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Judge stays warrant for Powerball recipient

In Texas and across the country, non-custodial parents face jail as one consequence of non-payment of child support obligations. However, a few lucky parents find a way to instantly pay back arrearages, such as the New Jersey father who recently won a $338 million Powerball lottery jackpot. The man is said to have chosen the lump-sum option which will net him more than $150 million, more than enough to satisfy his outstanding $29,000 in child support payments.

However, a state judge is watching the winner carefully to ensure that he remits the payment immediately. There was apparently an existing warrant for the man's arrest based on his non-payment of child support. In New Jersey, as in Texas, judges can issue bench warrants for non-custodial parents who fail to make support payments. The judge has issued a stay on the arrest warrant pending the father's payment of his outstanding child support obligations.

The New Jersey Lottery Division has also stated that it normally withholds amounts of any court judgments, such as those for child support and taxes, prior to issuing funds to winners. In this case, the lottery commission may remit payment immediately, satisfying the man's obligations. However, this will not prevent the custodial parents from filing a motion to increase future child support.

Both parents who owe child support and those who are attempting to collect it may benefit from the help of a family law attorney. In some cases, custodial parents may need to file motions to force the non-custodial parent to pay child support. In other cases, non-custodial parents may need to file motions to decrease child support obligations if they suffer job loss or medical problems. A family law attorney may be able to assist in both types of situations.

Source: USA Today, "Child support warrant stayed for Powerball winner," March 30, 2013

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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