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



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 …



Restraining Order of Protection Steps In to Separate Three Professional Bodybuilders

First Boyfriend, 29, and New York Girlfriend, 43, are both professional bodybuilders and personal trainers.

They date. They break up.

Girlfriend takes up with another professional bodybuilder, Second Boyfriend.

First Boyfriend doesn’t take things well. First Boyfriend allegedly threatens to kill Girlfriend and Second Boyfriend … and warns Girlfriend to leave New York.

Girlfriend obtains Restraining Order of Protection against First Boyfriend in New York Family Court.

New York’s finest also arrest First Boyfriend for felony criminal contempt for violating the Restraining Order of Protection by harassing Second Boyfriend.

Despite denying all allegations, First Boyfriend reportedly seizes on a plea agreement under which he avoids jail time on a reduced misdemeanor charge, in return for completing an anti-stalking educational program.

Meanwhile, Family Court judge makes Restraining Order of Protection permanent.

Read more in this New York Post article: Death threat in bodybuilders’ love triangle .


Ready or Not, Equal Timesharing for All is Probably On the Way in Just a Matter of Time

Massachusetts is one of seventeen states contemplating taking the plunge into a legal presumption in favor of what those states often call joint custody (sometimes shared custody).

But in many cases, what these states really mean is equal timesharing.

Most do have exceptions where one parent is unfit or abusive.

But in the main, this is largely a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to custody and visitation.

Some of the pros of this approach is that it will likely streamline most child custody dispute cases and thereby save parents time and money and save the taxpayers money as well by lightening the load in the courts. For many families, it may well give children more access to both of their parents and improve their relationship with at least one of their parents.

Some of the cons of this approach include:

  • giving equal timesharing to a parent who is poorly equipped to have it, although not necessarily abusive or unfit
  • giving equal timesharing to a parent who really doesn’t want it and may not consistently exercise it
  • giving equal timesharing to a parent who is unfit and/or abusive, although the other parent doesn’t know how to or can’t afford to prove that by the applicable legal standard
  • giving rise to more appeals of custody dispute cases.


  1. this Daily News of Newburyport [MA] article: Child custody bill deserves consideration and
  2. this North Andover Eagle-Tribune [MA] article: Advocates push for shared parenting in divorce cases .



Yes, Most Social Security Benefits Are Income for Support Obligations

“I don’t have to pay child support because I can’t work.”

That tale is spun by one parent to the other, unsuspecting parent surprisingly often.

But it generally isn’t so.

Almost always, income is income, whatever the source. And, generally speaking, all income is deemed to be available to serve as a source of support payment obligations.

Including social security disability benefits, retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and other earned benefits for which contributions were made.

(The one glaring exception is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, because those are purely income-based public assistance.)

Further, earned benefits can be garnished just like wages. Better still, the benefits recipient can’t thwart his / her support obligations by quitting and moving on to the next employer.

Read more in this Money magazine family finance Questions and Answers piece: How to Collect Child Support from an Ex’s Social Security Benefits .


Wealthy Husband Flaunts New Younger Girlfriend, and Wife Reopens Alleged Temporary Support Agreement

New Mexico Husband and Wife have been married for over 18 years. They have two teenagers.

Husband is a wealthy investment fund portfolio manager.

Divorce was reportedly advancing amicably, with both having agreed to temporary alimony of $5 million for a year, while the parties’ real estate is sold.

Then Husband began stepping out with his new love interest … a Manhattanite who bears a striking resemblance and similarity to Wife … only fifteen years younger.

That may have been a strategic miscalculation on his part.

Wife allegedly now insists that the supposedly agreed upon $5 million won’t cut it after all.

Given that the parties reportedly enjoyed an annual income of $50 million and annual expenses of about $9 million for the past decade, Wife may actually have a point about the challenges of maintaining the marital standard of living for herself on just $5 million.

Read more in this New York Post article: Wife seeks more alimony over ex’s new lookalike girlfriend .


Mother Granted Parole Two and One-Half Years After Standing By While Boyfriend Brutally Abused Her Toddler Son

Mother has toddler Son.

Mother confessed to excessive physical punishment of Son. She also confessed to neglecting and failing to protect her Son.

While Mother’s Boyfriend apparently inflicted brain trauma, full body bruising and burns on Son.

Before leaving Son at a hospital. And then fleeing the state.

Mother and Boyfriend were both convicted and sentenced to prison, Boyfriend for 25.5 to 67 years on assault and other charges.

But Mother’s sentence was only for 2.5 to 7 years for child endangerment and witness tampering.

Mother testified against Boyfriend at his trial, asserting that Boyfriend also abused her.

The parole board has approved Mother’s parole in May upon completion of her minimum sentence.

Son currently lives with his grandmother and is reportedly doing well.

Read more in this Orlando Sentinel article: Mom who fled to Universal Orlando after tot’s beating gets parole


DCF Takes 17 Year Old Into Protective Custody to Ensure She Has Chemotherapy Against Her Mother’s and Her Alleged Wishes

Connecticut Mother is raising Daughter alone since her divorce. Daughter is 17 years old.

At 18, Daughter will be considered a legal adult.

Daughter is diagnosed with cancer. The medical community claims an 80% or better success rate in treating Daughter’s type of cancer.

Daughter reportedly did not wish to undergo chemotherapy, describing it as “poison”. Daughter skipped some doctor’s appointments.

Doctors reported Daughter’s situation to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF began juvenile court proceedings to remove Daughter from Mother’s custody and take her into protective custody of DCF.

And so Daughter was allegedly forced to undergo chemotherapy. And reportedly all but cut off from any contact with Mother during her chemotherapy.

Her cancer in remission and her treatment almost concluded, Daughter seeks to be returned to Mother’s custody or, failing that, to be allowed to have visitation with Mother. Although her treatment is normally performed on an outpatient basis, Daughter has been confined at her treating hospital as an inpatient.

Mother and Daughter anxiously await the Court’s ruling. Regardless, it is believed that Daughter will be permitted to return to live with Mother at the conclusion of her months’ long chemotherapy treatment.


  1. this Yahoo News article by way of the Associated Press: Teen forced to undergo chemo testifies at custody hearing and
  2. this NBC news article: Connecticut Teen with Curable Cancer Fights to Stop Chemo .

Denial of Marriage License in Eighteen Year Relationship Ready for Next Level

Unlike getting a divorce, it is fairly easy to get married, most people would agree.

But, even so, there are a few impediments to marriage. As some rudely discover.

Woman has been involved with Man for eighteen years. Eighteen.

Now the time has come for them to tie the knot. Woman applies for marriage license.

But her application is … denied. Eighteen year relationship.

New York City clerks informed Woman that she is … already married. Since the age of 18.

To a man she is quite certain she has never met. At a time when she was already living with the lucky Man she wants to marry now … and some other extended family members.

Woman deduces that one of those others, who bore a family resemblance to her, “borrowed” her ID to pull off a scam to fund her “habit”. Eighteen years.

Woman appeals the denial of her marriage license and shares her deduction with a New York City administrative law judge. Who concurs with her analysis.

Administrative law judge reverses the denial of Woman’s marriage license and paves the way for Woman’s marriage to Man, after these eighteen years.

Read more in this New York Post article: Bride-to-be discovers that she’s already married.