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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Legal Expert
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I have a question on a collection agency harassing me about

Resolved Question:

I have a question on a collection agency harassing me about past due docket fees for child support. These are over ten years old, I was never informed that I was required to pay them while I was paying child support. They have given me three different totals ranging from one-hundred and fifty-six dollars to four hundred and eighty dollars.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

I understand you have a question about a collection agency tactics to collect...but not sure I understand the question...what is the question please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My question is should I pay this bill that I was never in formed that I owed until ten years after I quit paying child support. They have given me three different totals that I owe ranging from 156.00, 181.00 370.00 plus a 110.00 dollar collection fee. I think it is just a scam for revenue enhancement for the county. If I disregard it what legal difficulties could I be in for. Then six months later send me another bill.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
THank you

Have you contacted the creditor to demand they provide you proof of the debt, in writing? If so what was the response?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was told that it was out of their hands because it was turned over to a collection agency. That it did not matter that they never informed because it was a state law,that I had to pay because I was told at my custody hearing by a judge that I had to pay. I never had a custody hearing it was settled out of court on a voluntary child support.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Sorry...that was my question...have you contacted the collection agency to verify the debt? THat is, the company that claims to be collecting on this debt, have you asked them to provide you proof?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I have and I have already provided you with this information.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
sorry..you state you provided the information...but I do not see it.

I will opt out and allow others to assist...I wish you the best of luck
Expert:  Thomas McJD replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.

I don't know how old your child is, but a child support obligation generally can be enforced for 10 years after your child turns 18. If your child is older than 28, then the limitations period would be passed. If your child is 28 or younger than the limitations has not expired and an action could still be pursued.

Thus, you would be obligated to pay any child support obligation you still validly owe because you did not pay it.

To verify whether you actually do still owe some portion of the obligation (what the collection agency is asking for), you need to make a written (letter) demand to the collection agency under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Under that Act they have to verify the amount owed.

Here is link to that Act which you can review for the fine detail regarding such a request and their duty to verify the debt.

http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.shtm#809

Section 809 addresses what they must do.

If they fail to properly verify the debt, then you can file a complaint with the federal trade commission and your state attorney general. Failure to verify the debt means they cannot continue to collect it. It would then be up to the holder of the debt to determine whether they want to sue you in court to try and collect. If they did, you might have the statute of limitations defense noted above depending on how many years have passed since your child turned 18.

In any court proceeding (if they do sue you), then they would have to prove that the debt exists. It is their burden.

Thus, if the collection agency doesn't verify the debt and you feel you don't owe it, there's no reason you should pay it unless you're further contacted by the owner/holder of the debt. In that event, you should probably consider paying the small amount of the debt as defending against a lawsuit, even if you win, will cost thousands of dollards and take hundreds or thousands of hours of your time.
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience: Legal Expert
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