Jamie Allard called Dan Fagan this morning with a story that Anchorage Mayoral candidate Mike Robbins had a lien against him for back child support. A last-minute charge like this is usually pretty significant in any political campaign. She said on the air that it was easily findable in Court View.
Turns out, this didn’t come from Court View. Rather, it resides in DNR, specifically the Recorder’s Office. It took a little while to chase the documents down. There are two of them. One places the lien on Feb 6, 2020. The other removes it on July 23, 2020. Note that the recorder has another 33 release of lien documents with that date and different names, indicating completion of a batch process.
A short discussion with Mike Robbins this morning said that not only were there no outstanding liens associated with back child support, but his unending commitment to do the right thing and pay his obligations in a timely manner, which he seems to be doing. Being a fellow survivor of the Divorce Wars, I get it.
From here, it appears that Mike Robbins is not behind on child support at all. It also appears that the Child Support Services Division of the State of Alaska uses liens as their favorite hammer. And they use that hammer early and often.
The other thing that Child Support Services Division does is periodically recalculate obligations. If that recalculation results in a parent with an overpayment, the first thing they know about it is a check in the mail from the State of Alaska. If the result is an underpayment, the first thing they know about it is generally a lien on their property. As I understand it, the parent is never part of the deliberations, recalculations, cutting the check, or imposing penalties, which is an awful way to do business. Sadly, it is what we’ve come to expect in the world of child support obligations in the State of Alaska.
My conclusion? The Divorce Wars are truly awful. Administering the obligations following the dissolution needs to be done some way other than a completely opaque black box, where the inner machinations are never visible to any of the participants. The State can do better. It must do better.
And to use this sort of personal tragedy as the basis of a last-minute charge in a political campaign is something we need to really make sure we on the political right are not doing.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.