Child un-support: State agency blames parents for flawed deposit

Every month, Charlottesville resident Sherry Nist gets a child support payment of $1,500 when her ex-husband writes a check to the state, which then moves the funds into her bank account. In early December, however, instead of the usual $1,500, the agency credited her account with just $15. The missing funds wreaked havoc on her finances, and state officials are now refusing to compensate her for the more than $600 in ensuing overdraft fees.

The check for $1,500 showed up in Nist's state account on Friday, December 2, as just $15. And even that money didn't reach her bank account until Tuesday, December 6, and that's when Nist realized she had a big problem.

"I was trying to buy coffee, and my debit card was declined," she says. "I had some auto pays that had posted. It just built so that I couldn't use my account. It was exponential."

Nist contacted the state agency, the Division of Child Support Enforcement, which promptly blamed Joe Yung, the check writer.

"The noncustodial parent made an error on his check," says Phyllis Sisk with the Division.

And yet a copy of the check provided by Yung shows a top line of "$1500." Although the zeros are written smaller, there also appears to be a notation for zero cents, and the second line is even more clearly marked: "Fifteen hundred even."

The release of the check hasn't prompted the state to admit any responsibility.

"Both our worker and the bank read it as $15," says Sisk, noting that the agency processes $2.5 million in checks each day and has contacted Yung to counsel him on how to write future checks.

"They called me at the office to say my penmanship can be improved," says an incredulous Yung. "I looked at my copy of the check and see the words "fifteen hundred" underneath, and thought, can't you read? Why not just say, 'We made a mistake'?"

And while the state has refused any financial responsibility for the error, hypothetically, if they'd made a mistake in depositing a check, would they pay any overdraft fees?

"We look at everything individually," answers Sisk.

Nist finally got her $1,500, but the state hasn't offered to pay a penny of the overdraft fees.

"She's responsible," says Sisk, "for drawing out money she didn't have in her account."

"I never would have gone negative if they hadn't screwed up in  the first place," says a perturbed Nist, who also wonders why it took from December 2 until December 6 for the little money to reach her account, and then once the error was discovered, about two and half more days to transfer the missing balance.

"In the old days," says Nist, "that's how it was done. Now with electronic banking, there's no excuse."

Not surprisingly, the state sees it differently, and Sisk calculates that by the time Child Support Enforcement was made aware of the problem around 4:30pm on December 6, they had it turned around in about two days.

"I'm still in the hole financially," says Nist, "and it's less than two weeks before Christmas."

Frustrated by the state's stance in an already challenging holiday season, Nist sums up her experience: "Yes Virginia, you are not Santa Claus."

Read more on: child supportsherry nist


The Division of Child Support is the worse department to deal with in Virginia. First off, does $1500 seem a little high for child support? and second, why is she buying coffee with it along with other auto bills that are debit?

I paid Child Support for years and the accounting system is unlike any business you have ever seen. Each month your balance goes into "arrearage" and you have to the end of that month to pay it, and to some it looks like on paper you haven't paid your support. At one time I tried to pay 2 or 3 months of support at once just so it wouldn't look like I had back support owed, but the department refused to accept the money that far in advance.
If you walk into any of the Child Support offices you will talk to someone behind a glass with a 2 inch hole in it, if you need to make a payment at a local office get this,they will not accept cash, checks or credit cards. you will have to go to the 7-11 and get a Money Order.

My two kids live with me now, but the department of Child Support still calls once in a while on my personal cell phone to ask me, where do I work, where do I live, what do I do, and how much money I make. I got mad and ask one day, why are you doing this? The kids live with me and I no longer have a case owing support, the reply was they need to keep up-dated records because when the kids lived with their mother they was on Medicade.
I have often thought about having my ex pay child support, but the department is so much in your business, and inpersonal that I don't know if I really want that.

I thought the $1500- was for child support........not coffee- a debit card to pay for coffee- some cup of coffee for sure?

She can go to the bank and ask that the "ensuing" OD charges be taken care is done all the time.

On the other hand, perhaps the State should get out of this business............

As one who has to PAY child-support instead of getting $1500 handed to me every month to do with whatever I please, this woman can take her sob story somewhere else. Not once did she mention her children. She was buying coffee for herself and she got herself into the hole financially herself. Never did she mention that the over-draft fees were hurting her in providing for her children. All she is doing is trying to gain sympathy. Did it ever occur to her that she should have quit trying to use her debit-card the first time it was declined (yes, you can still buy things with a debit-card without it having to be electronically cleared). Hmm. Also didn't see her mention as to whether or not she was also buying something for her kids to drink when she was getting her coffee. Better yet, maybe she should look for other ways to provide for her children rather than relying on the gravy train she gets every month.

Okay, Point One: She shouldn't be buying coffee with her Child Support.
Point Two: If her finances are so dire that she can't even *afford* said cup of coffee without her ex's monthly cash infusion, then I smell some serious concerns about her ability to competently provide for her child(ren).
Point Three: Overdraft fees are typically about $30 per overdraft. How did it take her over $600 in penalties (about twenty overdrafts) before she figured out she was out of money? I'm thinking she knew there was a banking error and tried milking it for all it was worth.

I suppose next month she will monitor her balances a little more closely.

If I were in that dire of a financial situation I would be checking my balance dailly. (I also wouldn't be spending my kids money on a six dollar cup of coffee)

I was late once and my ex was mad because she couldn't make her car payment...What can you do. My daughter is 13 so she doesn't drive. When she spends time with me we cruise in a 14 year old Dodge. Life....

Seriously? Who cares that she bought a $2 thing of coffee?? She actually didn't buy it with her debit card because it got denied. You don't know her situation with her children's father. It's not like she went "out with the girls" and got a beer. She got into financial jam when all the auto-posts, (things that help her SUPPORT her children), kicked in. Not the CUP OF COFFEE!! Whatever the case is, doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that you think she should have gotten a cup of coffee or not. Doesn't even matter that you think $1500 is steep for child support. Obviously, for whatever the situation of custody and child support, the court didn't think it was too steep. The facts are that $1500 was supposed to be put into her account and the bank made a tremendous error. There is a reason for you write a check that has a written out amount and a numeric amount. The bank absolutely should have double checked this by calling either the father or the State. They called the father to "counsel" him on how to write a check but couldn't call him to confirm the difference between a $15 check or a $1500 check. If the bank and State had done their job, we wouldn't be reading this story.

And seriously, some people who read stories like this and comment over the most irrelavent things in an article or things that weren't explain in an article. That's like reading a story about firefighters who put out a fire and you complain over the color of the firetruck. Ridiculous.

The money just goes into her account. She supports her children with money from the account. There is nothing wrong with her discovering the problem when her debit card was rejected for a personal purchase. The state obviously screwed up and anyone who has dealt with bank issues before knows how those overdraft fees multiply like crazy.

$2 coffee? Have you been to Starbucks lately? 98% of the population stands in line for 20 minutes to buy a $6 cup of coffee with some fancy name attached to it.

I don't even trust my employer to direct deposit money on time. I check every time before spending and they have never even missed a payment. You should have realized at this point in your adult life that government is profoundly incompetent (minus defense of our nation) and cannot be relied on. You just have to check them at every turn and have a legal fund ready to go.

The article doesn't say Starbucks. There are many places that sell coffee, not just Starbucks. Still doesn't matter if it's $2 or $6 or $20. How much she spends the money is still no one's business. Not even her ex. As long as her kids have food in their stomachs, clothes on their backs, safe transportation to drive in, a roof over their heads....they're supported. Again, who cares if she tried to buy coffee?

Get your check directly from the ex if you don't like this free service the tax payers are giving you.

Thank you, Sumie. I can't believe how nasty people are about this woman.

they are not "her" kids.. they are "their" kids.

Anybody that racks up 600 bucks in overdrafts because they didn't check their balances deserves the bill so they learn their lesson...

Things happen, don't write checks or authorize withdrawls until the money is in the account.

Why is there not an automatic flag in the states system that shows a discrepancy between what is supposed to be paid and what it actually paid?

She is not owed anything because she did not check her account for monny before she spent it.

Child support is calculated based on a formula that factors parent incomes/lifestyles/expenses and is ratified by a judge. The money then goes from one parent to the other. There is no separate accounting that requires any particular check to go to any particular expense(a notion repeated a number of times here) but instead the money goes into the account of the parent receiving the money--who then must live up to their parental financial obligations as well as any other obligations they may have. It also sounds like overdraft fees were partly a result of automated payments--an argument for delaying the payment dates on these(when possible) until after the account can be clarified.

I feel for her and the state seems to have been in error here, which they acknowledge, but there is no way they are going to cover overdraft fees and other charges--she should have seen that the amount that transferred was incorrect and dealt with halting autopayments or making other charges.

It seems the point here is more to shine a light on the mistake of the agency involved. It seems like they acknowledged their mistake, fixed it in a matter of days, and worked with the check-writer to see that it didn't happen again--not sure what else they could do, aside from not making the mistake in the first place(a noble goal but mistakes will happen with that kind of volume).

Thanks for speaking some sense to the child support police here who think the main issue is a cup of coffee, and not carelessness by the State of VA. (really? Hubby stiffed you on taking care of the kids, so a court had to intervene, and now you're not allowed to drink coffee??? REALLY?.)
Yeesh! Did any of these people ever take a basic economics class? Yeah folks, she went to Mudhouse and said "Give me $1500 worth of latte to-go please". You do get it that it's the other automatically paid bills (you know, things like rent, electric, water, gas, taxes etc), that overdrew the account when the state screwed up, right? That both the bank AND the receivers pile on their own OD fees?
You do get it that the state had a date it was supposed to be posted by, right? And that it's probably not her only income? That a bank account is a pool of money?
Do you also get to decide if she buys Crest vs store brand toothpaste as well? Hmmm... butter or margarine? Would it have been ok if she had ordered decaf? Small vs large? At the Nook vs Starbucks?
This isn't welfare, it's child support (meaning the dad didn't voluntarily take care of the kids he helped pop out after he dumped wifey). "Gravy Train"? Really? You know her personal details? About how many kids? If any have special needs? How much dad makes?
The state makes a huge mistake, takes zero responsibility, and you pile on the single mom who got screwed, because you judged her not worthy of drinking coffee?
Wow... getting more and more embarrassing to tell people I'm from Charlottesville

As a single mother I understand the frustration with Child Support Enforcement. For me it is frustration with the system in general. My ex is over $22,000 behind. We have been going to court, initiated by CFE, I am required to take time off from work to be there but have to sit in the back of the court and "be quiet". Two years ago, they took him to court and then told the judge that he was trying to pay (he had paid $100 in the past 6 monts-ordered $600 per month). The past 2 visits it was continued to see if he could get disability. He has not paid anything in over 2 years! I have had to use all of my savings to support "our" children while he is out every weekend getting drunk and taking his girlfriend out to dinner.

For everyone who said she should not use the child support money for her auto drafts, do the kids not use electricity, need a place to live, a car to be transported in, clothes, food, etc? My advice is if you haven't lived life as a single parent you have no right to say anything!

The article really has nothing to do with the coffee, or being in debt, or overdrafts, etc. It is about the State being involved with $2.5MM/day of processing and their inability to admit to a problem- has a Government agency EVER admitted to screwing up? I DON'T THINK SO.....

Get the State out of the business of paying State workers to do what a private enterprise could do a lot better, quicker and with positive results.


Your comments slamming the father are completely unfair. He wrote a proper check and did not stiff her. Child support is awarded in a divorce proceeding based on a formula, not because he did not voluntarily take care of his children. It sounds like he is paying a lot more than she is to look after them, which is fine and required if he was making more, but there is no reason to criticize him here. For all you know, she dumped him.

DCSE has long had issues. Being a CP (Custodial Parent - as in FULL custody) my ex owes over $35K and his child is now an adult. At one time he moved to a non-administrative state - a judicial state where you must get them in court to then process Court Orders on them. They listed his place of employment (which was a chain) and the city and state. I received a letter a few weeks later which stated they couldn't find his employer. I picked up the phone, dialed information for the city and state and got the number. I then called the business and asked if he was employed there. (It took all of 5 minutes.) I then called them with this information? Wow! I did their jobs for them. (I wanted to BILL them! I should have!)

This was DCSE's error not the NCP (non-custodial parent) nor the CP's. The funds should have been in the account and the fees should be covered by DCSE. They now take fees out when processing these payments.

This isn't about the cup of coffee, she well could have had funds in there from her own paycheck that would have covered from a $2 to $10 cup of coffee. As long as the children are fed, clothed, receive medical care and have a place to live - no one should pass judgement. The point of child support is to be given to the CP to help support the children - as in pay for a portion of the rent/house payment, groceries, electricity, insurance, phone bill, gas bill, etc. For anyone to make this about her cup of coffee - you all are petty and probably are the dead beat dads DCSE can't find because they will not bother to pick up a phone!


Sumie, I don't care is she buys coffee. I don't care if she buys a six pack of beer or a carton of cigarettes. I was simply saying MOST people do the $6 a cup Starbucks route nowadays. Starucks is a status symbol in today's society, some people think a cup of Starbucks raises their trailer trash status a few steps on the way to work.

Before you come back with a response, what I said above is in no way meant to imply that Sherry Nist is trailer trash.

When will people starting taking responsibilty for themselves and stop expecting the government to do it for them. AHHHHHHH entitlement . . . While I can understand and appreciate the need for the DCSE to mitigate circumstances between parents that cannot handle these montary situations alone, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to check you account before you make purchases . . .and if you have auto payments set up then you should be responsible enought to make sure you have the funds to cover them. If the noncustodial parent failed to make a payment at all . . .who would we be blaming them. I personally do not feel my tax dollars need to cover the expenses of people who are too lazy to check their account balance and make corrective changes . . . Once the DCSE was notified it was corrected . . . so quit crying and suck it up . . .Life ain't easy and it isn't made easier by someone else fixing your problems instead of people choosing to be responsible for themselves!

Gas once again proves just how out of touch with reality he is.

Suppose his check was delayed by a few days in the mail? Suppose it was postmarked properly? Why does she expect the money to be there and not have any responsiblity to check before she spends it? Suppose it was not child support but an annuity payment?

Things happen. If SHE had made the deposit and the bank credited it wrong then she would have a beef.

For every deadbeat dad there is some pig woman spending money intended for the kids on facial and highlights so they can get their freak on at the exes expense.

The state spends taxpayer money helping these kids because their parents couldn't get along. I hate government and am often quick to balme them, but this one ain't no smoking gun. This is a clerical error that exploded like a cigar in this womans face because SHE was negligent.

You can check a bank balance with a cell phone, home phone, online or at an ATM.

Take some responsibility. The taxpayers should not need to reimburse you for YOUR mistake.

Look at your account balance, don't assume the money is in there. End of story.

And should the state agency have accepted $15 when it should have been $1500? Were they going to be in contact with the father about it?

You people are idiots. This mother has to foot daily bills for the expenses of the kids out of her money that she could be purchasing coffee with. Take that into account. So if the kid/kids, need shoes for soccer, money for daycare/after school care, or money for medical costs, she should wait, or tell the organization that needs the money for the kids to wait until the first of the month when support kicks in? All the while she spends her money on herself, because child support is strictly for that--Child Support, and the kids will have to wait until pops sends that check in! I think not. Most single mothers put their needs last, and travel a long rough road to make sure their kids have what they need.

You people need to wake up. I dont have kids, but boy oh boy!

For those of you who are stating that she should get a check directly from her ex or that DCSE shouldn't be involved - in 1998 Virginia Code - all court orders for child support payments are to be payroll deduction and/or the NCP (Non custodial parent) is to make payments directly to DCSE. (For accounting, tracking purposes of the Courts.)

I do agree here that she should have kept an eye on her account BUT if funds of $1500 were to be paid to her account and DCSE obviously made the mistake of not issuing the funds to her account - that is where the blame lies.

I never would trust them to automatically send funds to me and we check our account regularly because you never know what banks are going to do these days.

The point is DCSE received a check for $1500 to send to her, they sent her $15. They made the mistake.

@Gas "some people", but "not implying" it's "this person"...
Your in-depth research shows that more than 50% of people who buy coffee get ones that cost at least $6? And people who are your definition of "trailer trash" go out of their way to spend that much to seem not to be "trailer trash"?
And since you're not saying "she" is that kind of person, this is relevant to this topic, how?
Thanks at least for sparing us your expert definition of what "trailer trash" is. No doubt it's a gem.

@red Good point, and I was just speaking from personal experience (my dad & mom), and from what some friends have gone through. It seems that this kind of system is designed for those who don't want to pay, or not pay a "fair" amount (whatever that is), not those who can work it out on their own. I didn't know all child support works through a dysfunctional system like this. I made the mistake of assuming that it would only be for when dad doesn't pay what is agreed (and certainly it could also be the mom who has to pay also). And to be clear, I did not say the dad "stiffed her"... I said that the state messed up. And of course, who ended the marriage is irrelevant, at least to this discussion.

@Bill Marshall - there are more deadbeat dads out there than "pig woman spending money intended for the kids on facial and highlights so they can get their freak on at the exes expense" as you put it. That is a fact.

As for this comment: "The state spends taxpayer money helping these kids because their parents couldn't get along." - usually the issue is ONE parent (the CP and the mother) takes responbility for the child(ren) and the OTHER parent (the NCP and father) does not.

Go to Charlottesville Albemarle Juvenile and Domestic Court and sit and watch it all unfold. It is a pattern. They issue a Show Cause, the dirtbag doesn't get served or if he gets served the first thing he requests is a court appointed attorney. This then delays the hearing.

They come back, he has an attorney and the attorney asks for more time to gather evidence or whatever. Again, they come back to court. Only to have judge listen to the same old excuses for NOT paying child support. "I quit my job because they were not paying me enough/I was laid off and I will not work at McDonalds/I was sick/I changed jobs." Most of these sly dogs will work just long enough at each employer and quit just when DCSE sends the order to that employer. Or they work under the table. There is a school out there somewhere and my Ex is teaching them every trick and excuse in the book. Oh - and they have paid say $100 or $300 on an arrears of say $4500. They now have a "job" and they have learned and promise to make regular payments. Dismissed.

A year later, after they made maybe one or two payments they are back at it again and it starts all over. This is what a single parent deals with and most of us never relied upon our ex's ever paying child support.

If I had the money to have my hair highlighted or my nails done or I went out with friends - that is NONE of anyone's business as long as my child had food, clothes, medical care and a roof over their heads.

Meanwhile more NCPs are knocking up other women and having more and more kids they will not support. Because in their eyes - they are the "man" because they have 8 kids!

Child support is bogus. It is BS for the man to have to keep up the woman. You all can say what you want about for electricity rent gas, etc. etc. But a man shouldn't work to have to keep up his ex.

After being separated not taken child into consideration a woman, or man each would have to pay for there own place or each would be out on the street. Having a child in the place merely shouldn't mean that the ex should have to pay half the bills or more on everything. The woman or man would have to have paid it anyway living on there own. The only thing the non-custodial parent should have to help with is food & diapers & clothes, period. Maybe a little bit extra on top of that considering the parent might have had to have an extra bedroom but I'd say no more than an extra $30 or so.

PS, there are many who don't even make $1500 in a month & people wonder why there are so many dads behind in it & they all get called deadbeats. Should be called ex-spouse support. That's the truth.

@Anonymous - there is medical insurance, dental bills, braces, summer camps, child care, school, activities that child or children are involved in. Child support is to SUPPORT the child in a household they would BE in if both parents were still together. Alimony is what you are referring to which is a totally different ball game!

My ex was only obligated to pay under $400 a month for one child and he couldn't do that! When they assessed his child support because I worked two jobs because I couldn't rely on him for CS - I was liable for 60% and he only 40% - and he couldn't even hold up that end of the deal!

The amount is based upon income and how many children are involved. So if she is getting $1500, I imagine his income far exceeds YOURS.

Obviously if you are a NCP - you have no clue what it takes to raise a child!

Actually I do know, b/c I have a child & am not single & am married. And that is my point exactly b/c it is child support so why should the guy pay more if he makes more. Why should one child(or should I say MOM) get less b/c he has a poor dad. It should only be what is enough to support the child. Once again why should he have to pay to keep her up in the riches if he's stuck in a trailer. Did you see the guys comment about his old junk car & ex complained b/c she couldn't make her car payment. And yes there are other things such as medical & dental, provided not on medicaid & also mom might even be on food stamps as well. But provided that I bet even if the man footed the whole bill on that, not even just half, wouldn't amount to $1500. It's BS. Like I said even if both the Parents never had a child & were single & on there own they would still have to have a place & just simply adding a child to that doesn't make the cost of the place they are staying go up & since both would still have to have one anyway regardless the man shouldn't have to pay her house payment or car payment.

This is a silly story. What I find funnier is the local TV station in State College, PA has a website for its news and, along the top of the home page, is a big blue banner ad for a law firm called Cefalo Law Firm. The banner ad has the headline: "Penn State Sexual Assault Victims, You Do Not Need to Keep Quiet. Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx and Speak with the Cefalo Law Firm."
Now, who said attorneys weren't skanks?
R.I.P.: Dick McAuliffe

I can see how da $1500 look like a $15 - but ya boi neva spend his paycheck until I see dat joint hit da account mane. Classic money mismanagement 101 by Sherry Nist, dat part of da reason why we in dis financial mess. Joe YUng da only one dat deserve an apology hurr mane. Please buy Sherry Nist dem quickbooks mane so she can track her scrilla

Wow, for once (and I can't BELIEVE I am about to say this) I actually agree with Gasbag over the whole FiveBucks (I mean Starbucks) thing... That place is so overrated!

Comments sections: Breeding ground for ignorance, really bad spelling, and apparently rappers.

@Anonymous - well, I am married now and have children by my current husband too. This said, I can tell you being a single parent is hard. Made harder by a system that does not put the child first. Never has, they are just pawns which are furthered by NCPs who most do not stand up to their responiblities.

The point of this article and the mistake is that DCSE accepted a payment for $1,500.00 but paid the CP not that amount by $15. I do agree with many here who state that one should watch their accounts and yes, Ms. Nist should do that because one can not trust DCSE, your employer or even the banks to get it correct. There are such things as human errors. This was an error and DCSE did correct it. As for the overdrafts, a bit excessive over such a short period of time.

But DCSE is as I have proven from previous comments here - useless. But the laws also are useless too.

What should be done is to educate families going through divorce to make sure they can support their children emotionally and financially. If a parent is faced with job loss, there should be items in place to help give them a hand up to get them to the point of employment. The issue is our systems give hand-outs rather than hand-ups.

This woman does need to learn to budget better. If I had received $1,500 a month for child support, I can guarantee there would have been no overdrafts and if there was funds left over, it would have gone into our child's savings for college.

Appreciate what you have and be thankful for it.

Lesson learned here...don't have autopays off your child support, even from DCSE...check your account regularly for the balance and most important, why use DCSE at all? I did this for over 10 years by a written agreement filed with the courts and never had a problem at all. If the non-custodial parent was late, a phone call and an amicable conversation was all that was needed....However, agreed here that 1500.00 a month for child support is completely insane. The child support structure is a sham and desparately needs a complete overhaul.

Note to all that are complaining about the use of the "child support" for coffee....unfortunately, they won't let you create a second account and use that account for the child's expenses only. I tried....didn't get a favorable word from the judge during the 'recalculation' of the child support after the oldest child turned 18. I was told to put the entire amount in my main account and pay all expenses (mine included) from it.

Boy, there's a lot of misinformation here. I don't know either of these people, but...

First, if DCSE is involved, there is a decent chance that the amount of money being paid includes arrearages. DCSE usually gets involved when the noncustodial parent has not been paying; there are some procedural advantages to having payments made through the state agency.

Second, if there is an arrearage, it would be pretty much impossible to figure out anything about either Ms. Nist's or Mr. Yung's income levels. Child support is decided by agreement, or by guidelines set out in Virginia Code 20-108.2 -- -- or by a judge working from the guidelines. If there was no arrearage, a $1500 support award would suggest that he makes a LOT more money than she does.

But...child support also depends on how many children there are. Obviously, support will be higher for 3 kids than for one.

Third, a payment for "child support" may also include other specific costs -- medical bills, or day care, or health insurance, or private school tuition. So readers should not make any assumptions at all about the relative economic circumstances -- any assumptions are highly likely to be wrong.

Fourth, it is a common fallacy that the custodial parent is supposed to be somehow segregating the child support money so that it goes ONLY to the support of the child or children. Lawyers and judges hear all the time that "she isn't spending the money on the kids! She doesn't need the money! She's buying coffee with the money!" And that is not the law.

The custodial parent is not required to keep a separate account used solely for the support of the children. If Ms. Nist is like most people, she has one bank account from which she pays the rent or mortgage on the house that she shares with her children; from which she pays the family food bill, both for herself and for her kids; from which she pays a car payment with which she drives both herself and her kids; from which she pays for a cup of coffee for herself and ice cream cones for the kids.

And to those of you who have called her "trailer trash" -- looking at social media sites, it appears that this "trailer trash" is in fact proficient in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Just because you work for the government doesn't mean you know how to read. The department that is funded by taxpayers should take responsiblity as they preach to others.

Child support is for supporting your child. You pay for your coffee on your own dime. If you overdraft on non child related purchases its your own fault. Don't blame child support. I really think their should be a law that requires accountability for child support money which ensures the money is in fact spent on the child and not on personal whims. If you want money for personal happiness then get a job that allows that instead of being a leech.

What a bunch of pigs. Keep your little toy in your pants and you wouldn't have to worry about trivial things like taking care of your kids.
Typical males. Run back to your mommy and whine a little. She will make it better.

dear lloyd,

1) the courts have stuck their nose in to take the money from the non custodial parent but will not take any responsibility to make sure it is spent on the child which is who they claim to be protecting. in the first place. It may be the law but it still sucks and it more worthy of an article than this non starter.

2) If she can learn three languages she can learn to check her account balance before she spends money that isn't there.

3)no cuente sus pollos antes que salgan del huevo (don't count your chickens before they hatch)

4)手段两次,明白曾经 (measure twice, saw once)

This woman is more of a victim of this newspaper than the DCSE, She should have been told that a lot of people will not feel sorry for someone who gets 18k a year in child support and can't watch her own bank balance..

My goodness, let the woman drink a good cup of coffee already! She can spend that money to go to Hawaii on vacation by herself if she wants or she can spend it on seeing movies everyday, that money is for her to use as she sees fit. It is her money to manage, if she somehow falters and can't keep a household in order with that amount of money, well then the father has an argument that may be valid, Ms. Nist (woman in the article) has proven she is at least a poor bookkeeper who is slightly dim-witted, maybe the father can use the article as evidence that his ex-wife is not as competent as he is in taking care of the necessities of life for his children. Folks, if you have a broken family please strive to keep your problem out of the courts or you'll probably regret it. Work hard to share the childcare responsibilities equally, and be there to help the other parent financially if they request it. Always show courtesy and civility to one another, don't fight over the children people! The child support bureaucracy is now dependent upon public family conflict in order to have a job and at the end of the day those bureaucrats don't care about your family as much as they care about being in the middle and keeping their jobs. Plus if you are a parent who receives money it may not be doing you any favors if you grow dependent upon it at the expense of your becoming self-sufficient.

I thought if there was any doubt about the amount of the check, the state is supposed to return it to the sender. Anyway, she should not count on it being there on a certain date. Too many things can, and often do, go wrong.

I totally agree that she should have followed banking rule 101 and checked her balance ahead of time. Even if the $1500 was deposited it still would have been late, and she still would have incurred the fees.

She also should not count on Child Support as guaranteed money. Yes it is ordered perhpas, but things happen. Those funds should have been an added extra but not a actual income. By relying on your paycheck and your earned income, you can count any extra as just that, extra.

Also, to repeat myself, the money she spends is her business. The kids I trust are well managed and well taken care of, if not they are familiar with the courts, and I am sure the father would have filed to have their custody reviewed. Is $1500 too much, probably not. The kids should not have to go through changing their lifestyles due to a break up. If they are in private school, or a very nice daycare, or they live in a very nice home, just because the parents are no longer together does not mean they should be on section 8, foodstamps and welfare; while driving an Olds 88. What would you people have to say then? When she is reaping the government benefits while her ex husband is fully capable of providing? If he has the means to provided and does so, then those children will be so much better off than those children relying on TANF and other welfare benefits. At least DCSE does not have to chase the father down.

You people need to get in touch with reality.

FYI: Child Support is not welfare. It's a court ordered agreement that is figured out fairly.

Minus daycare one could pay $150 a month, add daycare, its $400 a month. Expenses come into play and its based off of income per parent and broken down by percentage of responsibility.
Unless in a case where the parents agree that $400 may not be enough, and they ask the court to order $900 instead.

Pretty sure un-support is not a real word...what did you people do before message boards?

The State of Virginia "messed-up" ? What's the world coming to ?

As a single parent who supported her children on her own income - and received no child support - it is possible to do it. You don't need to depend on someone else to pay for you and your children's expenses. I worked two jobs - the second one after my kids were in bed (I paid my mother the going childcare rate to stay with them) - so I could spend time with the children AND provide what they needed. I didn't buy coffee for myself so I could buy organically grown produce for the kids. You will need to monitor your bank account - to be sure you don't spend more than you earn. Don't be a victim/blame others for your misfortune. Be resourceful - and a better role model for your children.

"? December 20th, 2011 | 12:02pm
Pretty sure un-support is not a real word...what did you people do before message boards?"

Prior to message boards we wrote letters to the editor.

@Truth Hurts: DCSE is optional, I know someone that just sends a check and that's what the court instructed them to do.

"Prior to message boards we wrote letters to the editor."

Whose editing went a long way towards hiding just how ignorant the typical letter writer was. Maybe an online comment editor would be a welcome addition.

I can't believe the people in here putting down this woman for buying a cup of coffee. Do you people have kids? This article leaves alot to be many kids does she have? If it is only one then $1,500.00 may be alot unless the husband makes twice a week and they have their kids in a private school. But to get on her case for a cup of coffee??? Wha???
I have 4 kids and raising them would be very difficult without coffee...

Hubby is now the government, and child support is for your latte.
Enjoy, married dudes/suckers - this is your future.

Under the screwed up laws of this state. If he just gave her the money instead of going through the state, it is considered a "gift". Then she can turn around and jam him for back child support. Yeah, $1500 seems excessive, as me and my two kids could live like royalty on that...that's why I got a vasectomy, best $50 dollar co-pay I ever spent....

@dan1101 - your "friend" probably hasn't had any orders since the original agreement - and is not in arrears for child support - once the court steps in and there are arrears, there must be an automatic payment from the NCP's payroll to the CP. DCSE doesn't need to be involved but are often involved. Most NCPs do not write a check - it is deducted by their payroll departments.

I'm amazed that no one is focusing their energy at the bank. Seriously: they're inconvenienced $600 by not having $1500 for a week? That's a reasonable response on their part? The comments here are overwhelmingly about an, at most, $10 cup of coffee & not one person has mentioned the $600 of fees? Really?

Wow, are we stupid.

Thank you Barbara. Scrolling through that stuff, even Lloyd Snook's, had me cringing.
Sisk 'N Nist, that's what I saw in it.
I bet Ms. Nist could use a drink.

When my ex and I agreed to divorce because she had to "find herself" we had a custody and child support arrangement. Problem was,when it was my turn to get the kids she always had some reason they couldn't come,and the court failed to enforce my custody rights. I ache to spend time with my children. It seems that many of us dads are simply seen as sperm and money.

Barbara and Robert, the bank is not in the business of fronting her money until her check hits. No energy is due to be focused on the bank. The real mishap is that she should have used proper banking skills and checked her balance prior to spending funds that were not available. Rules are rules. She knew these rules when she opened the account.

Partial blame lies with DCSE for their clerical error, however again if she checked she would have been aware and not incurred the fees. Everyone should know that you can't assume its there, you have to make sure these days.

Overdraft protection of 1K at my local bank (BBT) costs nothing each month just kicks in when you use it the the fee is like a regular credit card. She needs a 2K overdraft. Its peace of mind even if you only need it rarely.

No problem with the coffee, but in Ohio CS comes on a Visa card. I have relatives that work at large grocery stores and gas stations. People routinely use their child support money to buy Beer, Cigarettes, Condums, and even Rolling Papers the (kind for rolling your own cigarettes). There is absolutely no restrictions. But if i don't pay my support, which can easy go to pay for these items, I go to jail?

Nice system. Nicely balanced accountability!


Often these funds on that Visa card are arrears. This means the CP has waited a long time to get those funds. Meanwhile spening his/her last on the children. Parents I see today that come by the office freely say that it's like winning a scratch off when they do receive money the state has intecepted. It's not a regular thing to receive in most cases. By the time they do receive it's close to nothing compared to the order. $20 or thirty dollars here and there.

In other words, change, and change is best spent at the local convenience store. I see parents all the time who come in with their kids. Kids are dressed clean, and nice, parents are decent looking as well. But they are on Child Support. The general population on the outside looking in needs to drill down, and take into account each situation case by case.

If a parent is buying Black and Milds, and beers with the CS money, while their kids are looking disheveled, and they have no vechicle then chin checks are in order, if not, then what the fuss? If their ducks are in a row, then their money managment seems to be on point.

I dont just people in those situations, I just try to offer, options and other avenues, and also proper money managment. In my field I could look down on them, but until I actually learned what life on their end is like, I was actually able to understand.

Deleted by moderator.


You're right some funds are past due arrears, but a significabt persentage of cases (about 20%) have credit balances. Sounds like you know a little about the system, so you also know that many states intentionaly collect more that the court ordered amounts to run up credits. Get the money when you can, right? The problem with this is that when the state orders a specific and precise amount of support, they should collect that specific amount.

Back to items purchased, i do not advocate some cumbersome receipt system for all items purchased. Just restrict things like beer and cigarettes, is that really asking too much?


I totally understand what you are saying, I see these families case by case. Some get a pass, others dont get any sympathy. I used to be the same way, very stern and looked down upon them, that was until I was educated.

As far as the agencies collecting more, that is from my understanding only due to arrears. If a parent is behind the agencies take more than what is due weekly, biweekly, or monthly. That is legal. Once caught up, the amount is even to the order. If more is taken, then they should question the agency that is taking those funds. Also, if more than one case is open for multiple children, more money is taken as well.

I always try to suggest parents to work out issues outside of courts, but sometimes, you have those knuckleheads, (men and women) that just want the community to take care of their children. It's a tough cycle, however knowing all the pieces to the puzzle, add to my understanding of how things work.


It's not askin too much, I have learned to compromise. They are going to get it either way, does not matter which dollar is designated. That is just being honest. But perhaps beer, cigs, bar tabs, and all of that should be restricted.

How is it, with all the brain power on this board, we haven't solved all of societies ills? It used to be that you had to walk a mile in someone's shoes to feel them. Now all it takes is some puffed up feeling of self-worth and a pile of ignorance. Everyone paying child support thinks they're getting screwed and everyone receiving child support has it easy...nonsense.

The solution is simple. If you aren't prepared to deal with starting a family, don't! If the system fails anyone, it's the children, not the numbskull parents who thought it would be a hoot to start a family.

and @bill never fail to make me ashamed to be a man. You have some serious issues. Thank God most know that you don't speak for us all.

"And to those of you who have called her "trailer trash" -- looking at social media sites, it appears that this "trailer trash" is in fact proficient in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese."

Rosetta Stone - hell yeah!!!!

Jon, you have every right to show cause your ex regarding visitation. Visitation and Child Support do not go hand-in-hand and she can be found in contempt for not complying with the visitiation order. (Your attorney should have told you this.) It is very important for a father to be part of their child(ren)s lives - and I am the ex-wife here whose former did so only when he wished - not as ordered. I find it diplorable if the parent wants to be involved for the other not to allow it.

As for "Murray" - technically speaking you are very right BUT as a single parent there were few times for me to have extras and as I stated, my ex still owes on an adult child. He rarely paid and got away with it. (Well, he really didn't because his child knows what a deadbeat he is.)

I think we all ought to be very careful who we choose to have children with...admit my mistake.

You have every right to show cause, pay more lawyers, increase our tax-supported court system costs and blah, blah, blah.

As a custodial parent, I've failed to exercise the right to go back to court because I can add and have, consequently known, that going back to court would cost me more than it would net me --- both in monetary and non-monetary ways. The "right" to go back to court is not the equivalent of going back to court being worth-while. Or "right" in a far more important, but un-court-counted way.

Children cost both time and money. Sometimes 'time' is more important. These are individual assessments. I've made mine and I live with them.

The micro-management of child support payments here is simply appalling. And I continue to ignore them: they simply aren't worthy of notice.

My point continues to be the bank. Clearly, the bank returned or failed to accept many demands against the account. I'm not saying it's their job to cover them: I'm saying it's appalling how much they're charging to return them. Truly? It cost them $600 to return or fail to accept something less than $1500 in demands? Really?

No. It didn't cost them that much. They simply chose to charge that much. So what if those were 'the rules'? The rules are almost certainly stupid. The rules almost certainly racked up the biggest of charges against the available balance and pretended that, because the biggest thing more than consumed the available balance, all demands were "over the limit" and cause for fee after fee.

The banks make a choice: to shove in the biggest things first and we, as consumers, are expected to 'know the rules' and, well, blah, blah, blah. Except all of the banks have similar rules because, if they don't, their stock-holders can sue them for failing to make enough money. Until the government steps in and says; "DON'T DO THAT!".

I'm saying the 'rules' are stupid, unnecessary, and punitive. I'm saying I grew up in a town with a single local bank with a single branch whose president was always available and who felt that he could make "quite a nice living" on 3%. Nothing has really changed since my childhood, except the definition of "quite a nice living". By people who have the ability to, you know, change the rules and make a bigger "nice living".

It's bad. It's discourteous. It's ludicrous. And it's untrue. We really need not behave this way unless we truly have both swallowed and institutionalized the 'Wall Street' proviso that "Greed is Good".

I think this funny. The ex should do this on a regular basis. Write the check so it goes thru and doesn't go thru so he can torment his ex. Great practical joke even if he didn't mean it... cause all kinds of grief and him off the hook. Gotta love it all the he man woman hating victims of sperm jacking women.


The "bank" issue. It's a work in progress. Where have you been? Until Congress comes up with a resolution, RULES ARE RULES! Knowing the condition of our economy, she should have withdrew her money and placed it under her mattress. Problem solved. Instead, she still decided to bank with a national institution, knowing the rules that were set forth, so here comes the fun.......$600 worth. Enjoy!

I suggest she go prepaid until she gets her account in order. That's what I suggest those who come by my office complaining of not having money one month due to NSF fees.

I slap them silly, and tell them to learn to read, then once they have accomplished that feat, read to comprehend.

That is all folks!

Actually Mr. Yung and Ms. Nist could have avoided all of this by paying online. DCSE has a really nice easy website that allows you to pay the correct amount and it is posted that day (if after a certain time it could post the next business day). You get an email receipt that you can print after the payment has gone through and it will even email you a copy if you wish. This way they would not have to rely so much on the "human eye" and the state is again off The Hook...yes, pun intended!

"RULES ARE RULES" is nonsense and we all know it. The rules you're referring to are only enforced against people like Ms Nist, who apparently has no negotiating power.

After my ex and I split up we had an agrement for support I would send out x amount each mounth. As the years progressed she continued to want more and i would never question why just pay her. after a few years she had asked for me to only send her cash no checks. Come to find out she had been unemployed for years and taking the money that was to help raise or child and spending it on her boy friend and ther drug habbits. when I went to court to gain full custity i lost and on top of that she had give lied in court about our arangment. Because of the 4 years i paid in cash i was unable to show that I had paid any support. now the state has removed all money in my bank account on 3 occations to pay back the over due support. It has ruined my credit when appliying for a new job I was told that I was a dead beat dad and should be in jail becaus the credit report shows failer to pay. I have and do pay the amount asked of me each month and i just cant dig myself out of this hole All i ask is a fair chance and my life back I dont understand why one government agency has the power to distroy someons life I am married now with a 3 year old son and its hard to tell him that we are not allowed to have any money to live on because i cant find a way to make it anybetter.

If anyone has a idea please let me know
merry christmass

Carrboro Pete,

Rules are rules. Going into a contract should selective decisions be made, you already know you have the probability of not being on the positive side. Learn the rules, and assume that YES it means YOU!

Hey man, I don't like them either, but I am adult enough to know what the rules says, they can enforce it at anytime.

Banking is a business, we all know that, but the bottom line is she should have checked prior. You think she can go in there and say "Sir, the money was not in there, I incurred these fees, can you ignore the rule that I agreed to and excuse the $600?" Heck no.

With that amount of money monthly unearned, why didnt she have overdraft protection? This is also something that banks urge consumers to get.

I am not sympathizing with her. She should have checked first.

Everyone blaming the banks for the fees, need to blame the consumer for agreeing to them. Where is your logic people?


who writes checks any longer, WTF?

Jerry please ask for spell check for Christmas!

"? December 23rd, 2011 | 2:23pm
Jerry please ask for spell check for Christmas!"

I think the spelling is a result of being cheated out of money for 4 years, and also it's spelled "Christmass"!

Also Jerry,
You've been had by your ex, and I think your spelling is what gave you away. I presume you are a great guy, and perhaps you can take our constructive criticism and A) make friends, and B) Learn what the fine print says next time when dealing with important issues.

That is all!

Child Support is an issue for many! The world should know what you're not receiving! If I can search a felony/misdemeanor online, why shouldn't I be able to do the same for a person who owes child support. Please visit my website for more info!

I see the arguments from bitter child support payers haven't changed in 30 years. My ex-husband raised the same argument -- why is she buying *x* with child support money? -- in one of his many attempts to evade payment, and the judge answered: when you don't pay your child support, the mother of your child has to spend money allotted for other expenses on your child. So if she takes $10 of your arrearage and buys gas (or a cup of coffee), she's not taking money away from your child; she's replacing funds you forced her to spend on child-related expenses that you were responsible for paying.

My daughter's father filled her youth with tales of how evil I was for demanding child support; my parents (who helped me raise her) and I never discussed it with her. As soon as she was 18, she went to the J&D court handling our case and asked to see the records. When she saw for herself the sixteen-year-battle I'd waged to garner, at most, $45 per week on her behalf, and the various excuses her father had presented in his quest to dodge responsibility, she swore never to forgive her father, a pledge from which she hasn't retreated in 12 years. Let that be a lesson to those of you aiming vitriol at your ex-spouses.

If the DCSE a "free" service (as stated several places above) you are saving big bucks by not having to pay attorneys. Just think of the $600 as having to pay an attorney for 2 hours work, and get overdraft protection of 2k for the future.

I almost never get involved in internet exchanges, but I'll make an exception due to the non-serious nature of your reply.
"RULES ARE RULES" is, as you should know if you work anywhere near a bank, ridiculous. The so called rules can be changed by the bank any time, and if you don't believe that overdraft fees can be negotiated away by account holders with sufficient money in perhaps other accounts or long standing at the bank, then you must be a teller. Your branch manager or someone higher up the food chain makes those decisions, go ask him or her about it sometime.

I neither know nor care about Ms. Nist's overdraft protection status. My only point is that rules are the result of negotiations, and people with negotiating power get those rules waived on occasion. Poorer people like Ms Nist have no negotiating power with a bank, so they end have having the full weight of those rules enforced against them

Live in the real world Broomdust

carrboro pete

Don't shoot the messenger. Don't agree to something then get up in arms when the terms are enforced.

I am serious. DEAD SERIOUS in everything I say.

I refuse to deviate from my position. It's common sense Petey.

Why would you agree to terms, then pull the okeydoke later and say, I don't like those rules?
Does not work that way.

I repeat. GO PREPAID, or use the matress method.

I bank at 3 institutions, and I follow the rules, if I get hit with a fee/fees (which I have many times). I pay. It's in the rules. I agreed to them.

IF that is your serious argument, THEN it equals moot.


Carry on!


In response to your comment "Live in the real world Broomdust"

The REAL world is the world I live in everyday and have learned to navigate so well.

In this REAL WORLD. There are rules everywhere you go. Nothing new.

Your argument is silly, and comical.

In the REAL WORLD, adults are responsible, and pay attention to fine print.
In the REAL WORLD, adults, don't agree to contracts that they don't like.
In the REAL WORLD, adults make wise decisions, and live with them.
In the REAL WORLD, adults don’t expect to make mistakes and be given pardons.

That's my REAL WORLD. After careful deduction your REAL WORLD is situational comedy, similar to the TV show, REAL WORLD.

Rule number one. LOGIC always overrules ignorance.

That is all folks!

I've never worked for a bank directly. In a bank builidng? YES. For the bank directly? NO. I have had $1000's paid to banks for fees.

If it was fine when you singed on the dotted line, then later on don't waste their time and whine!

Drilling down, however.

If I signed a contract for a cell phone and closed my account prior to the ending, and was hit with $275 early termination fee (as notated when I agreed), should I negotiate that? If so, with whom? The higher ups? Please let me know how that works, because you seem to be the expert. \

Perchance, when is the next flight to your planet, where they negotiate with the rich people only?

Makes no logical sense. Those rich people could care less, it's covered, tenfold. The minions below..we are living paycheck to paycheck, and need our money, more than any other. We complain because we need it. The others who can afford it, don't miss it.

I live in the REAL WORLD, so please educate yourself, or prepare to be educated.

I don't agree with it at all, but I also don't agree to terms I can't abide by.

Bottom line. If I am charged, well by George she will be charged too. No free passes here.