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A New Jersey man who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot will now have enough money to pay his past-due child support.
It can't be all good news for lotto winner Pedro Quezada. After he made headlines for his big win, the Passaic County Sheriff's Office stated that the man owed $29,000 in child support, reports The Record.
The 44-year-old Quezada is the father of five children ranging in age from 5 to 23. It's likely that the $29,000 will be taken from his lottery winnings automatically; if so, Quezada likely will not see too big of a dent in the amount he receives.
Quezada chose the "lump sum" option, and will receive about $152 million after taxes. That means his past-due child support represents just 0.2% of his net winnings.
Authorities in Passaic County said that if Quezada does not pay the back child support, he could face jail time. But that likely won't happen, as the New Jersey Division of Lottery generally satisfies court judgments before releasing checks to lottery winners, reports The Record.
Quezada's unpaid child support reportedly dates back to 2009, and the sheriff's office indicates that the warrant is several years old. However, it is not clear which children are covered by the warrant.
Generally, there are several ways that the government can enforce child support orders. This can include garnishing wages, seizing property, and even intercepting tax refunds. The government typically needs a court order before taking any of these acts.
In the case of the lottery winner, the government may essentially garnish his winnings and treat them like wages.
State laws generally regulate the rules and procedures for garnishing wages. The laws may specify how much of the worker's earnings may be garnished, and the interest that gets added to missed payments. The laws typically also specify which types of earnings are subject to garnishment. This likely includes lottery winnings.