Lawsuit: Huron County mismanaged former couple's child support payments

Divorced couple seek in excess of $675,000
Aaron Krause
Apr 10, 2013

A divorced couple demands more than $675,000 in damages from county officials in a lawsuit, alleging mismanagement of their child support payments and denial of child support services caused them various "severe injuries and damages."

Dawn Guba, of 1915 S. Bayview, Marblehead and Shawn Ward, 1553 Greenwich Milan Townline Road, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. It was filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.

The defendants are Huron County, Huron County Department of Job and Family Services (HCDJFS), Huron County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) and Jill Nolan, director of HCDJFS.

The plaintiffs' attorneys, Amanda A. Krzystan and Erin N. Cain, demand in "excess of $75,000" on each of nine counts brought against the defendants.

At one point, "without notice, all child support payments stopped as of 2009, without a penny more ever paid to Guba, while Ward was still paying into Huron County and Huron CSEA accounts," the suit claims,

Dawn Guba and Shawn Ward were married in Norwalk on July 1, 1996. After six years of marriage, Guba and Ward filed for divorce in Ingham County, Mich. in 2002. At the time, they entered into child support orders with the Ingham County Circuit Court on Jan. 21, 2003. Three years later, Guba moved to Ottawa County in Ohio.

The former couple tried to obtain child support services from HCDJFS and HURON CSEA "to register the foreign child support order."

Guba and Ward "sought the assistance of Huron County and Huron CSEA to transfer the Ingham County, Mich. Child Support Order to Huron County and Huron CSEA."

On May 2, 2006, Huron County Common Pleas Court ordered the child support arrangement to be transferred from Ingham County to Huron County. From that day until Sept. 5, 2006, "the parties were receiving the services provided by Huron County and Huron CSEA without issue."

However, the lawsuit alleges that "apparently, and without the knowledge of either Guba or Ward, the May 2, 2006 order entered by Huron County Common Pleas Court was incorrectly filed and thereby unenforceable."

The lawsuit goes on to say that "in an effort to correct the misfiled May 2, 2006 order," HCDJFS legal advisor Heather Carman "filed a motion to vacate the child support order in place between the parties on Nov. 18, 2008.

"Interestingly, Carman then filed another motion on Nov. 19, 2008 stating that, while the foreign child support orders from Ingham County were permanently transferred to Huron County, the modification of same was overlooked, needing to now be addressed by the court, more than two years after the initial filing of the foreign support order which was previously accepted by Huron County. Neither party was made aware of the filing of these motions, nor was notice of any hearing relative to the child support order forwarded to Guba and/or Ward."

On Dec. 1, 2008, "defendant Carman filed a third motion with the Huron County Common Pleas Court without ever giving notice to either Guba and/or Ward, requesting to modify and vacate the registered foreign support order."

The lawsuit accuses Carman of certifying that verified statements by Guba were attached for the court's review. However, "Guba never once signed a verification statement agreeing to modification and/or review of the current child support orders.

"More than six months after Carman filed her request to modify and vacate the registered foreign support order, the court denied same on May 7, 2009 for lack of prosecution."

On that same day, the court denied Carman's motion to modify the registered foreign support order, "stating Huron County, Huron County CSEA, Nolan and Carman had never entered such an order, therefore no order existed for modification."

The lawsuit contents that Carman never provided the court with information about Ward and Guba's income, the availability and accessibility of private health care coverage "or any other information that would enable the court to calculate a fair and reasonable child support amount by the parties."

The defendants' "lack of communication with both Guba and Ward relative to their back door actions to correct their blatant mistakes as it relates to Guba and Ward's child support orders led to the denial of the May 7, 2009 motion to modify," the lawsuit alleges. "While (the defendants) were attempting to correct their dishonest practices without Guba or Ward's knowledge, Guba and Ward continuously called Carman, Nolan, Huron County, HCDJFS, Huron CSEA and Stacey Radar on numerous occasions to inquire as to the lack of funds being forwarded to Guba in accordance with the child support order."

Specifically, the plaintiffs tried to call the defendants "on at least 30 separate occasions, all the while being told that there was nothing that could be done for either Guba or Ward. Incredulously, on one occasion, Carman advised Guba that the county was unwilling to help either Guba or Ward due to the county's 'dislike' for the parties."

"Our instructions (from legal counsel) are to make no comments because of litigation," Huron County Commissioner Gary Bauer said. He referred questions to HCDJFS.

HCDJFS director Jill Nolan said she's been advised by the department's attorney not to speak about the case.

"We are confident in our dictation and we have payment records available," she said, adding they've been sent to the former couple's attorney.

Nolan said she received a copy of the lawsuit on March 25 via certified mail and the attorneys "will be in conversations" about the case.

On each of the counts, the lawsuit states that "as a direct and proximate result of the defendants' actions, Guba and Ward have suffered severe injuries and damages, including, but not limited to mental anguish, denial of social pleasures and enjoyment, embarrassment, humiliation and mortification, aggravation of current financial obligations, punitive damages and any and all injuries or damages learned throughout the course of discovery."

Comments

Heitsche23

"suffered severe injuries and damages." are you kidding me? "denial of social pleasures and enjoyment." "embarrassment." what are you embarrassed about? I would be more embarrassed about filing for divorce because then everyone knows you couldn't make your marriage last! get real! this has to be one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard. I can understand the fact that you weren't getting money that was supposedly being paid to you, but I can't see where you would've suffered "severe injuries and damages."

Kelly

Really? You have no idea what they went through or how it affected their daily living.

onegirlarmy

That's exactly right!
I raised 3 kids on my own all the while fighting for child support.
I even went to the extent of dropping $50,000 of the debt for my ex because he would tell them it was my and their fault he was in jail.
I was greatful to have a good job but...
Nobody knows how we struggled and the courts and the state don't care.
I love my kids more than life so....
It was easier for me to just work like a dog and raise/support them myself than to fight a broken system.
It will not only make you crazy but leave you broke too if you let it.
I can bet they probably owe me too seeing I never did get support.
Good Luck to the family and never forget...
"Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world."

Brock Lee

only lawers gettin rich on this

jack langhals

You got that right.The judges and lawyers have destroyed this country.

245admend

I do not like the fact that only CASH can be given in Huron Co to Child Support, if you loose your receipt, it was never paid! Try and find cash like a needle in a haystack, maybe if payments were paid by money orders or checks the opportunity for missing cash would be eliminated. I would like a traceable payment, like money order or check, if they are bad, add the fines for NSF, or Bad Check to person paying!

LifeIsCrazy

You can pay by check or money order - you just have to mail it in to the state instead of the county.

SoldOnAcorns

Denial of social pleasures and enjoyment = Dawn couldn't hit the Islands and party with her gal pals as often as she liked ! Lol !

YAWWNN

Apparently you know her too. She is never so unhappy that she can't head to the islands every weekend and party. She isn't living like a pauper either.

mamabear123

What does that have to do with Huron County not doing their job???

SoldOnAcorns

Part of the lawsuit claims "Denial of enjoyment & social pleasure". She is denied of neither, that's what it has to do with ! READ !

mamabear123

I did read it. Why do you feel the need to bash her? She isn't the only one in the lawsuit and there is more to the lawsuit then what you are negatively talking about. Maybe she went out with friends or family at paid. Were you there? Comment on the whole lawsuit. As a mother that does not get child support I feel for her and the system is screwed up for both the mother and the father!!!!

SoldOnAcorns

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

mamabear123

Grow up-maybe if you didn't get money that was owed to you you would be a little upset.

haterwalkme

I too want to know why u can not pay with a check or money order? and u have to have the right amont because the don't give change.and if u get any kind of help like food stamps or mec. the one that pays child support is going to owe the state or county more than the child support.so I do think hcs needs to look at more than this case .and don't go out there and ask for any thing saying u don't owe anymore child support they will not give it to u or u will be ask to leave for causeing trouble.

betrump

Try again in English, please. I have no idea what you're trying to say.

pjonut2007

Guess i should have sued them when they managed to lose records of $10,000 I was owed in back support during a system change over. When I provided them the old system print outs they came up with some lame excuse and refused to discuss it further. I never pursued it because he was paying on a regular basis by then and wasn't paying for an attorney. They definitely are quite crooked and very inefficient. I believe they are under different management since my particular incident, but it was about the same time frame. I didn't however suffer any humiliation or loss of social pleasures.

citizen4change

HCJFS does whatever it wants to do and whenever it wants to do it. The child support division is the worst of them all. The people who run that place (Lenny) have NO CLUE on how to do their job. Its sad to say this but all the money this man has paid into the system him or his ex wife will never see a dime of it. You can bet your a$$ that the officials involved with this are leeping through hoops right now trying to cover up whatever they did wrong. You can count on that.

pptrsha

erie county is the same.....were they caused embarrassment because they had to get food stamps to help feed their kids since they weren't getting child support???? I UNDERSTAND!! erie county gave me one tax return of my ex husbands in 18 years. when he had another child in 95 the mother and child received help, they should have received his return or used it to repay the county because it took them a long time to go to court. he owed them a large amount. I let him claim our kids for a larger refund and no one knows where that money went.....neither set of children saw a nickel...

Kelly

I'd like to see the houses and cars of the those in charge. The money had to go somewhere.

Grandpa04

I think the county should pay all damages. this man paid, the county caused alot of greif!

mamabear123

What she does on her own time is her business. The fact of the matter is that Huron County did not do their job. It is sad that people cant see that.

SoldOnAcorns

Then don't claim in your lawsuit that you were denied enjoyment & social pleasures. She goes out of her way to achieve both ! Derby day is right around the corner ! Hang in there honey, enjoyment & social pleasure season is nye !

mamabear123

Your a real piece of work. Why don't you ask her how many times she went to the islands instead of hiding behind some screen name on the Norwalk reflector. HATER!!

SoldOnAcorns

Dawn...How many times did you go to The Islands ? Did you pay for all the trips yourself ? Inquiring minds would like to know. How's that haterade taste grammabear ? Bahahahaha !

luvblues2

The Judges are spending a dollar to save a dime. That IS IGNORANT. Not to mention it's against the law they claim to uphold!

mamabear123

You can say what you want everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I was just stating mine. Keeping her legs closed has nothing to do with Huron County Child Support not collecting the money.Done with this conversation.

SoldOnAcorns

Don't have kids and get divorced then you won't have to deal with the County, issue solved :D

onegirlarmy

No one is as good as "SoldOnAcorns!!!
SHUT THE HELLUP!
completely ignorant!

SoldOnAcorns

Hahaha ! You go that right my nizzle, except for the ignorant portion of your statement ! Who's your baby Daddy darlin ?

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