Make us your home page

Let's Talk

Connect with

Is the recession affecting your child support payments?



A murder-suicide this week has prompted discussion about whether child support payment disputes were a factor in the tragic end for a Tampa Bay couple. On Monday afternoon, police say Robert Laird shot his ex-wife, Sheryl Laird, set her body on fire and jumped off the tallest span of the Sunshine Skyway to his death.

The couple married in 1998, but divorced in 2006. Those close to Sheryl Laird, 39, knew she had a rocky relationship with her ex-husband.

Their divorce case was re-opened this fall. She wanted $17,880 he owed her in child support payments. The file shows she was asking for sanctions against him, including but not limited to jail time and a suspension of his driving privileges. A hearing was scheduled for tomorrow, Oct. 16.

St. Petersburg Times reporter Andy Boyle is working on a story about how the economic downturn is affecting divorced couples. We're looking for people who have felt some impact of the recession on child support payments. That includes people who receive payments and those who pay.

Are you getting/giving less money because of pay cuts, firings and furloughs? Let us know by e-mailing Andy Boyle:, or by sharing your comments here.

[Last modified: Monday, May 24, 2010 3:58pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours