DNA Testing Won’t Necessarily Spare a Payor From Accumulated Arrears on a Child Support Order

Texas Man has been paying child support through garnishment of his pay for thirteen years. He is still delinquent by $21,000 though.

Man does not have any relationship with the child for whom he is paying support. No contact or communication whatsoever.

There’s a reason for that though. Man is not the child’s father.

DNA testing confirms what the child’s mother admitted in a letter to the Texas family court … after designating Man as the father on her child’s birth certificate.

The state of Texas apparently concedes that Man should not be obligated to pay future child support … or any additional child support after the date the DNA test was done and furnished to the court.

But it isn’t quite as agreeable about the accumulated arrears up until that point. Those it insists that Man must still pay.

This comes up often enough that it is reportedly stated on the Texas Attorney General’s child support website.

Whatever else, cases like this should drive home the point that 1) it is never a good idea to ignore communications from the family court regarding a child support (or any other) case pending before it in which you are named as a defendant and 2) and if there is any question whatsoever about paternity, the time to have a DNA test is when the original child support case is heard.

Read more in

  1. the Root article: Why Does This Texas Man Owe $21,000 in Child Support if the Child Isn’t His? and
  2. this Fox Houston KRIV 26 TV news article: Forced to pay for a child that DNA proves isn’t his .

Five Year Old Ordered to Visit Bio Father in Maximum Security Prison for Years to Come

Mother meets Father … in jail. On visiting day with her Brother.

Brother and Father are incarcerated together. Father is no stranger to prisons, having served multiple sentences going as far back as 1990.

Mother and Father have a brief relationship and Mother becomes pregnant. Subsequently, Son is born.

When Son is 15 months old, Father begins serving a sentence of sixteen years to life in a maximum security prison. Son, now 5 years old, has had no contact with Father since then.

Somewhere along the line, Mother married and Son lives with his two half-siblings and Stepfather as well as Mother. It seems that Son believes Stepfather is his father and addresses him accordingly.

Father seeks visitation with Son. A New York Family Court grants Father monthly visitation ten months a year.

Mother is admonished for permitting Son to cling to the belief that Stepfather is his father.

Mother appeals the trial court’s ruling. Intermediate appeals court affirms the New York trial court’s ruling, but does scale back the required visits to quarterly instead of monthly.

Mother appeals again.

Mother has been vocal regarding her intention not to comply with any court order mandating that she bring Son to a maximum security facility to visit with Father.

By the time Father is released from confinement, it appears that Son will be 17 years old and able to choose for himself whether he wishes to have any relationship with Father.

Read more in this New York Daily News article: Judge orders New York mom to let son visit dad in upstate prison, but she vows to disobey

New York: Gay Spouse Has Standing to Seek Custody and Visitation of Children Born Into a Gay Marriage

Lesbian Couple in California, Mom and Mama, have three Children together by means of artificial insemination by Donor, a friend.

The Couple were in a domestic partnership at the time of the birth of their first two children, and later married.

Mama delivered the last two of the Children and Mom delivered the first.

The Couple and the Children moved from California to New York the year after the last child’s birth.

Couple broke up and Mom moved out of state.

Mom filed for custody and visitation in New York.

In an effort to “change the game”, Mama filed a paternity case against Donor and a divorce from Mom.

The Children’s attorney argued in favor of Mom’s standing and her visitation.

The New York Family Court dismissed Mama’s petitions against Donor, rejected Mama’s position that Mom has no parental rights and recognized that Mom had legal standing to seek custody and visitation of Children based on California law.

Specifically, under California statute, if a child is born during a marriage, the spouse of the mother is presumed to be the other legal parent of the child. New York common law agrees.

The New York Family Court judge also ruled that Donor was not the legal parent of Children.

Mama asserts that she will appeal.

Read more in this New York Law Journal article: Judge Follows California Law in Partner’s Visitation Bid .

Co-Parenting Does Not Always Work

Mexican Mother and Father have two Children together.

Father, a former law enforcement officer, is now incarcerated in maximum security prison in Mexico.

Mother and Children travel to visit Father in the prison.

Children reportedly complain to Father that Mother does not treat them well.

Father, wielding a homemade weapon, stabs Mother and Children and Mother’s other daughter, killing them all.

Father then attempts suicide, unsuccessfully.

Father is incarcerated for murdering another girlfriend and sexually abusing her daughter.

Read more in this UK Daily Mail article: Inmate at Mexican maximum-security prison kills girlfriend and three children during trip to see him behind bars

School Teacher Charged with Attempted Interference with Parent’s Custody of Student

Mother is a single parent of 11 year old Daughter.

Daughter’s public school teacher, Teacher, becomes obsessed with Daughter.

Teacher reportedly secretly corresponds with Daughter through thousands of text messages, spends time with Daughter at Teacher’s home and at Daughter’s home while her mother was at work, and speaks with Daughter about adopting her and running away with her.

The Teacher allegedly maintained the relationship with Daughter after being suspended and admonished to have no contact with Daughter.

Teacher ultimately resigns her position.

Teacher is thereafter arrested for attempting to interfere with the custody of a child, child luring and corruption of a minor.

Teacher is free on bond.

Read more in

  1. this People magazine article: Ex-Teacher Accused of Luring 11-Year-Old – Via 2,400 Texts – to Run Away with Her
  2. this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article: Pittsburgh police said teacher tried to lure student away from home and
  3. this KDKA 2 CBS Pittsburgh article: Former Pittsburgh Public School Teacher Allegedly Exchanged Hundreds Of Texts With 11-Year-Old .

Owe Child Support? Take Note: Florida Woman Faces Jail Although Father Promised to Drop Claim Because Kids Don’t Need It

Mother and Father have two Children, now seventeen and eighteen years old.

Children reside with Father in Ohio. Mother now lives in Florida, although her mother, Grandmother, resides in Ohio.

Mother allegedly failed to pay any child support for Children for over a year between 2012 and 2013. Arrears reportedly amount to $24,000.

Mother is arrested in Ohio on four separate counts of nonsupport of dependents.

Mother offers as excuses:

  1. that she never received the correspondence sent to her mother’s address and
  2. that Father “said he was going to drop it and they didn’t need (the support).”

Parenthetically,

  1. Mother was probably under a legal duty to notify the Ohio family court of any change in her address and is, therefore, in no position to complain about notices being sent to her old address if she never provided her new address and
  2. it is, at best, reckless to bet the farm on a purely verbal representation … especially when the legal right supposedly waived belongs to someone else (Children, not Father and, if on public assistance, the State of Ohio).

Presumably so advised, Mother enters a plea bargain in which she pleads guilty to two of the counts in return for the state dropping the other two counts.

Mother obtains employment and begins paying child support.

The presiding Ohio judge indicates an openness to deferring Mother’s sentencing and declining to impose imprisonment if Mother continues to be employed, pay down her arrears and pay current support for the younger of Children.

Read more in this Wooster [OH] Daily Record article: HOLMES FLORIDA WOMAN BEHIND $24,000 IN CHILD SUPPORT .

Life Changing Events That Can Be Catalysts for Divorce

There is an old saying that “life is what happens to you while you are making other plans”. Such life-altering happenings are precisely the sorts of things that may precipitate divorce.

Some of them are:

  1. Major illnesses can change the financial situation and the very nature of a couple’s life together.
  1. Long-term unemployment or significant changes in work situation of either spouse can also change a couple’s financial situation dramatically, or the context of a couple’s lifestyle.
  1. Having a child is another huge change in a couple’s life and brings about a significant alteration in the marital relationship – not all of which is always foreseen or fully comprehended by both spouses in advance.
  1. Physical separations, such as those caused by military service or other extended temporary work reassignments can also dramatically impact a couple’s life and cause disenchantment.
  1. Traumatic events, such as the loss of a child, can arouse powerful and unpredictable emotions in either or both spouses that can also harm the marital relationship.
  1. When minor children leave the nest many couples discover that their marriage isn’t what it was, and they find they can’t – or don’t care to – build a new foundation together.
  1. When one of the spouses has been unfaithful to the other, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to move past it and the marriage languishes beyond repair.

Read more in this Yahoo Health article: 7 Life Events That Can Lead To Divorce

How to Collect Child Support from a Parent Who is Abroad

Child support enforcement in our mobile society can, at best, be challenging.

It was a huge leap forward when laws and infrastructure arose to simplify nationwide recognition and enforcement of a child support order entered in any state in the union. But even with that, collection of child support can still be challenging.

Today, separated parents don’t just move from city to city or state to state. They move from country to country.

Creating even bigger challenges in child support enforcement.

Nebraska has a bill pending right now to facilitate child support enforcement between Nebraska and other countries.

The US has signed the Hague Convention On The International Recovery Of Child Support And Other Forms Of Family Maintenance.

Fifteen other countries have also signed it:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Czech Republic
  4. El Salvador
  5. Finland
  6. Hungary
  7. Ireland
  8. Israel
  9. Netherlands
  10. Norway
  11. Poland
  12. Portugal
  13. Slovak Republic
  14. Switzerland and
  15. the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

From a state’s perspective, another additional incentive to passing the state’s implementing law is federal funds for enforcement and

For other countries, the best bet is probably to obtain a child support order in the

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Head Spousal Liability for Taxes Off at the Pass By Filing Separately

US tax filing deadline is just a few days away. You’ve got that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach about what your soon-to-be ex is doing regarding reporting income and paying taxes.

As a reminder, you are responsible for your ex’s failure to report income and you are liable for any tax liability that is ultimately determined to be owed. Not just half of it. All of it – if the IRS believes it will be easier to collect from you than your ex.

No matter what your marital settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce say. (Although you may be entitled to reimbursement from your ex in family court … assuming you can find any assets to fund the reimbursement.)

So, what can you do to avoid this mess?

In a nutshell, if you have reasonable concerns, follow your instincts and simply don’t file a joint return with your spouse. Instead, file your taxes separately using married filing separately.

Already messed up this year or a previous tax year?

  1. There is limited relief for people who can prove that they are an innocent spouse in the IRS framework. It’s not easy to succeed here. Besides not knowing about the unreported income, you also have to show that you had no reason to know about the unreported income … and that you did not benefit from it.
  2. If all income was reported but the full tax liability not paid in full, people who can prove that they did everything they were supposed to do and could do may be able to get equitable relief. But it’s not easy to succeed on this basis either.

Both approaches likely require the assistance of a seasoned tax professional who knows their way around the IRS … as well as receptive listeners in the IRS … and good luck.

The preventative approach of filing separately is faster and more dependable and probably a lot less stressful.

Read more in this MarketWatch article via Yahoo Finance: Are you liable for your spouse’s tax miscues?

Amidst Your Other Concerns About Your Family Court Case, Are You Safe In The Courthouse?

In one county in Minnesota, two of three buildings housing courtrooms do not scan visitors’ belongings for weapons.

The judges presiding over those courtrooms and the law enforcement officers charged with protecting them and the community are hoping to change that.

Residents who visit those courtrooms frequently – or infrequently – undoubtedly hope so too.

As anyone involved with family court cases knows, they are stressful. Some people don’t handle that kind of stress well. At all.

Then there are criminal court cases. Ditto.

Then there are domestic violence cases, both criminal and civil order of protection cases. Enough said.

Court rooms with no security screening?

Hard to imagine. Or justify.

For judges, courthouse staff, attorneys and their staff and you, the people who have to go in front of the judge … or occasionally serve as jurors in certain types of cases.

We all hear about the relatively rare high profile, high impact incident of violence at a courthouse. Not all that common.

But those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Between 1970 and 2009, there were 199 incidents. 78 were in just the first decade of the 2000s.

In 2010 alone there were 11 incidents and in 2011 there were 13.

Courthouse violence is on the rise. Markedly so.

Less dramatic incidents are even more numerous.

Before you head to court, whether again or for the first time, you may wish to check out what sort of screenings, if any, the other visitors will be subjected to …

Read more in