There are many men who complain about the burden of child support, which can extend well into the child’s adulthood if the man has gotten behind in payments. But there are few fathers who continue to pay child support when the child in question has died. That is the problem facing Kentucky’s Lional Campbell. According to Detroit’s WXYZ.com, Campbell, a Detroit native now living in Kentucky has been paying child support for his son Michael who died of acute meningitis at 3-years-old in 1998, for the past 25 years. “When I went there, the clerk said, you’re right, you shouldn’t be paying,” Campbell said. The understaffed court blames human error for the mistake. Campbell mistakenly thought that he was paying support for an older son by the same mother he had Michael with.
In 2011, Campbell figured out he’d been paying child support for both children and asked the court in Detroit for an audit, which revealed that he was still in arrears. But Wayne County’s Friend of the Court, which assists Detroit residents with domestic cases, couldn’t even come up with a consistent amount saying he owed almost $43, 000, then $33, 000, then $19,000. Once WXYZ got involved, another audit was done, this time saying Campbell still owes over $6,000. “Even the lady down there says there’s no way you should be paying child support for a dead child,” Campbell told the station. “I said, Well, that’s what they got me doing.” Campbell’s situation was further muddied by some gaps in his employment history and surcharges added onto any amounts of child support in arrears, similar to penalties in tax cases. Other penalties for child support in arrears include loss of a tax return, driver’s license and passport. Now that Campbell has been helped by the news, he will receive yet another audit, his fourth, to find out what he actually owes, if anything. When reached by WXYZ, the children’s mother declined comment.