Prosecutor explains youngster assist companies, collections
Public prosecutor’s press release
August is dedicated to raising awareness about childcare services in Indiana. Many residents are unaware that they can contact their local prosecutor for help enforcing child support orders.
LaPorte County Attorney John Lake wants to educate parents, guardians, grandparents, and other guardians on how to access childcare services through his office.
Childcare services can help custodial parents establish childcare policies, paternity and other resources that promote the well-being of children. Says Lake, “Many of these services are not generally known to the general public and are available free of charge through our office without hiring a private attorney.”
Lake recently announced that fundraising for children in our community increased 11.2%. In 2020, the LaPorte County Attorney’s Office raised and distributed over $ 10.6 million in child benefits to children and families, a significant increase over 2019. As of July this year, recoveries are well on their way, the grand total by 2020 and the Public Prosecutor’s Child Benefit Office scores above the national average in all of the measured categories.
“We have certainly seen an increase in our collections related to COVID-19 due to federal stimulus payments being intercepted and delivered directly to children and families as part of a child benefit arrangement, but we have also made a point of increasing our collections,” said Lake.
Child benefit payments are vital to a child’s well-being and provide a court-approved method to ensure that children receive financial support after their parents divorce. The maintenance allowance is intended to help the parent with custody to maintain a similar quality of life for their child as they enjoyed before the divorce.
These payments not only cover basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, but can also be used for educational expenses and after-school activities such as sports or hobbies.
In Indiana, child benefit payments continue until the child is 19 or otherwise emancipated.
Judges use child support guidelines to determine the level of child support. Parents who do not have custody must make payments ordered by the court or face seizure of wages, disregard of the court and even prison sentences.
“As your district attorney, I take our children’s well-being seriously and believe that constant child support can help custodians achieve economic stability. In addition, establishing paternity and child support will reduce poverty and reduce the chances that they will one day be drawn into the criminal justice system, ”he said.
Lake stressed that his childcare staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to help. “There is nothing to fear; You are taking steps to best serve your children and protect their rights. It’s a simple process and my staff will keep you updated with every step. “
Alternatively, there are consequences for parents who default or fail to pay their child support. Parents who do not pay child support can be charged with a crime. However, Lake encourages all non-custodial parents who have defaulted on child support payments to contact the office. “When people in debt acknowledge this, we play the role of mediator. However, those who continue to default can expect prosecutors to aggressively seek family support payments, ”Lake said.
Recently, the Indiana General Assembly passed new law allowing immediate reinstatement of driver’s licenses, hunting licenses, and other licenses once a defaulting parent pays 8 weeks of assistance. Although this law won’t go into effect until January 2022, Lake encourages parents to stay tuned and will work with everyone to restore the licenses if they receive support payments before the new law goes into effect.
No fee is charged for access to child support services offered by the public prosecutor’s office.
For more information, contact the La Porte County Attorney at 300 Washington St., Suite 10, Michigan City or call (219) 874-5611 ext. 7820.