Child support reaches all time high

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) - Child support collections top a half-billion dollars in Tennessee and that's a record-setting figure.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services reports that this is an increase of nearly 60% in five years.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman explains why the collections are way up.

"It is good news. We can see the trend where child support is getting collected quicker and a little easier,” says Brenda Lindsay-McDaniel, a Child Support Referee for Chancery and 4th Circuit Courts.

Collections over the last state fiscal year are more than half-a-billion dollars. There's been a 60% increase in five years.

That's also good news to parents that are caught up on their child support.

"It's very important that the kids get the money and it's used right for the kids,” says Tony Tate, a father of three.

The judge credits the success to Child Support Services of Knoxville and the methods the state has put in place.

"Fideums, where they go in and seize bank accounts. That's pretty effective. The IRS offsets are getting very effective. They can grab the refunds before anybody gets them back,” says Lindsay-McDaniel.

Child support cases in Tennessee number beyond 400,000, more than half of those have court orders mandating support.

There's also added incentive from the bench to pay up.

"I was given the authority to actually incarcerate if the payments weren't made and that has had an impact on the numbers coming out of this court,” says Lindsay-McDaniel.

Not every parent sees it that way. Shanna Hickman says her husband is behind on child support. "If he gets put in jail, I'm paying for him to be put in jail. So, it's not really fair to anybody."

Even though collections are up in Tennessee. And there's another part of the child support equation that's also on the upswing.

"I have noticed an upswing, unfortunately, in the fact that women are becoming the ones that owe child support and are having a problem paying it,” says Lindsay-McDaniel.

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