them to mediation first and the man thought agreeing to less back would speed up the ending of payments still being taken from his check, did nothing of the sort just allowed her to get away with so much. I just wish that the children- which are truly the ones who suffer most would stop being used as pawns, and paychecks but seen as the true things they are and that is precious children who need the love and support of both parents(in most cases, I know there are situations this is not best, abuse etc) and even though the parents are no longer together should find a way to get along to the absoute best way possible for their own childrens sake!!! Ladies, who collect child support this is not an all out bash to you, I know there are other women out there who would never manipulate their children and do not use them as pawns and personal paychecks but honestly the majority do, and you know some yourself. I have seen it time and time again with my own eyes and heard it out of their mouths. There isnt one of us who walks the face of this earth who is a perfect person or perfect parent we will and do make mistakes but listen, when you are a selfish or greedy parent your children suffer from this emotionally and sometimes physically (maybe no food, shelter etc) dont use your children as pawns or paychecks, and if you do receive child support REMEMBER its CHILD support not alimony and it should be used to provide for YOUR child(ren)

  4. Trisha Gadbois says:

    CPS made false allegations and has been harassing me for 2 years. They took 4 of my children and gave legal custody to some people I knew after a 1/ 1/2 years of them being involved and me paying child support while the system got federal funding and my and my ex husbands pay check. Double dipping. Made me pay child support for my kids they unlawfully took. Recently they kidnapped my 1 month old from a hospital 1 hour away from Shelby County (Sidney) in Dayton, Ohio. They have started taking child support for him and he is in foster care as well as getting federal funding. Double dipping again!. They never proved me unfit but said it is in the “best interest of the child” to live with someone else when my kids are destroyed from them and their evil actions. They said my children were all (on both cases) alleged neglected and dependent children.

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      Trisha,

      The true stories of out-of-control CPS agencies wrongfully seizing children from fit parents are many. And they are always based on “allegations.”

      No hearing, no fact-finding, no determination of facts, just and out-of-control state bureaucracy (CPS in this case) that barges into many a good and loving parent’s life steals their children.

      For what purpose? It looks to me like you already know, but given that many do not, I’ll state it; for “a profit.” The Foster Care system is another State run program that earns a federal profit that’s based on the number of kids in the foster care system. So it therefore literally pays the State of Ohio’s Child Protective Services, on a per child basis, to wrongfully take children away from their parents (and out of perfectly good and loving homes in some cases) and place them in the hands of others. Often times those others are complete strangers.

      By doing that, Ohio in fact “double-dips” as you claimed. First, Ohio earns a profit on every child they seize from parents like you, next they earn a second profit on “child support” by forcing you to pay child support to the new foster parents that the State placed your children with. That’s “twice” the State earns a profit off the backs of the same child. One whose life the State destroys when they wrongfully (on false allegations alone) seize that child and make them the a ward of the state so the State can profit twice off of that child’s broken heart, loneliness, and misery.

      In my humble opinion, words do not exists to describe the ugliness, wickedness and vile nature of those State employees who wrongfully and falsely deem a parent “unfit” only so they can seize that parent’s children and profit off of them twice. First in the foster care system (through a federally paid profit), then a second time in the child support system where the mother in many cases is forced to pay child support fro the very child(ren) that the State wrongfully seized from them in the first case on nothing more than false allegations.

  5. Kevin Lyons says:

    As I shared several years ago, I am a responsible parent of six children with multiple forms of cancer who was put on the street in the middle of my cancer treatments in 2006 based on the usual third-rate attorney’s strategy of an allegation of “fear for life” by the other spouse. I recovered from major surgery in a van at K-Mart in Mentor, Ohio and in various driveways around the area. I have since been forced out of two jobs by the interference of over four years of divorce court activity. I really cannot blame HR at either company for refusing to consider me for rehire. I have since been forced into abject poverty and have had false income imputed to me even though my real income is zero and I have no assets other than personal items. My car has been repossessed and I have been severely challenged to find a way to get an Rx and medicine I need to stay alive for more than several months, as a result of a bout of stage-4 thyroid cancer. The elected officials and bureaucrats who allow this situation to continue without acting to correct it are incompetent and irresponsible to the extreme. This scam has absolutely nothing to do with the “best interests of the child”. Their reliance on that term appears intended to cover their fraud and theft. Parents like me can easily be taken to death’s door by these buffoons. I wonder what will be the result of my sons figuring out what happened to their dad? I pray it doesn’t get ugly.

  6. leta cecerre says:

    did you know that Ohio’s Motto is from the Bible, Matthew 19:26
    “With God all things are possible”
    I do not believe God is proud of God’s people functioning in this manner?

  7. IONEL POPOVICI says:

    I overpay $6,500 child support for my son, I think is the agency from Cleveland,Ohio’ fault because I contacted them by e-mails or I left message over the phone,to stop send me payments bills,finally they stopped and sent me a termination letter where they wrote I overpaid $6,500.They said they sent letter to my former wife and no answer,but if is their fault ,they have to made investigation with police or somebody.or to pay me back my money.I know is my son,but my former wife doesn’t agree to see my son,I lost many years of his childhood,now he is 22 but still listen of his mom,and I don’t work of 1 year I have a disability.I don’t know if your institution is the right one to solve this kind of problem,or give me an address where I can complaint,thanks very much,best regard.

  8. Shannon mcwilliams says:

    What was suppose to happen is that cesa was to put her in the state off set program to collect overdue child supp or you can sue her for the over payment in court small claims. You can possibly sue cesa for the over payment also there are case laws out there research case laws regards to the same situation if ruling is in the same case then follow up with the same.

  9. Tim says:

    Nothing is being done to get rid of the crooks running this system or fix the numerous problems. These people steal money and destroy lives (directly and indirectly). This system DOES NOT benefit children.(ASK MY KIDS)!!!

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      It absolutely does not benefit your kids Tim. It in fact as you know harms both them and you considerably. The “child support” system in Ohio is all about Ohio ‘earning’ a profit off the backs of Ohio’s precious children.

      • Tim says:

        It’s a disgrace what this system has become. I’m a lifelong Ohio resident, but now i’m ashamed to admit that.
        I see us moving out of this state, if and when, this nightmare ever ends.
        My wife says ” kids are currency” to the state, and they use them like bargaining chips in a high-stakes poker game.
        It’s so sad that the state supports this system.

  10. Jonathan Jones says:

    I am not having a problem of overpayment. I am having a problem that I have my daughter living in my home now on a half time basis after she ran away from mom and lived with me for 2 months. Already had court action to get custody or at least shared parenting back that was taken from because of a contempt of court that I filed on mom the magistrate felt that my “on-going military commitment” as a Navy reservist was grounds to dissolve my shared parenting despite Ohio House Bill 121 that prohibits this. I am to pay mom $253/month with child living in my household. Currently unemployed and they are on the verge of suspending my license so that the job that I’m in the running to get I will not since I do not have court until the end of this month. I have left messages for my caseworker, never spoken to him. I can only send letters and go through other people to communicate with him. There are no laws set up for us in these kind of situations.

    • Tim says:

      Make an appointment ,or just show up, to see your caseworker. They hate facing the people they “represent” (using that term very loosely). I had one caseworker walk away and quit within 5 minutes.( Just doin my part to return the favor of being a pain to them). lol.
      I filed contempt charges twice for being denied visitation for most of my daughter’s life. It was immediately dismissed both times. Stick to your guns and hope you can catch the magistrate on a day when they’re acting like a human, and not a county money making puppet.
      Good luck.

      • Tony Fantetti says:

        You said Tim, “I filed contempt charges twice for being denied visitation for most of my daughter’s life. It was immediately dismissed both times.” That’s the BEST WEAPON fathers have, and most are largely unaware of it. For instance, a “child support” order is a court order, and when the obligor doesn’t pay, he or she is in contempt. Well, there’s a flip side to that too that an be used to scare case workers and CSEA directors When they withhold the WRONG amount from an obligor’s pay, the CSEA is in contempt and they can be brought in by the father on contempt charges. I think I’ll blog that one, I’ve threatened Moria Weir, Director, Hamilton County CSEA with contempt because the Hamilton County CSEA was withholding the wrong amount (taking too much of course) from me. After I threatened, Ms. Weir with contempt through my attorney (it was my idea, but he really like it :-)) Ms. Weir was “kind enough’ to quickly see to it that the correct amount was being withheld from future checks.

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      What county are you in Jonathan?

  11. Tim says:

    Happy non-custodial parents day. :-(

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      The role of a noncustodial parent is indeed a rough one, and as I think you’re alluding too, yes, fathers are the majority (84%) of custodial parents nationwide. Sadly, you make a good point. Although I think that things are starting slowly starting to change. If you pay attention to Hollywood divorces (and those can be a bellwether of changes to come), some of the actresses involved have gone out of their way to release through their publicists that fact that both parents will have joint custody of the kids.

      • Tim says:

        Not in my county. We can’t wait til this nightmare ends, if it ever will, and move away from these crooks. How many counties boast of a 99-100% conviction rate?

  12. Tim says:

    I hope this case isn’t settled and we get a new attorney general out of the deal. That will be a small start to getting this state back on track to respecting the constitutional rights of the citizens.

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