David Thomson had provided proof he made all his payments, but the probation service wouldn’t accept the evidence.
But the judge ruled in his favor.
“The judge was very gracious and apologized on behalf of the system,” Thomson said when he left the courtroom. “He said I was totally blameless and had proved there was no alimony arrears.”
“[The judge] was working to try and have Probation avoid these situations in future,” Thomson said.
The dispute began in May when Thomson received a letter from the probation department, which manages garnishments for alimony payments.
The letter said there was no record of Thomson’s final garnished payment of $1,250, which was due Nov. 30, 2010.
Eight years ago.
Thompson kept records of the $450,000 in alimony payments he made over 15 years. Court documents show he was released from the payments when he retired in 2010.
Hoping he could make the problem go away easily, he showed Probation his evidence: a pay stub dated Nov. 30, 2010, that clearly showed his pay was garnished $1,250.
But Probation said it couldn’t accept the evidence, Thomson said.
“To come to someone after eight years and say we have a missing payment… then I give evidence and they won’t accept the evidence? That’s absurd,” Thomson told Bamboozled. “They are insisting I must pay again, and are threatening me with court action, payment of outstanding interest on the money since 2010, and a lien.”
One official told him to check with his employer to find out where the money went, Thomson said. But his employer went out of business several years before, so that wasn’t an option.
Then Thomson said another Probation representative suggested the employer returned the money to Thomson. That didn’t happen, Thomson said.
Next he tried the court’s ombudsman, who Thomson said told him this has happened before in Morris County and he had two choices: either get his ex-wife to agree to release him from the payment, or file a motion, show his evidence and hope the judge would set aside the order.
Thomson’s ex lives overseas, so he chose to see a judge. He paid $50 and got a court date, July 6.
We reached out to the court to learn more.
It said Thomson got the notice because they occasionally review old cases but it offered no remedy for Thomson.
So he waited for his court date.
“Thank you for your considerable part in this result, which the judge referred to,” Thomson said.
Thomson wants people to remember they should always keep records of court-ordered payments, no matter how many years pass.
Smart advice, indeed.
One added note: Thomson’s $50 court fee was refunded to him on the day our initial story appeared.