Articles Posted in Child Support

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What children’s expenses are not covered by child support?”

Several New Jersey courts have been contending with tricky issues surrounding divorced couples and continuing child support obligations. In one recent case, a family court judge from Morris County made national headlines when he refused to require a couple to pay for private school and college tuition for their 18-year-old daughter who had moved out of their home and now wanted financial support.

 

Archway Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyIn a more recent case, a New Jersey appellate court ruled that a divorced dad was required to give his daughter more than $112,000 to pay for half of her $225,000 tab to attend Cornell Law School. Though most states do not require parents to continue supporting children past the age of 18 or graduation for high school, whichever occurs last, the judges in this case had no problem enforcing the payments on the father.

 

According to the panel of judges, the requirement to pay for law school would not apply in most New Jersey divorce cases, but does in this one because the parties specifically included such a clause in their divorce agreement. The judges pointed out that the father had negotiated the language of the settlement and was perfectly clear what his obligation would be.

 

Though parents may not have to provide this kind of support for their adult children, if they sign a contract agreeing to do so they cannot then expect to get out of it. The provision said that after the couple’s 2009 divorce, each would agree to pay half the cost of their daughter’s law school, assuming she maintained at least a “C” average.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”

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Marc Anthony is in the middle of fighting a bitter child support case against his ex-wife and former Miss Universe contestant Dayanara Torres. Torres claims that Anthony should be paying far more each month than he currently is due to a huge boom in the Latin singer’s income.

 

Stacks of money Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyAccording to court papers, Torres says that Anthony is currently paying her $13,000 per month in child support. However, she says that recent financial disclosures by Anthony reveal that this is far less than he ought to be paying given his increased earning power since their divorce was negotiated back in 2004.

 

As part of the child support fight, Anthony was required to fill out new paperwork regarding his income and assets and it shows that he is doing quite well for himself. Anthony claims to earn a total of $1.25 million per month and says that he is worth $20.8 million. Anthony credits income from record sales, concert tours and his clothing line at Kohl’s for the financial success.

 

Torres argues that because Anthony is now making much more than he was when they initially divorced, her children should benefit in the form of increased child support payments. Torres wants the support to increase dramatically, from $13,000 to $112,000 per month. Anthony balks at the figure, saying that he pays Torres more than enough money to comfortably provide for the children.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “When do you get alimony?”

A recent report on TMZ.com discussed the divorce documents filed by MSNBC morning anchor Joe Scarborough and his ex-wife Susan Waren. The documents reveal that host of the popular “Morning Joe” program pulls in a massive $99,038 per week.

TV Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Custody Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to news reports, Joe’s attorneys managed to draft a divorce settlement that will allow him to hold onto the vast majority of his substantial salary. Scarborough quietly filed for divorce from his wife of 12 years back in September of last year. The two were able to work out a custody agreement for their two children, a 10-year-old and a five-year old. According to court records, the two will share joint legal custody of the kids and will both continue living together in the same Connecticut mansion for the foreseeable future.

The unusual arrangement means that Scarborough will not pay any child support to his ex. In terms of alimony, Waren will walk away with a relatively small amount of money. The agreement stipulates that Scarborough give his ex $30,000 per month for the next five years, then $25,000 per month for two more years. Scarborough also agreed to pay his ex a lump sum settlement of $150,000 and has agreed to continue making payments on the couple’s Connecticut home and to pay for private schooling for both children.

Rumors circulated that the split may have been due to infidelity on Scarborough’s part, something that his attorney was eager to definitively put to rest. As a result, Waren included a clause in the agreement acknowledging that Scarborough was “faithful, devoted and committed” during the length of the marriage.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”

The rapper known as DMX has found himself in hot water recently, facing criminal charges for possible drunk driving on top of a recent bankruptcy filing. Just this past week DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, filed for bankruptcy protection at a court in Manhattan. The bankruptcy filing came only four days after his arrest in rural South Carolina on suspicion of driving under the influence.

microphone Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Support Alimony Lawyer Attorney.jpgThe Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by DMX lists a wide array of debts and only a few assets. The court documents claim that DMX has assets of less than $50,000 and liabilities of somewhere between $1 million and $10 million. The rapper said that he needs the Chapter 11 to enable him to reorganize his financial affairs.

DMX, who is originally from New York but currently resides in South Carolina, acknowledged in his bankruptcy filing that among his many debts is the $1.24 million he owes in back child support. Beyond the whopping child support arrearages, DMX says he owes more than $21,000 on a car lease and his only real asset is his half share in some property located in upstate New York.

DMX’s spokesperson recently released a statement explaining that his financial issues have been responsible for his lack of career success in recent years. The recording artist known for a number of late 1990s hits hasn’t had much chart success in recent years, something his spokesperson says is due his poor prior representation. DMX says he wants to tour oversees to earn more money and pay his debts, but needs the Chapter 11 to help accomplish that goal. The reason is somewhat convoluted and relates to his child support debt.

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Child Support Lawyers and Attorneys in Concord Cabarrus County North Carolina.jpgAccording to a recent decision issued by an Indiana appellate court, one man in the midst of a nasty divorce must pay child support for his two children even though they were conceived by artificial insemination from another man’s sperm.

The Indiana Court of Appeals flatly rejected the man’s claim that he ought to be excused from child support payments given that his children were not biologically his. The couple married back in 2001 and began looking into the possibility of artificial insemination after they learned the husband’s vasectomy would not be able to be reversed. A family friend offered his sperm and they went on to have two children. The first, a boy, was born in 2004. Two years later a girl was born with sperm from the same man.

The issue in contention was whether this insemination was done with the man’s consent. The procedure was performed without a doctor and in the privacy of their own home. The husband claims he never consented to the artificial insemination. His wife disagreed, saying the man fully understood what they were doing and was in agreement.

The appellate court pointed out that the husband spent years acting as the father to both children. Even after the two separated he continued paying for the kid’s clothes, medical expenses and daycare. Only after he filed for divorce in 2010 did he change his mind and claim that he should not have to support the children because they were not biologically his.

The case was first heard last year by a lower court which held that the kids were products of the marriage between the couple. As a result, the judge said that the man was responsible for supporting the children, despite the genetic differences. Last week, the state Court of Appeals decided it agreed.

One complication to the matter is that, Indiana lacks any substantive laws regarding parenthood and artificial insemination. A website meant to educate potential sperm donors says that 32 states have laws that state the husband, not the sperm donor, is the child’s legal father. Other states, including North Carolina, have a further stipulation that says the husband’s written consent must be obtained before artificial insemination takes place in order to hold him liable for child support. Indiana, however, has no such requirement.

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Child Support Lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina.jpgFile this story under the tagline, “cautionary tale.” According to a recent Yahoo! article, one Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple has now found himself in the surprising position of being asked by the state to pay child support.

The sperm donor, William Marotta, gave the goods after signing a contract that specifically stated he would not be considered the father of the child nor would he ever be liable for child support. Though the girl who was born as a result of his gift lived for years without incident, this past fall the state of Kansas filed a petition asking that the man be declared the father of the child and be financially responsible for her after the lesbian couple endured financial difficulties.

Marotta has said he will ask the court to dismiss the claim. The state says a law on the books is clear that sperm must be donated through a licensed doctor for a father to be free of any future financial obligation. In his case, Marotta donated the semen after meeting the couple on Craigslist. The state is now asking him to pay child support, including almost $6,000 in expenses dating as far back as the child’s birth.

Marotta’s attorneys have said that the man has no parental rights because of the contract he signed with the girl’s mothers. They claim that the clear language of the agreement means that the man cannot be held financially responsible for the child. Marotta says he responded to the Craigslist ad seeking sperm donations for $50. He turned down the money, saying he and his wife, who have no children of their own, simply wanted to help a couple that wanted a child.

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Child Support Lawyer Charlotte North Carolina.jpgAccording to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, $108 billion in back payments for child support was owed to custodial parents in 2009. The problem is huge nationally and incredibly important in terms of each individual family. If child support payments are not paid, it can result in seriously dire financial straits for the custodial parent, the vast majority of whom (82%) are mothers.

Another downside is that the unpaid bills end up getting picked up by the taxpayers. CNNMoney reports that taxpayers pay nearly half of that total because the children are forced to go on public assistance. Unfortunately, 41% of households headed by single women are below the poverty line, and without the child support payments the family can fall into terribly dire straits.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement’s statistics also reveal that the problem is not as widespread as many people may think. Instead, numbers show that 11% of the debtors owe 54% of the money. The problem is that so few people are causing society, and their families, a lot of pain. The money is crucial in poor families especially where those funds can be used to provide necessary things for children including eye and dental care, clothing and even food.

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Child Custody Lawyers in Charlotte North Carolina.jpgIt’s pretty easy for one adult to share advice with another on how to handle your divorce. But for many parents, the divorce process is so full of concerns unique to their family that tips from well-meaning friends, family members and colleagues can easily go in one ear and out the other. A new documentary film aims to grab the attention of these parents by reminding them that kids have some good ideas, too.

One of the most stressful aspects of divorce is child custody. Deciding where your kids will live and when they’ll see their other parent greatly impacts them, but they are often not consulted in any of the decision-making. Parents can inadvertently make the divorce even more overwhelming by throwing a lot of changes their child’s way and expecting them to simply go along with everything, new living arrangements, rules, routines and all, without giving them any input in their future. According to the kids in the new documentary, that’s not fair. The HBO movie, “Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce,” debuted last month and will be repeated several more times.

One girl in the movie says that parents should instead give their kids some time to process changes and then listen to what they say in response, no matter if those opinions conflict with your own plans. By working together you may be able to develop some new routines that work for everyone. One of the film’s participants described a system for making sure she has everything she needs for stays at her dad’s house.

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Child Support Lawyers in Charlotte, NC.jpgWe have previously written (Divorce in Mecklenburg County, NC and Facebook) about the dangers associated with Facebook when it comes to divorce, but we have never talked about the impact Facebook can have on child support arrangements. It’s common knowledge that these days North Carolina courts and law enforcement agencies are aiming to ensure that parents who owe court-ordered child support fulfill their financial obligations.

Obligors who fail to pay may be charged with contempt of court. If payments become severely delinquent, law enforcement and governmental agencies can sometimes step in and garnish wages, suspended a drivers’ license, or even put the delinquent parent in jail.

While child support is usually handled at the state level, the federal government sometimes gets involved in special situations, including when the debtor crosses state lines to avoid paying child support. In a recent federal case involving felony charges for unpaid child support, authorities succeeded in tracking down the debtor using a tool that is becoming increasingly common in such cases: Facebook.

The man is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but now lives in Southern California. He was ordered to pay child support for his daughter but allegedly has not made any payments since 1996. In 2008, authorities charged him with six felony counts of unpaid child support, and he now reportedly owes over $100,000 in past due support payments.

Investigators recently learned of information concerning the man’s location only after filing a search warrant related to his Facebook information. The social media site contains such a wealth of user-provided personal data that it is often seen as a valuable tool in criminal investigations as well as civil cases.

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Divorce Lawyers in Concord, NC.jpgParents sometimes wonder if the payments they make for child support are fair. They wonder what their friends are paying and what number average families across the country face when it comes time to write a check. Non-custodial parents may be curious to know if the support they pay is in line with other parents in the same position.

Well wonder no more; the U.S. Census Bureau recently released a new report titled “Survey of Income and Program Participation,” which examines child support statistics gathered from across the country. The data used to compile the report was pulled from the most recent national census in 2010. The report is quite comprehensive and sheds some light on who pays support, how many children receive it and the averages for monthly and yearly child support payments.

The numbers show that the average monthly child support payment in America is $430. Children below the age of 21 receive $5,150 on average each year for support. Unsurprising to many is the news that male non-custodial parents provided more child support by percentage than female parents, though the difference was stark. Eighty-five percent of all U.S. child support payers were men and only 15 percent were women. The report also found that child support payments made by men were higher than a woman’s average of $3,500 in yearly financial contributions.

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