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Probe: March 8, 2002

March 08, 2002

QUESTION: I am separated from my husband and had been receiving child support since early last fall. He moved out of state in December. Since then I have not received a dime.

When he calls the phone number comes up "unknown" on caller ID. He would not tell me where he is, just bragged he has two good-paying jobs.

He has no bills, nothing in his name, uses a relative's car. I have his address but the post office says he gets no mail at his address.

He told me he is untouchable. I am starting to believe he is. Help! — Abandoned Wife, Brawley

Your husband sounds like a scofflaw burying himself so deep in a dung hill he may end up living underground the rest of his life.

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Someday he may want to buy his own car and maybe a house, but by then he'll owe you thousands of dollars and that will wreck any credit he hopes to build.

QUESTION: From time to time my ex-husband claims he's unemployed. The county family support office accepts the lie and attaches his unemployment check. When he's not "unemployed" he sends an extra $100 each month. It sounds great but he sends the extra money because he owes me $10,000 in back child support.

He is never unemployed. He owns a business with a silent partner, two full-time employees and one part-time employee. I gave the district attorney the fictitious name statement for his business and urged the district attorney to open a fraud case. I have a feeling nothing is going to happen. I guess I have to figure out another way to make this guy a responsible father. — Disgusted Ex, El Centro

You will never make that jerk a responsible father. Just hope your children's father doesn't end up in prison. If you are right that he claims to be unemployed while working at his own business, he's ripping off the state as well as his children.

One of these days he may end up with some assets. If he does, hire a lawyer and sue him. You could end up with a business and anything else he owns.

NOT TOO LATE — If the man who is having trouble with his car still has a new car warranty, it may not be too late to implement the lemon law.

My car had a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty that had all but expired when I hired a lemon law attorney in San Diego. Within three weeks he got me a settlement for the return of my down payment and every payment I had made. It added up to $18,000.

I bought the car new. The problems started on the way home. The electric window wouldn't come down. The air conditioner broke three times and the brakes went out twice in 20,000 miles. It repeatedly stalled and the dealer couldn't fix it.

I had all my invoices and I kept records of the breakdowns.

The attorney took the case on contingency. He didn't get paid until I collected. In all he got $3,200. Tell that man to call me and I will give him the name of the attorney. — Satisfied Client, Imperial

OK, if that unhappy car owner will call us, we'll pass on your phone number so you can put him on to the attorney.

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