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Kids pursue overdue child support from 9/11 advocate

Just because parents divorce doesn't mean that the noncustodial parent no longer has any responsibilities for his or her children. In order to keep his or her rights as a parent, a father or mother must continue to support the children. When parents don't, they start to accumulate considerable child support arrears. This is a reality for the three daughters of a 9/11 advocate, ages 24, 22, and 17, who claim they live without basic necessities because their father owes $81,421 in child support.

The women, all Georgia residents, allege that their father abandoned them after he and their mother divorced 16 years ago. Since the divorce, their mother tragically died and now they are living with their deceased mother's boyfriend. Because their father has not been paying child support, the eldest daughter has been forced to work as a store cashier while the middle daughter works in a fast-food restaurant. The money they earn goes toward supporting their younger sister who is still trying to graduate from high school.

Their father, who is disabled, says his wife "kidnapped" their three daughters at the time of the divorce, and he had no idea where they were until he was contacted by a Georgia court regarding guardianship of the 17-year-old. He further claims that he owes as little as about $8,000. His daughters, however, dispute his claims entirely.

After working for two weeks as a truck driver at Ground Zero, the man received around $70,000 because of disabilities sustained by the 9/11 tragedy. The man says working at Ground Zero resulted in him developing lung disease and other health issues.

Though it is unfortunate that this disability advocate is no longer able to work, it appears he had no excuse for failing to care for his children prior to the disability. Furthermore, it is unclear why he didn't use the money that he made in disability payments to help pay down some of his child support arrears.

Source: New York Post, "Kids suing 9/11 advocate dad over unpaid child support," Kathianne Boniello, Oct. 21, 2012

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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