NJ sweep wrangles parents behind on child support payments
The courts know them as non-compliant parents. Most people reading this article know them as deadbeats.
Out of the hundreds of thousands of child support cases throughout New Jersey, many don't progress so smoothly due to parents actively trying to avoid the payments they're required to make.
With warrants in hand, sheriff's offices throughout the Garden State are constantly after these offenders who are constantly trying to dodge the system.
It's a year-round effort, but a couple times per year, all 21 counties act in unison over a few-day period to nab as many delinquent individuals as they can.
The Sheriff's Association of New Jersey is still tallying the results of the latest statewide sweep that commenced at 5 a.m. Oct. 23 and wrapped up the evening of Oct. 25.
But there's one common thread among the figures already in — the amount of money collected from deadbeat parents is just a drop in the bucket compared to the money owed.
In Somerset County, for example, the sweep managed to squeeze $22,000 out of the dozens of men and women that officers rounded up. But the total still owed to their families is more than $854,000. In Ocean County, an individual who owes $46,000 to the system was released after forking over $400.
"In most cases, the judges will release them, take what money they have, and give them a few more days to bring more money in," said John Armeno, executive director of the Sheriff's Association of New Jersey. "And after that, you start it all over again."
The hope is that officers don't see the same names on warrants every few months.
At $60,000, Mercer County collected the most in arrears money during the sweep. The county's roundup targeted 188 men and 15 women.
"Nearly every person apprehended intentionally dodged payments of their court-ordered child support, leaving their children without moneys for adequate food, clothing or housing," said Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler in a news release.