Friday, April 12, 2019
From Fox News:
Twin brothers in Brazil are being forced to each pay child support after a paternity test was unable to confirm who the father of a newborn baby is.
The identical twins refused to admit who the father of the baby girl was in an attempt to avoid making support payments. After additional DNA testing was done and returned inconclusive, a judge made the decision to hold them both accountable for supporting the child.
The brothers, whose identities remain anonymous, have been using their physical similarities to trick women into thinking they were the other person.
“They each used the other’s name, either to attract as many women as possible or to hide betrayal in their relationships,” the ruling judge wrote in a statement.
Read more here.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Anthem Indiana Joins Indiana Legal Services to Provide Medicaid Consumers Access to Free Legal Services
From The Associated Press:
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Indiana (Anthem) today announced the launch of a new medical-legal partnership pilot with Indiana Legal Services to improve the health and quality of life of Medicaid consumers in Central Indiana through free legal assistance. This first-of-its-kind partnership will offer legal counseling for issues with housing and utilities, income support, education and employment and family law, including guardianship, child support, child welfare and custody.
The program will be available to all Central Indiana Medicaid consumers, including those in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), Hoosier Healthwise, Hoosier Care Connect and traditional Fee-For-Service.
“This program exemplifies Anthem’s commitment to not only providing healthcare services but also looking for innovative programs that help address other issues that impact health and quality of life,” said Dr. Kimberly Roop, Medicaid plan president at Anthem Indiana. “We know Medicaid consumers have a broad range of civil legal needs and providing access to attorney services will help remove a social barrier to their overall well-being.”
Read more here.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
From Lawyers.com (Gerard F. Miles):
Couples going through a divorce are amid one of life’s most stressful episodes. When there is a pregnancy involved, the emotions and tension are amplified. When a baby is on the way, an already difficult situation becomes even more complicated. During a typical divorce, emotions run high as each decision and agreement are legally formalized. It can be dizzying for anyone trying to prepare themselves for the next phase of their life; one without their spouse. When a pregnancy is involved, a child brings the concerns for an additional person into the mix.
Working Together to Be Apart
Divorcing couples may benefit from an intermediary who can help to fairly divide their marital assets. Beyond that, a counselor may be able to help both divorcing parents remain focused on the future needs of the baby, who will surely benefit most from a peaceful and well-considered parental breakup.
Parents want the best for their children, and children fare much better in life when their parents work together to address their needs. Often, these needs are best assessed even before the baby arrives. Typically, parents planning for a baby discuss all aspects of preparations. This is crucial in instances where co-parents will be living separately. In these cases, it is worthwhile to come up with a parenting plan.
Read more here.
Monday, January 14, 2019
From Feldesman, Tucker, Leifer, and Fidell:
There are few absolutes in the world of divorce, but the unyielding nature of the obligation to make court-ordered child support and alimony payments is one of them. The failure to do so can have dire consequences – the possibility of jail time, a requirement to pay your ex-spouse’s attorney’s fees, garnishment of future pay and liens on assets, revocation of your driver’s license, and a negative impact on your professional and personal reputation, to name a few.
So if you are one of the many who is experiencing a loss of income due to the government shutdown and you have legally-enforceable support obligations, what are your options?
First, the worst thing to do – just stop paying without any advance notice. This leaves you exposed to accumulating arrearages, on which interest will begin to accumulate. Plus, it makes it impossible for your ex-spouse to plan how to meet the financial needs of the children who are, after all, your children as well.
Read more here.
Monday, October 15, 2018
From Times Live:
A top Durban businessman on Monday began serving an effective four and half years' prison sentence after being criminally convicted of failing to pay spousal and child maintenance.
Krugersdorp magistrate Abdul Khan also attached his assets‚ the sale of which will enable his ex-wife to recover the more than R1-million she is owed.
Legal experts said this was one of the toughest sentences they have heard of for a criminal contravention of the Maintenance Act - which are usually handled through alternative dispute resolution.
Read more here
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Are you divorced and have been called to active duty with the military? If so, there are several factors to consider when it comes to paying your child support. The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSE) works with active duty parents to ensure that the child support remains paid in full and on time.
A few aspects to be aware of include:
- If you pay child support and the payments are withheld directly from your paycheck, the CSE can transfer the income withholding from your civilian employer to the Department of Defense (DFAS) so that your child support will be deducted from your military pay. There may be some delay before the income withholding at DFAS goes into effect.
- Your monthly income may be greatly reduced after a call to military duty. The change in income may justify a change in the amount of the child support order. Only a court can modify the amount of your child support order; however DOR can assist you in asking the court for a reduction.
Read more here.
Friday, August 10, 2018
From USA Today:
The "Two and a Half Men" star, 52, filed requests to modify his child support payments to ex-wives Denise Richards and Brooke Mueller, the news sites report. Sheen shares twin sons, 9, with Mueller, to whom he was married between 2008 and 2011; and daughters Sam, 14, and Lola, 13, with Richards. That marriage lasted from 2002 to 2006.
The documents also reportedly reveal Sheen's reasoning behind his “dire financial crisis" with less than $10 million to his name.
Read more here.
Monday, October 30, 2017
Parents will no longer be able to use a legal loophole to avoid paying child maintenance, under new laws to be brought in within months.
If a parent owes maintenance, payment can currently be taken only from a bank account held solely by them.
A "small minority" are avoiding payments by having a joint account with a partner, the government says.
It says new rules mean money can be taken from joint accounts, which could mean an extra £390,000 being collected.
Read more here.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
From ABC 12 News:
A renewed effort is underway by fathers in this state to get a law passed allowing equal custody for both parents during a divorce.
"When you go through a divorce you split everything down the middle, why is it when you have a child you can split custody and time with that child,” asked Noel Geren, 37.
He and his infant daughter are inseparable but Geren said he does not get to see his 10-year-old son from his first marriage as often as he'd like.
"I've been seeking more time with my son for the last four years and I've spent upwards of $80,000," he explained.
Geren is now among the vocal supporters of Texas House Bill 453, authored by State Rep. James White, R-Woodville, which would give mothers and fathers equal custody during a divorce.
"If this bill passes you're going in there at an equal advantage with the other person," added Geren. "It doesn't touch on any child support. It doesn't touch on anything that would be detrimental to the child. It's still left in the courts hands on what they want to do."
If parents reach a custody agreement before arriving in a family court, judges simply approve it. But more often, mothers win custody which leaves fathers only with visitation. House Bill 453 could change the starting point in family courts giving both parents equal custody from the beginning.
At least five states already have similar laws. But since custody cases are often messy and each one is unique, a former family law judge says the legislature should not mandate what to do with children.
Read more here.
Friday, December 2, 2016
From The Indiana Lawyer:
A divided Court of Appeals panel has affirmed an order requiring a non-biological father to pay child support for his wife’s child, finding that because the man supported the child throughout his life, he is legally estopped from challenging the child support order.
Shortly after his marriage to Ronnie Sheetz in 2002, Benjamin Sheetz was sent to prison. While he was incarcerated, Ronnie Sheetz became pregnant by another man. Together the couple agreed to tell people that she had become pregnant during a conjugal visit, that she would not tell the biological father about the child and that they would raise the baby together as their own.
When the baby was born, Benjamin Sheetz signed the birth certificate as the father and told his wife not to contact the biological father, seek support from him or institute paternity proceedings. When Ronnie Sheetz filed for divorce in May 2014, she claimed that her first child and her other two children with her husband were all children of the marriage. Benjamin Sheetz was ordered to pay child support for all three, and he did not object.
However, Ronnie Sheetz eventually told her first child that Benjamin Sheetz was not his biological father. The Adams Circuit Court subsequently entered findings that concluded that Benjamin Sheetz was “estopped from denying his obligations to (the child)” because “(t)o hold otherwise would be unjust” and “an injustice to a young man who was led to believe that (Benjamin was) his father when he is not.”
Read more here.
Friday, October 14, 2016
From The Huffington Post:
- How is it determined? Child support in California is based on a statewide guideline. The formula by which it is determined is rather complex. As a result, it is usually calculated by attorneys using one of a few computer programs licensed by companies that provide legal research software. The calculation is based upon the number of children, the income of each of the parents, the timeshare that each parent has custody, their tax filing status, and their tax-deductible expenses;
- Is there a dollar limit on the amount of support that one can be ordered to pay? Unlike some states, California does not provide for a cap in the amount of support to be ordered. The guideline calculation is the presumptively legal calculation in most cases. There are some very limited instances when the court can deviate from this, discussed below.
- What happens if the calculation generates an amount that is clearly higher than what is necessary to raise a child? The guideline calculation may or may not generate such a result. What is necessary to raise a child varies on a case-by-case basis. The law provides that a child is entitled to have a lifestyle commensurate with that of his or her parents. For this reason, a child support calculation that improves the lifestyle of the lower income parent is often upheld by the court. In those instances when the child support amount is so excessive that it bears no reasonable relationship to either the lifestyle of the parents or the amount of support required to raise a child commensurate with that lifestyle, the court may deviate from the guideline.
Read the answers and more here.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
2 year statute of limitations applies to set aside a paternity and child support order, even if fraud exists.
2 Year Statute of Limitations Still Applies in Fraudulent Paternity Suit
From Missouri Divorce and Family Law:
Mother and Father (T.B.) had a baby in 2000. Mother told T.B. he was the father, and he signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity. The Family Support Division made an administrative determination that T.B. was the legal father, and ordered T.B. to pay child support for the child in February 2001.
Sometime prior to June 2010, to clear her conscience, Mother told T.B. that he was not the biological father. Father filed a declaration of non-paternity on August 27, 2012. He attached a DNA test report showing he was not the biological father of the child. T.B. sought relief under Rule 74.06(d), asserting that Mother had perpetuated fraud against him by making false statements to him that he was the biological father when she knew he wasn’t.
The trial court concluded that T.B.’s right to bring an action for extrinsic fraud was foreclosed by the statutory time limit for him to contest paternity, which had run.
Read more here.
Monday, April 4, 2016
From New Jersey Law Journal:
A New Jersey judge has ruled that a noncustodial parent may satisfy some of his or her child support obligation by making payments directly to an unemancipated child who is over the age of 18.
Ocean County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Jones issued his unpublished ruling in Kayahan v. Kayahan on Dec. 28, and it was released by the judiciary on March 22.
Jones said that in cases where the unemancipated child has demonstrated a certain level of maturity and financial acumen, it may be more appropriate for the child to receive some of the money rather than have it go through the custodial parent.
"When an unemancipated child is over 18 years old, a court in its discretion may permit the noncustodial parent to pay part of his or her child support obligation directly to the child, under certain circumstances," Jones said.
"Such conditions include the child's utilization of the funds only for specifically earmarked and pre-approved expenses, along with an ongoing requirement that the child provide documented accountings of the use of the funds to both parents," he said.
While the plaintiff's attorney in the case said he thought direct-pay arrangements between noncustodial parents and children could be mutually beneficial, at least one family law attorney not involved in the case disapproved of Jones' decision.
"The ruling inappropriately interferes with the statutory right of the custodial parent to collect child support payments," said Amanda Trigg, adding that she was relieved that the decision has not been published and cannot be cited as precedent.
Read more here.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
From Indianapolis Bar Association:
Prior to January 1, 2016, the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, case law and the Indiana Statute on granting of tax exemptions placed the burden of proof on different parties.
The case law was originally set in the case of Eppler v. Eppler, 837 N.E.2d 167 (Ind. App., 2005, trans. denied 2006), which interpreted the then existing child support guidelines to automatically grant the child tax exemption to the custodial parent unless the court makes a finding based upon evidence presented. This case made it clear that at that time, the burden was on the noncustodial parent to prove that he or she was entitled to the exemption based upon factors set out in the guidelines.
In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly added a provision to the Indiana code addressing tax exemptions. As you can see, the statute was neutral as to who received the exemption and the law required the court to make a finding as to who should receive the exemption. The statute used the same factors but did not presume who would receive the exemption.
IC 31-16-6-1.5 Claiming child for tax purposes; considerations; conditions
Sec. 1.5. (a) A court shall specify in a child support order which parent of a child may claim the child as a dependent for purposes of federal and state taxes.
When the Supreme Court was revisiting the child support guidelines, a committee of the IndyBar of which I was the subcommittee chair pointed out the conflict between the statute, the case law, and the guidelines. The new guidelines now bring the statute and the guidelines into agreement effectively overruling the presumption in the case law and prior guidelines.
The best practice now is to present evidence to show your client should receive the exemption under the guidelines. If the decree or order is silent, then you revert to the federal law.
Read more here.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
From Hometown Life:
A four-bill package that will help ensure collection of child support payments when parents live in different states or countries was signed into law as 2015 ended.
“In divorce and child custody situations, we must make sure the child's best interests are being preserved,” said State Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, a bill sponsor. “Just because a parent moves out of the state or even out of the country doesn't mean the responsibility to provide for his or her child should end. This legislation brings Michigan in line with federal child support guidelines.”
The bipartisan package legislation amends the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act by not only ensuring the collection of child support payments, but also streamlining the process for collecting both international and interstate payments.
It also takes the burden of determining the legality of international child support orders off of employers. The UIFSA provides universal and uniform rules for the enforcement of family support orders. This legislation repeals the current UIFSA and reenacts the 2008 version, which brings Michigan in line with federal guidelines.
Read more here.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
From NBC News:
Deadbeat dads in Arizona, beware. Your mug could be plastered all over social media for the world to see.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey this week launched a campaign to crack down on "the worst of the worst" parents who are ignoring child support payments, posting their names and photos to Twitter and Facebook. The hope is that the public shaming will make some of them pay up and give other dads (and moms) second thoughts about evading child support.
Ducey, a father of three, called out "deadbeat dads" in his State of the Union address on Monday, saying he was troubled by the high number of vulnerable children in Arizona.
"For too long, you've been able to remain anonymous — able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame. Not anymore," the governor proclaimed. Effective immediately, he said, the state would begin posting the photos, names and money owed by "these losers" to social media, with the hashtag #deadbeat.
Read more here.
Monday, January 11, 2016
From Phoenix New Times:
Thousands of Arizonans who paid off their child support debt continued to be marked as subject to property liens because of a state Department of Economic Security screwup that officials say is almost fixed.
Ticked-off customers — including some with lawyers — finally drove the agency to do something about the problem, according to insiders. Dozens of people had to be hired to help figure it out.
When asked about the snafu, DES officials acknowledged that a lengthy review of closed, past-due child support cases completed last year showed that 8,241 people should have had their liens removed. The agency also determined that 14,016 open child support cases need to be audited for liens that should be released; that review will occur sometime this year.
The state has about 321,000 active child support cases, with the state and county splitting them roughly in half. Besides typical cases, the state automatically receives cases that involve federally assisted foster care and recipients of Medicaid or welfare. Under previous rules, if someone ordered to pay child support falls more than two months behind, an administrative lien is placed on all current and future property they own. (The state recently changed that to four months.) The lien prevents the person from selling the property, typically a home, until the past-due payments are satisfied.
The problem was that "liens were not properly tracked and documented," according to information provided by Tasya Peterson, DES spokeswoman. Computer hardware from the 1980s at the agency, including a mainframe ATLAS system, "allows for user entry errors."
Read more here.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
From The Good Men Project:
Children don’t care about child support. In fact, unless their parents sit them down and explain it to them, most children don’t even know what child support is. Many children, in their independent mind frame (especially younger children), believe that the money is used to provide their wants and needs: grows on trees, can be picked up at leisure from the bank, is unlimited on “those cards you swipe at the store," flows freely out of money making machines (i.e. ATMs), or is unlimited as long as you go to work.
So although child support is often our top concern as parents, children could care less.
Over the years, I’ve interviewed numerous children in connection with my child custody law and mediation practice. When asked about their feelings and wishes, NOT ONE child responded that they wanted more child support from daddy. Similarly, not one wished daddy made more money or anything else related to money, except, I have had a few children request that their dad didn’t have to work so much so they could spend more time with them. Out of all of my interviews, the only time the words “child support” were mentioned, was when one child said, “I wish mommy wasn’t so mad at my dad about child support so that I can see him.”
What children consistently seem to care about the most when dad, child custody and or/support is at issue, is being able to spend time with their dad, and without worry.
Being a parent requires much more than “having/paying money.” In my line of work, I’ve realized that society has so many people so wrapped up in riches and material things that the things that are most important are often disregarded for things that don’t compare. Children indeed need both money and quality time with both parents–one is not at the mercy of the other. I would suggest that moms who are using child support to interfere with the child’s relationship with their father look at how that behavior can be harmful to their children.
Read more here.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
When the state of Maryland wanted to reach dads who were behind on their child support payments, it started in the boarded-up blocks of West Baltimore, in neighborhoods marked by drugs, violence and unemployment.
In just four zip code areas, the state identified 4,642 people who owed more than $30 million in back child support. Most of that was "state-owed," meaning that rather than going to the child through the custodial parent, it's supposed to reimburse taxpayers for welfare paid to the child's mother.
This is a source of great resentment for many men, who say they want their money to go to their children. But most who owe it can't pay anyway, as they earn less than $10,000 a year.
"So even if we use taxpayer dollars to chase 'em down, and we catch 'em, right, and we go into their pockets, there's nothing in there," says Joe Jones of Baltimore's Center for Urban Families.
Are they deadbeat? Joseph DiPrimio, head of Maryland's child support enforcement office, doesn't like that expression. "I think that's vulgar. I don't use it," he says. DiPrimio prefers "dead broke."
"We're talking about individuals that are economically challenged, they're underemployed, but they want to do the right thing," he says.
Read more here.
Friday, October 23, 2015
From The National Law Review:
Emancipation is the process by which a minor is legally freed from control by their parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are legally freed from any and all responsibility toward the child. In family law, emancipation most often occurs in the context of child support obligations. A child who is emancipated does not receive child support. Therefore, a supporting spouse (the one making the child support payments) is likely to seek emancipation of a child, while a dependent spouse (the one receiving the child support payments) will likely oppose emancipation. Typically, emancipation is sought when the child reaches the age of majority, but it can also occur before or after this date.
As established by numerous court opinions in New Jersey, emancipation can occur upon the child’s marriage, the child’s introduction into military service, by a court order based on the child’s best interests or by the attainment of an appropriate age. Regarding what is the “appropriate age,” emancipation does not automatically occur upon a minor reaching the age of majority. In Alford v. Somerset County Welfare Board, a New Jersey Appellate Court stated that, “while the age of majority has been established in New Jersey by law, there is no age fixed in law when a child becomes emancipated.” Subsequent cases affirmed this idea. Furthermore, in Newburgh v. Arrigo and Filippone v. Lee, it was determined that reaching the age of majority establishes only a prima facie case but not conclusive proof of emancipation, and can be rebuttable based upon the circumstances of each case.
Newburgh and Filippone are the leading cases in New Jersey regarding emancipation. They not only state that reaching the age of majority simply establishes a prima facie case for emancipation that can be rebutted, but also elaborate on what factors can be used to rebut this presumption. Together, they affirm the fact that the issue of whether a child is emancipated at age eighteen, with correlative termination of the right to parental support, if fact-intensive, and can easily vary based upon the specific circumstances of each case. Together, they also establish the fundamental question asked when determining if a child should be emancipated or not – has the child moved beyond the “sphere of influence” exercised by the parent and obtained an independent status of his or her own?
Read more here.