Sadly, we have grown accustomed to hearing of one parent’s abduction of children from the other parent.
But recently there was a different kind of parental abduction in Ohio.
A woman allegedly abducted her own four children – together with her husband, the children’s father.
How is that abduction?
A local court reportedly awarded temporary custody rights of the children to the local children’s services agency.
The biological parents were apparently trying to block the agency from asserting its rights.
The father was reportedly recently released from prison for domestic violence.
Now both parents face charges for felony interference with custody.
Read more in this Logan [OH] Daily News article: Woman, ex-husband arrested after fleeing.
Child support enforcement has a powerful new weapon in its arsenal: the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires travelers returning to the US from Canada, Mexico, the Carribean, Bermuda and central and South America possess passports.
The new laws require many people who did not previously have passports to obtain passports for travel outside the US.
Only they can’t if they owe more than $2,500 in child support arrearages.
So people who really want to travel outside the country must pay up – or stay home.
Connecticut, as an example, has seen support collection rise dramatically as a result of the implementation of the new rules.
And it’s not just Connecticut.
Whatever the benefit to national security, these new passport rules surely benefit someone – children owed child support.
Read more in this Government Technology article: New Passport Rules Boost Connecticut Child Support Enforcement.
Digging for dirt is in.
I posted recently on Female Private EyeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Businesses Booming with Divorce and Custody Surveillance Work.
But surveillance by a private investigator is only one of the options available today.
Another popular (and often less expensive) option is extracting data from a computer or mobile phone or similar device.
Amazing advances in technology make many things possible – and affordable.
Of course, what’s found isn’t always admissible. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t useful.
From financial information to affairs, bad judgment to crimes, the information can be pertinent to the matters before the court.
Or otherwise at hand. Sometimes people just need to know the truth. Whether they can use it or not.
The one type of computer file that should be protected from disclosure is communications between attorney and client.
Read more in this New York Times article: Tell-All PCs and Phones Transforming Divorce.
A West Palm Beach father was taken to task in an Ohio court for attempted criminal nonsupport of his four children.
The man was extradited and jailed for an arrearage of approximately $61,000.
The man was convicted and sentenced to six months of confinement to be followed by 5 years of probation.
After being sentenced, the father somehow managed to come up with $25,000 toward his arrearage.
If he keeps up his payments, he will avoid more jail time.
In the words of the Ohio prosecutor assigned to the case “[h]e got the message” and began complying with the court’s orders to pay.
A most effective incentive, which struggling custodial parents all eventually come to hope for when their ex refuses to pay on an ongoing basis.
Read more in this Cleveland Plain Dealer article: Father of four coughs up past due child support.
A Washington state woman was denied unsupervised visitation with her daughter after absconding with her daughter to Los Angeles during visitation last year.
Undeterred, the woman more recently allegedly absconded with her daughter again, during a visitation supervised by her parents. This time they reportedly went to Las Vegas, where they remained for a month.
This time around the mother suffered more severe consequences for her actions.
On the criminal side, the was charged with felony custodial interference, but pleaded guilty to misdemeanor custodial interference. She will be “sentenced” to psychological treatment and probation, but no incarceration. Her daughter will be spared having to testify against her.
The mother didn’t fare as well in family court though. She is barred from any contact with her daughter (except for a written apology for her actions) without prior court approval.
Both she and her daughter would have been better off had she learned her lesson after the first custodial violation.
Read more in this Tri-City [WA] Herald article: Finley pleads guilty to taking her child to Las Vegas.
What are the odds?
According to a local news report, a Miami family court judge ran a stop sign.
And crashed into another car.
The car of a former Miami mayor.
Whose divorce case is being presided over by the judge.
If true, certainly bad luck for the judge.
Probably bad luck for the mayor/family court litigant.
But it could have been worse …
The family court litigant could have run the stop sign and crashed into “his” judge’s car.
Read more about the nightmare alleged in this CBS TV Channel 4 article: Former Miami Mayor Has A Run In With Divorce Judge.
And drive carefully if you have a family court case pending.
You just never know who’s in the other car…
A high profile psychologist who has carved out a high profile niche testifying in child custody and visitation dispute cases to mothers’ alienation of fathers from their children is now speaking out against Florida’s brand new Keeping Children Safe Act.
The legislative intent behind the Act is to protect child victims of sexual abuse from further abuse.
Dr. J. Michael Bone, anticipating numerous false allegations by alienating mothers, is critical of the lack of legal protections afforded to fathers under the Act.
Some of the provisions of the Act are actually not very different from the rest of the juvenile dependency statutes (formally, Proceedings Relating to Children).
For example, reporters of any type of child abuse, not just sexual child abuse, are protected by anonymity. The legislative intent was to encourage witnesses and those with well-founded suspicions to come forward to protect children by protecting the reporters’ anonymity.
Are there some false reports of child abuse? Undoubtedly.
Should we throw the preexisting dependency statutes out because of that? No.
Can the new statute benefit from some refinement? Absolutely.
Read more in this Mens News Daily article and the Keeping Children Safe Act.
Divorcing couples always have at least basic questions about the impact of divorce on their taxes and their tax status.
Everything depends on whether your divorce was final on December 31st of the tax year in question. If it was, you can file as single. If it wasn’t, you can file jointly or as married, filing separately.
Although married couples filing joint returns receive more favorable tax treatment, each joint filer will generally be responsible for the couple’s entire tax liability.
Child Dependency Exemption:
This generally goes to the custodial parent, although it can be negotiated away to the non-custodial permanently or in alternating years. A special IRS form must be signed by the custodial parent if the exemption is being bargained away.
Dependent Child Care Tax Credit and Earned Income Credit:
These go to the custodial parent and that is not negotiable.
Education Tax Credits:
These go to the parent who has the dependency tax exemption.
Read more in this [Lancaster, PA] Intelligencer Journal article: Tax issues in divorce and separation – Taxing matters.
What happens when the custodial parent moves to another school district (not another state or even city) after separation?
Well, in one Michigan case, the mother, the custodial parent, is driving her children 60 miles to keep her kids in the same school district as before the parents’ separation. The father insists that school district is superior to the one where the mother and children now reside.
So the parents will have to go back to court so that the judge can … choose the school the kids should attend.
And what about that commute for the youngsters?
Next, the court will revisit its custody determination, depending upon the court’s ruling on which school district the children should attend school in.
Taking this approach to its logical conclusion,
- why should the court be limited to the marital school district and the custodial parent’s new school district?
- what if both parents have moved?
- what if neither parent has ever lived in the best school districts in the state?
- and on and on go the possibilities.
Clearly a recipe for clogging Michigan’s family courts to the point of grinding to a halt. Not to mention turning Michigan’s kids lives upside down all over again … and again … and again.
Read more in this Detroit News article: Divorce judge to pick kids’ school.
An emerging question for a growing number of splitting couples may be the still novel question that recently faced a divorcing Texas couple:
Who gets their frozen embryos?
In that case, the Texas trial court awarded them to the Wife.
But the Husband appealed to an intermediate court and won.
Then the Texas Supreme Court ducked the case, so the Husband remains the “victor”.
But note: this couple had actually signed a form consenting to the embryos being “discarded” in the event of the couple’s divorce.
It’s impossible to say how much of a bearing that consent form played in the appellate court’s ruling, but it seems reasonable to infer it may have been significant, if not compelling.
Read more in this KLTV 7 [Texas] article: Texas Supreme Court refuses to hear custody battle.