Archive for the 'Child Support' Category

Insure the Payments

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Amid the wind and waves of a divorce, life insurance is not something people think about. Both the custodial and noncustodial parents should consider life insurance to protect their children.

Very often in a divorce settlement, life insurance on the former spouse responsible for alimony and/or child support is overlooked. The paying spouse may intend to comply with the divorce agreement, but death has other plans.

The same is true for the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent may not be able to afford complete care of the children.

The insurance may not be an insignificant amount either. A custodial parent receiving even a few years of monthly spousal support and child support for small children may need to be insured for $250,000 or more. To determine the appropriate amount, a “present value” calculation yields the desired monthly payments needed and inflation considerations. Term insurance (for the period of payments required) is usually a good and least expensive choice as well.

Trends in Modification of Child Support and Alimony

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The number of divorced clients seeking changes to their existing child support and alimony payments is increasing, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).

Bad economic conditions induce many divorced spouses to either seek more money from ex-partners or try to reduce the amount they pay. Requests to increase alimony and child support payment amounts coincide with the worsening economic conditions. The number of clients requesting reduced child support and alimony payments also rose.

As job losses and pay cuts have increased, so have the requests for modified payment orders. 

 The AAML figures show that 39 percent of divorce attorneys acknowledged seeing a marked increase in recent child support modification orders and 42 percent saw a rise in the number of request to modify alimony payments, too. By comparison, just 5 percent of AAML attorneys reported a decrease in child support modifications and 6 percent reported a decrease in alimony modifications.

Support Must Be Paid

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Child support must be paid, and the custodial parent may not deny the supporting parent visitation is he or she does not pay.

This situation comes up when the noncustodial parent, who is usually that father, falls behind in his child support, and the custodial parent, who is usually the mother, decides that his delinquency justifies shutting him out of his children’s lives. This she cannot do. In the eyes of the judge, child support and child visitation are separate issues. Courts frown on parents even attempting to use one to leverage the other. Child support is not payment for the privilege of visitation. A custodial mother whose former husband fails to pay child support must go to court; she cannot take matters in her own hands with a lockout.

Denying visitation may make the equally ill-informed noncustodial parent feel justified about not paying child support.

Teen years mean “…all sorts of new costs”

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

The divorced parents of teenagers very often come into conflict and disagreement about the expenses associated with their children in these years. Divorce parenting means paying for a third or fourth computer for the children’s other home. And parents, particularly divorce parents who may feel twinges of guilt about the situation, are particularly vulnerable to the maneuverings of the adolescent children who want everything in sight.

It is easy to see how an enterprising teenager can pay one parent against the other when Mom says no to the iPhone and Dad say well, maybe…

These expenses are not small, and they easily exhaust normal child support payments.

Parents know that children are expensive to raise and parents do not look upon their offspring the same way they might a business expense. Nevertheless, divorcing parents should realize that their children become more expensive as they move into adolescence, and that the expenses are seldom covered by negotiated child support arrangements. “[P]rom expenses, cheerleading, sports gear, cars and car insurance, allowance and college visits and applications,” says a California Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial analyst, are only a few of the items that add up to “…all sorts of new costs.”

Imputed Income: Applied in Child Support Calculations and Alimony

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Sometimes, the husband argues that he cannot work anymore or does not have the income he had at the onset of the divorce, and the wife, in turn, contends that the income should be imputed, or attributed. He contends that he is struggling to survive as a novelist; she contends he is a willfully unemployed idler. She supports her contention by demonstrating that he has the ability to work and that the unemployment is elective.

This can happen during the trajectory of the divorce or when the parties appeal for modifications of alimony or child support as a result of a change in circumstance, but on this point, the wife has the law on her side. In general, for purposes of spousal and child support, courts consider the earning capacities of the parties, not their actual income. Courts view elective unemployment (idling) or underemployment as bad faith and remedy that with the legal fiction of imputed income, which makes the party responsible for the payment.

Courts impute income in two ways — the first, as a matter of fact, where the court considers the actual earnings of the spouse, and the second, as a matter of law, where the court considers the earning power of the party.

For example, a judge may impute a certain income level to a brain surgeon who abandons his profession to become a street musician because courts believe his family has a right to income that would have been provided had he paid “diligent attention” to his career. The rationale behind the imputation of income is that no one should be allowed to escape obligations by taking actions that make the fulfillment of such obligations impossible.

The desire of a woman to stay at home with small children is a good-faith reason for not imputing income to her, courts have found.

Covering the Issue of College Expenses for Your Children

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

When parents divorce, oftentimes the children are younger and possibly not even school age yet. They have not even thought about their child’s college support but in deciding to get married felt they wanted their child to attend post-secondary school. Now the marriage is unraveling and divorce is imminent. What to do about college expenses.

There is no set one way to come to terms of college support. Each state has their own way of dealing with college support and this “obligation”. If you want to make sure your child has a college education, this should be set out, in writing, as part of the divorce settlement/support obligation. If not, this support could possibly be lost.

It is best to discuss this issue with a lawyer or at the very least if both husband and wife are doing a pro se divorce, with each other and set forth specific details as to what is to be covered and what conditions should be placed on the child attending college. There are many different areas, including but not limited to the child’s attendance to classes enrolled in, living expenses, books, even doing laundry at school costs money. All the necessary expenses need to be addressed. Leave no stone un-turned in this area of support.

Imputing income for Support

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

If you or your spouse are not employed, the court will often impute income to determine what support amount should be paid. Imputing income is no more that coming up with a monthly income amount that the court feels the parent is capable of earning.

The court will typically look to the past three years of pay stubs or W-2s to try to average an amount. The court will also take into consideration the current job market as well as any non-repetitive bonuses or lump sum payments made by employers in the past.

The bottom line is that in cases where income must be imputed, the likely hood of the support obligation actually being paid is very slim. Even though an amount is imputed, does not mean the money is there to provide the support. The efforts made by the court are in hopes the obligated spouse will gain employment in the near future and recognize his or her financial obligation to the children.