A grieving father whose son and ex-wife died in a horrific car crash was forced to continue to pay child support for months after the tragedy, he has claimed.
James Maher is one of the many Australian parents fed up with what they claim is a broken child support system.
‘I still had to pay child support even though my ex-spouse and my son were dead,’ Mr Maher told Channel Nine’s A Current Affair program.
‘They were taking payments out of my wage for approximately three months after I’d already told them that two of my family members were deceased.’
James Maher (pictured) is one of the many Australian parents fed up with what they claim is a broken child support system
Mr Maher said he was forced to continue to make payments months after his ex-wife and son died in a car crash
Mr Maher said the Department of Social Services continued to deduct his wage, even though he had supplied them with death certificates.
The Department later admitted it had made an error, but Mr Maher said he hadn’t received the money back or been given an apology.
‘I think it’s a big joke that they call themselves child support. All they are is a glorified government collection agency,’ he said.
‘The system seriously needs to be overhauled or scrapped. I’m probably just one of thousands of people going through the same thing.’
Others told the program that the child support system was forcing them into poverty.
One single mother said she has been chasing her ex-partner for child support for the last eight years, claiming he owes her more than $37,000.
She revealed she felt ‘helpless’ because the Department told her they couldn’t do anything to get the money, according to the program.
Despite her ex-partner’s income being as high as $185,821, she said there was ‘no winning’ for her and she had been forced to live with her parents.
‘I find it pretty disgusting… I think kids needs to be put first and it’s the last thing that’s happening at the moment,’ she said.
‘It’s not fair for one parent to have all the responsibilities as well as all the financial responsibilities to bring up children that it took two people to create.’
‘I still had to pay child support even though my ex-spouse and my son were dead,’ Mr Maher said
There are about 1,800 fathers who owe almost $10 million to their ex-wives.
Between 2015 to 2016, child support payments not being paid increased by more than 1,500 cases, prompting a crackdown on dodgy dads.
Despite the stopping tactic being enforced for 16 years, it is believed authorities are directing their attention towards frequent flyers living luxurious lifestyles.
The Immigration Department and child support officers have joined together to target some of the country’s wealthiest divorced fathers before they fly out of Australia, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The claims come as it is revealed there are about 1800 fathers who owe almost $10 million to their ex-wives in child support payments (stock image)
Fathers have been forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in owed child support before being allowed to fly internationally.
One man was even sailing away from the country’s waters as he was reportedly forced to pay $8,000 when he was stopped by Melbourne Seaport.
Men reportedly made up more than 90 per cent of parents paying child support, according to 2015 statistics.