Judge Asks State to Submit Support Check Policy

December 12, 2002
Posted at: 11:45 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A federal judge Thursday in a class-action lawsuit to bar the state from withholding money from child-support checks says he will not renew a previous order that the state follow the law.

U.S. District Judge James Moody says child-support recipients were merely looking for reassurances that the state would not violate the rules in asking him to renew a preliminary injunction. Instead of renewing the earlier order, Moody instructed the state today to submit its policy on recouping losses in child-support payments to the court and to lawyers for the plaintiffs.

He told both parties to submit briefs on the legality of the policy, and said he would review those arguments. Lawyers for child-support recipients contended that contrary to previous court instructions, the state was still deducting money for bad checks and agency errors from child-support payments in violation of federal rules.

Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit contended Tuesday that until this fall, the state deducted money for bad checks and agency errors from child support payments that were sent to recipients.

When the judge granted the case class-action status in September, he said the child-support office was trying to address the plaintiffs' needs and had made substantial progress.