As Georgia braces for a potential federal debt default, one of the Republican congressmen who vocally opposes raising the debt ceiling has been accused of not paying $117,437 in child support to his ex-wife. This comes after the congressman focused his campaign platform on making Washington fiscally responsible.

Congressman Joe Walsh was married to his ex-wife for 15 years and they had three children together. Walsh remarried after they divorced in 2002. After his ex-wife filed a lawsuit for the unpaid child support, he issued a statement that called the lawsuit an attack. He said that it was no surprise that he the lawsuit was becoming public right when he and other politicians were trying to come to a solution to the debt ceiling.

The congressman reportedly was trying to work with his ex-wife to come to some sort of agreement about outstanding child support payments. While he disputed the $117,437 claimed by his wife, he says that he is trying to end the suit.

Walsh maintains that he has done all he can to pay his child support obligations. He has implied that he hasn’t had the money to cover his payments and that’s why he’s in arrears. The congressman’s ex-wife doubts his financial troubles, however, pointing to two international vacations he’s taken with his former girlfriend.

Congressman Walsh’s former campaign staffers have also accused him of uncontrollable spending and other financial errors. His campaign manager sued for $20,000 in nonpayment after he quit. Other staff members also quit after they claimed he hadn’t disclosed a home foreclosure and traffic citations.

While the congressman’s ex-wife has public opinion and scrutiny on her side, most single parents can’t rely on the public to force a “deadbeat” parent to pay past due child support. It is often necessary to seek legal advice and to file suit to ensure child support payments are paid in full.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Ill. Congressman responds to child support report,” 28 July 2011