Iowa DHS collects record child support last year - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa DHS collects record child support last year

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by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) The State of Iowa collected a record amount last year in child support from non-custodial parents.

The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services said last year $351 million was collected. That's up two percent from the previous year.

The average payment is $216 a month and about 70 percent of child support payments are made on time.

Three of every four child support dollars came from income withholding, but a rising share came from unemployment benefits last year.

KWWL with a father of four who pays child support on two of those children.

For a time, he was out of work himself and thinks higher unemployment levels contributed to the record child support collections last year.

Harry Whiteside has two little girls with his wife Amie, plus two older children from his first marriage. After losing his job, he was worried about paying for child support and taking care of the rest of his family.

At the time, his child support payment was more than $900 a month. He hoped to get it reduced while he looked for another job, but was told the issue couldn't even be addressed for at least three months.

"They basically told me there was nothing I could do to get it lowered in that time period so I said we're gonna have to struggle through it," said Whiteside.

It was required to have his child support payment taken directly out of his unemployment check. Whiteside said that's understandable, but unemployment was significantly less than his previous income.

"Not only do I have my child support obligation, I have my wife and two kids to care for and what was left over on unemployment obligations was less than was going for child support," he said.

"We learned a lot about budgeting. It was a complete necessity to be able to make it," said his wife Amie Whiteside.

Fortunately, Whiteside found another job within six weeks. But the better paying job led to an increase in his child support payments.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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