Lional Campbell‘ son, Michael, died of acute meningitis at the age of three 25 years ago. However, Campbell is still paying child support for him to this day, Channel 7 Action News reports.
Originally from Detroit, Campbell now lives in Kentucky. In 2011, he began questioning why he was still paying child support on a child who died back in 1988. At first, he said he never questioned the payments because he thought they were for an older son he fathered with Michael’s mother. He was born seven years before Michael and is now 34-years-old.
That he lives several states away is making his fight to clear his name even more difficult. “It took a lot out of me,” Campbell said.
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When Channel 7 asked the Wayne County Friend of the Court how a man could be responsible for paying child support for a deceased child, a spokesperson said that no one ever told them that the child was dead. They also added that, because they are low on staff and case loads are enormous, mistakes were made.
Watch Campbell’s story below:
Here is a breakdown of this convoluted story below:
Believing his payments, that included arrearages, should have ended by now, Campbell asked why the payments had not stopped.
He says he was told the continuing payments were back child support for his son Michael.
Campbell drove to Detroit to show court officials a death certificate, proof that Michael died in 1988, but says he was told that he still owed about $43,000 for Michael.
Campbell asked for several audits. Each time he was given a lesser amount. He was then told he owed a little less than $20,000.
Campbell says even clerks at the Friend of the Court have been baffled.
“The lady said ‘how you owe on a child been dead 23 years?’ I said I don’t know and she said we’ll do another audit”.
Campbell reached out to 7 Action News and while a spokesperson for the Friend of the Court could not talk specifically about Campbell’s case because of privacy issues, they did tell us that surcharges drastically raise the amounts owed by non-custodial parents.
One court official likened the surcharges, that ended several years ago, to “loan sharking”.
Court officials admitted to 7 Action News that the calculations from the audits were wrong and that they would expedite another one.
The latest audit resulted in what court officials believe is an accurate amount Campbell still owes: $6,460.08.
Thing is, Campbell doesn’t believe he even owes that much because, over the years, he has been paying for two children. Though there are some complications in Campbell’s case as well: appropriately detangling the surcharges; gaps in Campbell’s employment history; and payments for two children that were being made for many years.
Campbell is seeking another audit before he files his taxes this year because he fears the Friend of the Court will swallow up any refund he could get over the unresolved child support issues.
The mother of Campbell’s children declined to speak to Channel 7 about the child support case.