Divorce is difficult, and even more so with children involved. It can be especially difficult when the children have unique needs. The stresses of divorce can have an increased impact on these children, and their special needs can have a major impact on custody and child support. As a parent, you are in the best position to know what your child needs, and it is your job to show the court what those needs are and to be honest with yourself about your ability to meet those needs. Continue reading →
How often have you heard someone claim their grandmother was Native American? What about Italian? More people around the world claim to be Irish than there are people in all of Ireland! The lure of knowing where you come from has led to an explosion in commercial testing services like 23 & Me. As technology has advanced and databases of genetic profiles have grown, so has the information that those commercial genetic tests can provide. This includes health information and wide nets of genetic relatives you may have never known about. Everyone is familiar with genetic testing in custody and child support cases, but learning one’s genetic parentage can lead to a host of issues beyond custody and child support. Continue reading →
Morris v. Powell, 840 S.E.2d 223, 269 N.C.App. 496 (N.C. App. 2020):
North Carolina has very recently decided a case of first impression regarding “de facto emancipation.” Emancipation is typically one of the listed termination events for child support. This is when a child, who has not yet attained the age of majority, petitions the court to be independent and free from parental control. Our statutes allow anyone who is 16 years of age or older to petition the court for a judicial decree of emancipation, if they have been a resident for at least six months in the same county in North Carolina. Continue reading →
Ex-football star Clinton Portis is in hot water for non-payment of child support. Portis was a second-round pick by the Denver Broncos back in 2002, then was traded to Washington. He is also a two-time Pro Bowler whose NFL earnings exceeded $43 million during his career until he retired in 2012. Despite this, Portis filed for bankruptcy in 2015, claiming mismanagement of funds by his financial advisors. Continue reading →
Argueta v. Baker, 137 A.D.3d 1020, 27 N.Y.S.3d 237 (2016)
There are times where parents do not effectively co-parent. There are even times where one parent goes out of their way to interfere in the parent-child relationship with the other parent. There are ways to enforce the controlling custody order, such as contempt. But New York seems to also have another avenue of relief, asking the court to terminate child support. Note: this is not North Carolina law, it is from New York. Continue reading →
Mendez v. Mendez, 2021-NCCOA-680 (2021)
- Facts: Plaintiff was ordered to pay defendant $2,271 per month in child support pursuant to a child support order filed in 2015. In 2018, Defendant filed a motion to modify child support. Defendant’s monthly gross income was $3,964. She asserted that the children’s needs have increased with their age, including involvement in new extracurricular activities such as music, fencing, and acting classes. For the initial 2015 order, Plaintiff made much more income. He was a department of defense contractor, owned a business, and VA disability benefits. In 2019, Plaintiff’s VA benefits were increased due to his diagnosis with prostate cancer. In 2018, Plaintiff was admitted to law school and would be attending when his cancer treatments ended. The trial court reduced Plaintiff’s child support obligation due to his decreased income. Defendant appeals.
Jackson v. Jackson, 2021-NCCOA-614 (2021)
- Facts: Mother and Father had an unincorporated child support agreement for their three children. Custody was shared between the parties. Later, one child aged out. Mother then relocated, and one child moved with her. The other remaining minor child moved in with Father. For this period, Father sought temporary child support and termination of his previous child support obligation because of the change in custody situation. Mother then filed a breach of contract for Father’s lowering and subsequent cessation of child support payments. At trial the court considered Father’s bonuses and commissions as part of his income. His base salary was $58,000, but he testified that he expected to get commissions even though he had not yet received any. The court found that father’s income was $71,000 annually.
Lewis v. Lewis, No. COA06-599
Benjamin Lewis (“Ben”) and Gina Lewis (“Gina”) married on January 1, 1994 and had two children. Ben and Gina divorced on August 17, 1998. On June 26, 1998, Ben and Gina executed a separation agreement wherein they agreed to exercise joint custody of the minor children. The separation agreement was incorporated in the divorce judgment and stipulated that the children would reside primarily with Gina and spend every other weekend and summer vacation with Ben. They further agreed that Ben would pay half of the children’s uninsured medical and dental expenses and $200.00 each month as additional child support to Gina. Both Ben and Gina went on to remarry, and as a result of Gina’s remarriage she moved to Yuma, Arizona. On August 14, 2000, Ben filed a motion in the cause seeking a modification of his visitation schedule with the minor children, asserting that a substantial change in circumstances had occurred due to Gina’s move to Arizona. Continue reading →
Warren DSS v. Gerrelts, No.COA20-868 (June 2021).
This is an oddity of a case. Civil procedure has an interesting quirk called choice of law. It is an intensely fact-driven area of law that is still being actively researched and written about. Just the mere mention of the Erie Doctrine is probably enough to evoke trauma induced flashbacks to law school for many practicing attorneys. Put simply, since the state courts are courts of general jurisdiction, a state court sometimes has to apply another state’s law. Below is an interesting case about artificial insemination, paternity, and child support arising from a case where there are multiple states involved. Continue reading →
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (hereinafter “Plan”), also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, was passed by Congress and officially signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. The Plan seeks to aid the economy in recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One significant change the Plan provides for is a new federal enhanced child tax credit beginning July 15, 2021. Statistics show that the credit will go to roughly 39 million households with about 65 million children. For the 2021 tax year, the enhanced maximum child tax credit is $3,600 for children younger than age six (6) and $3,000 for children between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17).