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Ex-Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh insists he’s not trying to stop paying child support

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh

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Updated: March 13, 2013 6:24AM

After insisting he wasn’t a “deadbeat dad” throughout his failed campaign for re-election, ex-U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh is still dogged by questions about child support.

Walsh, a flame-throwing Tea Party Republican who was trying to land a radio deal and last week announced he was forming a new conservative SuperPAC, filed court papers seeking to end his obligation to pay $2,134 per month in child support.

But once again, Walsh insists he’s no deadbeat.

Both he and his attorney say that since he is no longer employed as a congressman, they want to “modify” the previous agreement so that he pays 20 percent of his current salary.

Walsh is not currently employed and has no salary. But that could change, he said.

“I’m working on it,” he said.

But an attorney for Walsh’s ex-wife said that the former congressman is behind on child support payments that were dictated under a previous court order and that Walsh’s ex-wife was taken by surprise by a Feb. 1 court filing that asks “to terminate child support obligation,” saying Walsh “is without sufficient income or assets with which to continue to pay his support obligation.”

“This is the first communication we’ve received from the congressman; she had no information prior to receiving this filing in the mail that he was going to seek,” said Jack Coladarci, an attorney for Walsh’s ex-wife. “He did not pay January and he has not paid February support… You still have to keep paying until the judge says you can stop.”

Walsh’s court filing states: “Joe’s employment has been terminated through no voluntary act of his own and he is without sufficient income or assets with which to continue to pay his support obligation. Due to a substantial change in circumstances, Joe requests that his child support obligation be terminated based on his present income and circumstances.”

But Walsh insists he’s not trying to get out of paying anything.

He said the key part of the filing comes at the end; when it asks that the court “modify Joe’s child support obligation to a sum equal to 20 percent of his net income until the minor child graduates from high school in 2013.”

Asked why the motion was titled “motion to terminate child support,” Walsh’s lawyer, Janet Boyle, characterized the title to the motion, which Walsh signed, as misleading.

“It probably should have been a motion to modify, that’s probably what I would have captioned it. My office used a word that is getting turned around here,” Boyle said. “That’s what we’re asking for, a modification, whether that’s modified to zero or some other number has yet to be seen.”

In an interview, Walsh characterized the filing as routine and said he has no intention of backing down from paying child support payments.

“What I did was what every divorced father is supposed to do,” when a father’s employment changes. “My ex-wife’s child support payment was taken out of my paycheck,” Walsh said. “I don’t know what that will be yet,” Walsh said of what he will pay going forward. “But whatever I make these next four months will go by law to my youngest child.”

“I have paid child support ... through the end of my congressional payment,” Walsh said. “I received a check, and so my ex-wife would have received 20 or 28 percent of that. She received her normal payment. They took it out of my check, they took it out of my check in January.”

Walsh provided pay stubs to the Sun-Times. One shows that there was a $2,134 deduction for the pay period ending Dec. 31. However, Coladarci said that reflects the payment for December, not January. A pay stub from Walsh dated Feb. 1, does not show such a transfer.

“Nobody’s saying he’s not going to pay anything,” Boyle said. “All we are saying is that Mr. Walsh’s circumstances have changed and he, like every other father in the state, is entitled to seek a modification ... If he doesn’t make any more money for the next four months, why would he continue paying $2,134?”

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