Pierre man protests paying perpetual child support

2014-04-05T05:00:00Z Pierre man protests paying perpetual child supportJoe O'Sullivan Journal staff Rapid City Journal
April 05, 2014 5:00 am  • 

When Michael Haraldson got the letter last year that he still needed to pay child support, he couldn't believe it. 

Both of Haraldson's children are in their 20s. South Dakota's child support laws only require child support payments up to age 18 in most cases, and 19 in one other instance.

But Haraldson, born and raised in South Dakota, was living in Canada at the time of his divorce. There, child support laws can go on indefinitely, unless he hires a lawyer and fights.

"I was told it was going to be $20,000 to $30,000 to litigate, and I'd have a 50-50 chance," Haraldson said by phone from Pierre. "I just went, 'Oh, my God.'"

Haraldson, a 52-year-old computer support specialist who lives in Pierre, has an administrative hearing with the state scheduled for Monday to protest the payments. But given the nature of state and federal laws, he may not have much luck.

Enforcing the law

Haraldson followed his ex-wife up to The Pas, a town in Manitoba, for eight years. It was a move for her career, but things didn't work out. Life brought Haraldson back to South Dakota for the past 19 years.

His 20-year-old daughter, Fern, still lives there with her mother Trudy, Haraldson's ex-wife.

Through the time, he says he's paid $300 a month in child support. His 22-year-old son Joseph, is attending graduate school in Ontario for a master's degree in math and computer science.

Haraldson says he made every child support payment on time, between 1997 and December 2012. But he didn’t realize that Canada’s child support laws do not end, and that he still owed money. That changed when a letter arrived in early October from the state Department of Social Services stating he owed at least $2,700.

He came up with the money in 10 days, but Haraldson said that by then his credit had been damaged by the enforcement action.

A representative of the Department of Social Services says the department is just following the law.

The department must uphold Canadian child support laws due to a federal law known as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, as well as state law, said Kristin Kellar, spokeswoman for the DSS.

Those laws "require states and reciprocating countries to cooperate with each other in child support enforcement and establishment proceedings," Kellar wrote in an email.

The department "must enforce court orders as issued by other states or countries in accordance with the issuing state or reciprocating countries' laws including... court-ordered child support amounts," Kellar said.

It frustrates Haraldson, who as a state employee works on the department's computers.

"What's really difficult for me is, I have to fix the computers of the people who are doing this to me," Haraldson said. "I have to smile and say 'Hi, how are you today? Isn't this lovely?'"

Contact Joe O'Sullivan at 394-8414 or joe.osullivan@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. tipimakr
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    tipimakr - April 10, 2014 5:04 am
    Before moving to another country one should learn about the countries laws, languages and customs...you can bet his ex wife sure knew what she was doing when she moved up north!
  2. ZAR
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    ZAR - April 09, 2014 11:38 pm
    So you think that the disgustingly low amount of $150.00 per child/ month levied on this specimen was without the aid of a lawyer? No way no how!
  3. ZAR
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    ZAR - April 09, 2014 11:34 pm
    Yup! :)
  4. DakotaMom22
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    DakotaMom22 - April 07, 2014 12:04 pm
    Nice to see he's getting just a tiny bit of what he deserves. Life has a funny way of getting back at people.
  5. justice2
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    justice2 - April 06, 2014 3:35 pm

    I think he negotiated this with out an attorney and thought he was getting off easy,it was all about the money with him not what his kids would have.
  6. justice2
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    justice2 - April 06, 2014 3:27 pm
    karma bites,knowing a little about what happened he"s getting what he should , don" t feel to bad for him
  7. Jim Stewart
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    Jim Stewart - April 06, 2014 12:11 pm
    "$300.00 a month? In who's mind is that child support for 2 children in the 21st Century?"

    Why is there any child support for children in their 20's?
  8. Toad
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    Toad - April 06, 2014 9:59 am
    Karma? What the heck is that supposed to mean? The guy paid his support.
  9. ZAR
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    ZAR - April 05, 2014 11:38 pm
    Just asking,
    $300.00 a month? In who's mind is that child support for 2 children in the 21st Century?
  10. Calvin
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    Calvin - April 05, 2014 2:25 pm
    Isn't it wonderful that DSS is so conscientious about enforcing laws of other countries penalizing men? In my personal case my daughter was sexually abused repeatedly by her mothers numerous boyfriends for over a decade, and they wouldn't do a thing about it without physical proof, which of course had to be obtained with the mother's permission. You can guess what she did about granting that permission. And now my daughter wonders why I wouldn't help her. It's time that fathers are legally permitted to do whatever they need to do to prevent this type of abuse!
  11. shoegal
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    shoegal - April 05, 2014 12:11 pm
    What are you talking about Tay. What does Karma have to do with it?
  12. Jim Stewart
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    Jim Stewart - April 05, 2014 9:25 am
    Welcome to a nightmare. Get a copy of of: "Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters" by Helen Smith. Laws on alimony and child support are heavily tilted towards women.
  13. Taydak
    Report Abuse
    Taydak - April 05, 2014 5:06 am
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