Lufkin resident James Cook said that he is flat out angry after being robbed by the state of Missouri. In 2005, Cook split from his first wife. After a nasty battle his ex-wife managed to sign over custody of their daughter to her daughter from a previous marriage. The court then ordered Cook to pay $473 a month in child support and back child support of $7000.
"When the children were still minors they did take my income takes for two years in a row to clear up what I did owe. I was late because they file for some AFDC and I finally paid that off," Cook said.
Oddly enough, in December of last year he got a letter from the Missouri child support department stating that a $100 a month would be deducted from his account as of January 2014 owed to his youngest daughter.
On March 10, the department took an additional $4500 from Cook's account for a prefigured amount of $21,000. Cook said things just don't add up.
"She found a loop whole in the system to un-emancipate an emancipated child just to go after me for money for a child that wasn't living with her to begin with and was living with someone else, who has a child and was living on their own," Cook said.
When Cook explained the situation to Missouri's child support department he got this response.
"They said I was screwed," Cook said.
That's what Cook said they told him over the phone. East Texas News reached out to the state of Missouri child support department to clear up this response and this is what they had to say.
"Federal and state laws prohibits release of information specific to a case or an individual outside the administration of the child support program. Missouri law provides the opportunity for an administrative hearing if the obligor on the case disagrees with an enforcement action taken," Spokesperson said Rebecca Woelfel.
Thursday morning, Anna Sanders reached out to East Texas News with her side of the story.
Sanders, who had legal custody of Cook's daughters, disputed Cook's version of what happened. She said that she had the case reopened because Cook failed to comply with court orders. Sanders explained that in 2008, the state of Missouri order Cook to pay a sum of $7,455 in back child support in addition to monthly payments of $946 in child support to her until 2010.
The documentation that Cook gave to East Texas News that showed a zero balance was a receipt for money he owed in back child support. Sanders further explained that once he paid his back child support, he was caught up with the state, but he then failed to continue his child support payments.
At the time, Sander said that she did not think anything of it. In October of 2013, Sanders came across the court order when moving, and upon reviewing it, she realized that Sanders failed to comply fully with the court orders and had the case reopened to be reevaluated. Sanders said justice is being served.