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Frequently Asked Questions
Athena Collects is a tech company that has been created to help women collect their unpaid child support. We are not a government agency, a collection agency, or a law firm. Athena Collects was founded by Simone Spence, a mom, who had a collection problem of her own and learned how to navigate the system more than 20 years ago to collect her arrears. We know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of non-payment of child support and it is our mission to help other women to do the same by removing obstacles that stand between them and collecting their child support.
We start by gathering information about you, the payor, and your child support case. We all know that unless you know where the payor lives and where his assets are, your chances of collecting anything at all are slim. Once we’ve collected the information we need, we locate the payor and his assets, then generate the state-specific legal documents that you need to file with the court to place liens on and seize the assets that we have found.
Athena Collects has been designed for the overwhelmed and overbusy mom so once you are onboard you do not need to do anything else until we provide documents for you to file. We believe in transparency, so you can log into your dashboard at any time to see where you are in the process. When you receive your documents from us you will also receive clear step by step instructions and we stay with you every step of the way – all the way through to collections.
Our premium package, Athena Gold, is $1,200, all-inclusive.
Yes. We have a 100% guarantee that if we can’t help you, we will refund any installment payments that you have made minus service fees that we pay to perform the service for you.
No. Suspending or temporarily making your account inactive will close your account with us. If an unplanned event, for example a job loss or medical emergency, makes you unable to make your monthly payments on time, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your specific circumstances.
We recommend using autopay for your Athena Collects account installments so that you never miss a payment.
With our auto-pay feature payments will be withdrawn from your bank account, debit card, or prepaid card automatically on a set date each month.
If you have opened a Athena Collects account and you believe you will be unable to make consistent monthly payments on-time, we recommend you close your account and try again when your financial circumstances improve. Once we start location proceedings and asset searching, we are “on the clock”, meaning that the information that we find is current and we will rely on that to help you to collect what’s rightfully yours. Waiting means that we must start the process over again because the payor could have relocated, and his financial circumstances could have changed.
This can be changed in your dashboard.
We can help moms in all 50 states. We are not currently available in the U.S. territories.
First, thank you for trusting Athena Collects to help you to collect your unpaid child support. Here’s what you should expect:
- After you register, you will walk through our onboarding process so we can collect the necessary information on your case and the parties involved. Once you have provided what we need to get started, we begin the process of locating the payor, his assets and generating the documents that you will need along the way to collect what you are rightfully owed.
- Within about 30 days we will know whether we have a location “hit” on the payor. This means that we will know if we have a current address that can be used, which is a requirement.
- If we have a hit, then we can move onto the next step which will depend on the details of your case.
- We continue in this step by step process navigating your case. The steps that we take depend on the complexity of your case itself; that’s where our expertise helping moms collect on unpaid child support for the last 20 years comes in.
- We will keep you informed every step of the way. Some steps will take time either because they are complex or because you are waiting for a court response. Other steps will be quicker.
*Note. Remember the most important part of your collection journey is to remain steadfast. We know this because we’ve been where you are today. You cannot “take a break” from the platform or you will have to start over from the beginning, and every milestone that you pass increases your chances of collecting. Remember, if you cannot make it past a milestone, we will let you know. For example, if we find the payor – that’s a milestone and that means that you are closer to collecting. If we cannot find him, we let you know because you cannot move on to our next step.
We will also do our best to move you through the court system as quickly as possible based on two decades of experience, but unfortunately, at times it can be a frustrating process that takes time. Each court system decides how many days it takes to process their paperwork and the law dictates how long a respondent has to respond to paperwork received. At times there can be a bit of “back and forth” and that requires patience on your end. Additionally, most courts are not automated so there is also human error which may affect your case. Remain confident that you now have decades of experience on your side and we know how to navigate these problems. Just keep in mind that in mind and remain calm. Remind yourself that you are on the right path.
When you start to collect depends on the details of your case, how quickly we can find the payor and assets that belong to the payor. Based on our work with moms over the last twenty years, depending on the complexity of your case you can expect to receive payment as soon as 5-6 months after beginning our process, but this is case-dependent and not a guarantee. For more complex cases involving several assets, it may take longer.
We notify you immediately. We know that you have probably been waiting for this for a long time and we don’t keep you in the dark. Depending on the specifics of your own case, we will then begin to generate documents for you, or we will immediately begin the next step which is asset searching.
We notify you immediately. Document generation then begins so that liens can be placed on the assets that have been found.
Sometimes we will not be able to find payors, or we might not be able to find any assets. In those cases, we will not be able to help you. If this happens, we will promptly refund any installment fees that you have paid minus nominal transaction costs we are charged to provide this service to you. Our goal is for you to keep as much money in your pocket as possible to care for your family, so if we can’t help, we will let you know immediately.
I founded Athena Collects after having to navigate this process myself. I was owed thousands of dollars and it took me many months to finally receive it to be able to support my daughter. It is infuriating and unjust to not get paid what is rightfully yours and your child’s, and then have to deal with scammers or predatory fees. I have written three child support collection books to make this process as transparent and easy for moms as possible, and we are on a mission to take the $118 B owed in child support down to zero.
If you are owed unpaid child support, you have three options: 1) Work with an attorney. Pay an upfront retainer and additional fees for private investigation. 2) Work with your local child support enforcement agency. 3) Work with a collection agency that will take 35%-55% of what they collect as their fee. 4) Represent yourself by navigating the system on your own. Athena Collects is a new option – a self-guided solution that allows you to represent yourself and supports you along the way with investigations and your forms generated for you – state-specific and customized. Let us help you to collect what’s rightfully yours.
We know that all states offer child support collection services that are free for most women. But we also know that those services were not designed to help with all types of child support collection cases. In other words – those who are willing and who acknowledge having the ability to pay. If this sounds like you and your case, we encourage you to explore these options first.
The amount of money that it costs to retain an attorney is out of reach for many women waiting to collect their child support arrears, especially when the cost to hire a private investigator to locate the payor and his assets are added to the bill. Athena Collects is not a substitute for an attorney.
There are also other private services that provide child support collection services. We consider them to be as predatory as the payday loan market, as they take between 34%-55% of all that they collect, and they take it off the top. In other words, they pay themselves first.
Collecting your child support is a process that must be done through the court system. As with all court processes it takes time. Time to receive documents that you will send to them, time to process the documents received and days in-between to ensure that all parties have had time to receive documents and to act on them if an action is needed. One example is when you must serve the other parent with a notice of demand to pay – a fruitless action because they ignore the notice more than 90% of the time but it’s a necessary less step, nonetheless. That action alone has a 30-day waiting period for the payor to respond before you can take the next step. With child support enforcement cases at times there are other case complexities such as when one of the parents has moved from the originating state. None of these stages can be moved along faster despite the frustrating process. Add in locating the payor and the payors assets and the process can take upwards of a year. We inform moms on our platform to expect a 12-month process, although most will begin to see some collections coming in well before that time. Collections usually begin after month 5 – after we have filed all initial forms (getting you set-up) and we have found dad and his assets.
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