A Ceres father says his company took child support payments straight from his paycheck, but it never made it to his daughter. Noah Hernandez has proof he paid the child support, but the state says he’s ultimately responsible for making the payments.
Hernandez has a motorcycle, but he doesn’t dare ride it. His license has been suspended multiple times over missing child support payments he already paid for his 11-year-old daughter.
“I thought, ‘There’s no way. It’s garnished, it’s deducted out of every paycheck I have.'” said Hernandez.
He has pay stubs from his former security job at Valley Protective Services of Fresno, proving the child support was taken out. But the company didn’t send along $1,361.88 to the state. Now the state is after Hernandez, and his daughter isn’t getting the support, straining the relationship with her mother.
“In her eyes, I’m just a deadbeat that’s not paying,” said Hernandez.
According to court papers, VPS admits several other employees are in the same boat. Companies that don’t pass along child support could face fines and even jail time.
Merced County Department of Child Support Services has tried to get VPS to pay up for a year, and just last week was able to serve VPS with contempt charges.
“Enforcing wage assignment orders is not at the top of their list,” said attorney Stephen Goldberg, of Legal Services of Northern California.
Even when employers don’t pass along the child support, Goldberg says the system still holds people like Hernandez responsible.
“I don’t think this is a very common situation, but I do think this isn’t right,” said Goldberg.
We called Valley Protective Services. The owner, Richard Rodriguez issued this statement:
The checks were sent to Merced County as per the Court Order. However due to one of the checks being returned they sent them back. The Money is sitting in the account the checks were written off of. Since our conversation I have already contacted the Merced Office and awaiting Pay off information and this matter Will be at rest Wednesday by Credit card or by Wire. The person that handles this part of our Payroll is no longer employed here after this came to light.
That statement was sent to us on Monday, April 23rd. Merced county tells us they have yet to receive a payment from Rodriguez.
“I want him to know that my daughter needs the money too. You know, that’s who you hurt,” said Hernandez.
If VPS doesn’t pay, Hernandez will have to pay the $1,361.88 again, plus interest for being late. He’s not facing any criminal charges, but the missed payments could hurt his credit and the government can intercept his tax returns.