Articles Posted in Child Support

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are not covered by child support?”

A Duke University researcher who set out to test whether the adage that unmarried parents are most receptive to the idea of getting married in the “magic moment” right after a child’s birth was true found out the post-birth magic lasts longer than a moment.

Smiling baby Charlotte Custody Lawyer Mecklenburg Divorce AttorneyThe researcher, Christina Gibson-Davis, drew on a national study of some 5,255 children born out-of-wedlock in the United States.

Gibson-Davis’s study, which appears online July 2 in Demography, found that 64 percent of children born out of wedlock see their mothers marry. Half of post-conception marriages, however, end in divorce. Only 38 percent of post-conception marriages between biological mothers and fathers ended in divorce within 10 years, compared to 54 percent of marriages between biological mothers and stepfathers.

Gibson-Davis stressed that despite years of public attention to out-of-wedlock births, few studies have uncovered how children born in that setting actually live.

The study appeared to show that while many mothers and fathers do marry after the birth of a child, the so-called “magic moment” to marry often extends well beyond the days and weeks after a child’s birth – as long as three years in many cases.

In 2012 – the most recent year in which data was available – 49,170 children were born to unmarried mothers in North Carolina. Children born to unwed mothers face potential hurdles such as proving the identity of and obtaining support from one’s father. When a mother marries a child’s father – even after the child’s birth – the child is automatically “legitimated” in the eyes of the law.

Where a child is born out of wedlock and a marriage does not occur, however, a child can still be “legitimated” through a court proceeding. This gives the child the right to receive adequate support from each parent until the age of 18; the benefit of spending time with each parent regardless of who has physical custody of the child; the right to inherit property from each parent’s estate; and the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of the death of one or both parents.

If you or someone you know needs help with the legitimation process or has questions or concerns regarding marriage, child custody, child support, or divorce, please give me a call today to set up and appointment.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828   or find additional resources here.


About the Author

ARNOLD&SMITH_243 3.jpgMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.





Image Credit

“A smiling baby” by Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada – Hah!. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –



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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”


Nick Olivas said he was a lonely, 14-year-old kid going through a rough patch when his 20-year-old neighbor raped him. He said he didn’t know at the time that under Arizona law, a child under 15 could consent to sex, making him a victim of statutory rape. He didn’t press charges against the woman, but now the State of Arizona is after Olivas to pay child support for the daughter he fathered with the woman.

Daughter Hugging Father Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyOlivas said he and the woman went their separate ways. He graduated high school, attended college and became a Phoenix-based medical assistant. He said he was living his life and enjoying being young when, two years ago, he was served with papers demanding child-support payments for a six-year-old daughter.

Arizona—like Kansas and California—considers the circumstances of the daughter’s conception irrelevant for child-support purposes, said Mel Felt, director of the New York-based advocacy group the National Center for Men. In 1993, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a 13-year-old boy who impregnated his 17-year-old babysitter was liable for child support, even though he had been legally unable to consent to sex. A California state court issued a similar ruling involving a 15-year-old boy whose 34-year-old neighbor was convicted of raping him.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”


A Canadian man may have thought his girlfriend’s made-up tale about her quintuplet pregnancy was the ultimate gold-digger’s tale, but that was before he was one-upped by a Chengdu, China-based panda named Ai Hin.

Panda eating bamboo Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerA “gold digger” is defined informally as “a woman who associates with or marries a man chiefly for material gain.” To be fairer than Jamie Foxx and Kanye West were in their 2005 hit single, “Gold Digger,” men are just as capable of engaging in gold-digging conduct. Since most men cannot become pregnant (yes, men are carrying babies to term), the pretending-you-are-pregnant-to-ensnare-the-mate phenomenon has been a strategy traditionally employed by members of the fairer sex. While not by any means the first to document the phenomenon, Daniel Defoe’s harrowing 1722 account of the life of Moll Flanders is instructive.

The lady Flanders was, in the end, a sympathetic figure. She did what she had to do to survive in a sexist and paternalistic culture. History may not be as kind to the contemporary Canadian Paul Servat’s girlfriend.

According to the Toronto Sun, Servat was tricked in a fake-pregnancy scheme by his girlfriend, who told him she was carrying quintuplets. The girlfriend’s stomach swelled, she began lactating, and the couple accepted donations from neighbors and friends. A mother of triplets who befriended the couple told CTV news that the girlfriend’s story didn’t add up. She said the girlfriend kept adding to the number of expected children.

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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?”



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 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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