A Virginia mother says that the state Division of Child Support Enforcement failed to provide her with the full child support payment she is entitled to receive. Each month, her ex-husband writes a check to the state for $1,500, but the woman said she was only credited with $15 in December. She explains that she did not know the money was missing until she attempted to make a purchase with her debit card and it was declined. It was at that point that she discovered her account had accrued over $600 in overdraft charges.

The state has denied responsibility and refused to pay for the expenses, claiming the incorrect child support payment was caused by an error on the ex-husband's check. A copy of the check shows that while the zeros in "$1,500" were written smaller than the preceding numbers, the second line clearly shows "Fifteen hundred even."

A representative from the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement claims that both her agency and the bank that processed the check recorded the payment as $15. She said she will instruct the woman's ex-husband on more appropriate check-writing techniques. The man argued that his check clearly showed the correct amount. He questioned why the state would not admit to what he sees as an obvious mistake.

The mother eventually received the full $1,500 payment. The state has thus far refused to pay for her overdraft fees, but the representative explained, "We look at everything individually." She added that the mother is responsible for overdrawing from her account, regardless of any error made in processing the check.

This is definitely a frustrating situation to occur right before the holidays. Hopefully the woman will be able to recover at least some of the fees drawn against her account. It also illustrates a valuable lesson to other parents who write checks to the state to satisfy their child support. While without seeing a picture of the actual check it is difficult to determine the clarity of the writing, it is always important to make sure all of the numbers and letters written on a check are legible in order to avoid problems like this woman encountered.

Source: The Hook, "Child un-support: State agency blames parents for flawed deposit," Lisa Provence, Dec. 19, 2011