October 17, 2019

Man Who Fathered 30 Children Wants Reduction of Child Support

I ran across this article/video on Tennessee TV station W-REG entitled TN Man Fathers 30 Children: Can’t Support Any.

According to this report, 33 year old Knoxville resident Desmond Hatchett has children with 11 different women.  The state child support recovery office takes half his minimum wage paycheck and divides it up.   Some of the mothers receive as little as $1.49 a month. The oldest child is 14 years old.

Hatchett acknowledges that he fathered four kids in the same year – twice.

In 2009, Hatchett appeared in court for failure to pay child support and he promised  to change his behavior.  However, he has produced nine more babies during the past three years.  Mr. Hatchett has not broken any Tennessee laws with his behavior.

Mr. Hatchett has not filed a claim for disability, but if he does in the future and is awarded benefits, Social Security could be on the hook for both his benefits as well as tens of thousands of dollars each year for auxiliary benefits.

What, if anything, should the state of Tennessee do about Mr. Hatchett’s irresponsible behavior?  Should the women Mr. Hatchett sleeps with bear any responsibility for this situation?

Auxiliary Benefit Offset Rules Vary From State to State

social security dependents' benefitsMy colleague, Colorado Social Security disability lawyer Tomasz Stasiuk recently published an article on his blog entitled “Do Social Security Auxiliary Benefits Reduce Child Support?”  The post on Tomasz’ blog was actually written by attorney Yolanda Fennick, who practices family law in Colorado Springs.

Yolanda’s article sets out what Colorado courts are supposed to do – if a non-custodial parent qualifies for SSDI and his children begin receiving monthly auxiliary benefits, these auxiliary benefits will usually reduce the non-custodial parent’s child support obligations dollar for dollar.

I suspect that Colorado’s approach is similar to what you would find in other states, but when it comes to child support payments, do not assume anything.  Further, until the obligations of the parties are put into writing by a judge and issued as an order, no other agreement or assumption matters.

The rules may be different in SSI cases, if the custodial parent is the one receiving SSDI, or if the child himself is receiving SSI.  A good family lawyer can explain the law to you.  As difficult as it may be to come up with the money to hire a lawyer, I think that both  payers and recipients of child support would be very wise to have counsel when appearing in court. [Read more…]