Category Archives:Child support

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Dwayne Wade Calls Foul: Ex Violates Visitation Order

One of the hardest parts of divorce can be losing daily contact with your child. This can be especially difficult when the court issues a custody and visitation order that you think is unfair. Either parent, custodial or non-custodial, might want to ignore the visitation terms of the order. However, a California parent who violates a visitation agreement can face contempt charges among other penalties.
In the midst of the NBA Finals games, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has had to deal with his ex-wife’s violations of their visitation arrangement. The star is the father of two boys and is one of the few male professional athletes who have been awarded custody of his children. After a recent visit with her children, though, Wade’s ex-wife failed to return the children.
Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade (Photo credit: Keith Allison)
His sister was to pick up the children from the mother’s house and then take them to Miami so they could spend Father’s Day with Wade. However, when the sister went to pick up the children, there was no response at the house. After several hours, the sister called the police and was finally able to get the boys who were then flown to Miami to be with their father. The mother was charged with attempted child abduction, resisting arrest and unlawful visitation interference.
Wade has asked that the mother’s visitation rights be suspended after the violation. Not only is it troubling for a parent when the other refuses to cooperate with agreements, but it can be frightening for a child as well. Courts and law enforcement officials can get involved in these situations because of the danger that a child may be in.
It can be frustrating and upsetting when a parent violates the terms of a child support or custody order arrangement. From payment schedules to visitation hours, the guidelines of these agreements must be followed or a parent can face serious consequences.
You Can Enforce a Visitation Order
The parent who has not violated the visitation terms of a custody order can always take the other parent back to court to get the order enforced. This might happen if the child the parent lives with refuses to turn the child over to the other parent for visitation time. 
Conversely, the non-custodial parent might refuse to return the child after visitation. Judges will generally order make-up time to the parent who lost visitation with the child because of the other parent’s refusal. Many courts will also order both parents to attend counseling or mediation.
Contempt of Court for Violation of Visitation Order
When someone repeatedly abuses a visitation order, a judge can find that parent in contempt of court. This usually results in the violating parent having to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fees and legal fees for bringing the problem to the attention of a judge. Contempt can also result in the violating parent serving jail time. Usually, this is only for a short period of time if the parent promises to follow the visitation terms of the custody order in the future.
Criminal Charges for Violation of Visitation Order
In some states, interference with the visitation terms of a custody order  is a criminal offense. This is particularly true if the parent abuses the court order repeatedly. Some states are less strict about criminal charges than others. In some areas, the violating parent must keep the child for a period of days, in spite of the other parent’s objections, before the police will become involved.
Child Endangerment Changes the Rules
In some situations, a custodial parent can refuse to turn the child over for visitation. If the other parent has been drinking alcohol and is driving, for example, the custodial parents would be within rights to cancel the visit. If there is evidence that the child is being abused in the custodial parent’s home, a non-custodial parent can refuse to return a child to this dangerous environment. Since these situations are serious, you might need the help of an attorney to bring the problem to the attention of a judge
A Family Law Lawyer Can Help
California child custody is a complex issue that often requires legal assistance to handle. If court ordered custody and/or visitation have not been established, a parent will need to seek this type of ruling to ensure unhampered visitation.

Legal updates brought to you by the reputable Orange and Riverside County Law Firm firm of Don Ho, LLP.

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Terrell Owens: Child Support Troubles Again

English: Terrell Owens (T.O.) autographing for...
Image via Wikipedia
In California, there are many ways of enforcing child support orders.  Wages can be garnished and driver’s licenses or passports can be suspended or denied.  In fact, parents who do not pay child support they owe could even end up in jail.
A well-known professional athlete is currently facing such repercussions after allegedly owing more than $20,000 in child support.  Six-time Pro Bowl receiver Terrell Owens is believed to be facing a slew of money problems, including owing back child support.
According to reports, Melanie Paige Smith, the mother of one of Owens’ four children claims that child support for her daughter were not paid between December 2011 and February 2012.  She recently filed a petition in court asking that the football player be fined or jailed if he doesn’t start helping to support his daughter.  
In the midst of the NFL lockout last summer, Owens reportedly tried to have the $5,000 monthly child support payments be lowered to $2,500, but the request was rejected.
Owens has never been married, but has four kids with four different women, and each of them has taken him to court at one point.  A January article from GQ revealed that Owens owes close to $45,000 each month in child support for the children he has fathered.  He is also believed to have two Dallas homes in foreclosure.
Since Owens’ contract with the Cincinnati Bengals was not renewed for the 2011 season and no other NFL teams have picked him up, Owens is playing in the Indoor Football League.  Owens can reportedly make up to $500,000 per year in this league, which would not be enough to cover child support alone.
In California, child support obligation are determined on the current obligor’s ability to pay.  Although child support orders are viewed as permanent, when there is a change in circumstances, either the paying or non-paying parent can request a child support modification.
Legal updates brought to you by Orange County law firm of  Don Ho, LLP.
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Who Should Pay for College Tuition After Divorce?

With the state of the economy and the exponentially increasing cost of college tuition, many parents are finding themselves struggling with how they are going to pay for their children to go to college.  For parents going through divorce, the situation is even more complicated and emotional.  After all, for divorcing parents, it’s not just a matter of “how,” but also “who” is going to pay for college tuition.
keith's child support
Keith’s Child Support by Sean Durham

Although state laws vary, under many of them, the obligation for child support ends when a child reaches eighteen years of age.  Beyond that cut-off, are divorced parents obligated to pay for their children’s college education?

If you are contemplating divorce and have children who are –or will be –attending college, keep in mind that unless ordered by the courts, there is typically no legal obligation to pay college tuition.  Therefore, in the absence of a court order, one of the best ways to plan for the future is to include the obligation in your divorce settlement agreement. 
Divorce settlement agreements should specifically include a written college support agreement in addition to any other child support agreements.  A college support agreement is a written plan for how the parents will handle sending their child to college.  
A college support agreement typically includes details relating to college expenses.  Parents can divide the costs utilizing a percentage system, set out exact amounts each parent will pay or divide it up in terms of type of costs.  When discussing costs relating to college, in addition to tuition you may want to consider room and board, books, extracurricular activities and a monthly allowance.  Additionally, such an agreement can include details beyond financial terms.  Restrictions or requirements can be set on the type of college, the distance away from home, whether there can be or should be religious requirements and so much. 
Take the time early on to alleviate concerns over your family’s future monetary and emotional well-being by devising cost-effective strategies to pay for college expenses.
Legal updates brought to you by Orange County and Riverside Law firm of Don Ho, LLP. 
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Turning to Mediation in Tough Economic Times

In tough economic times, it is important to find ways to ease the cost of divorce, both emotionally and financially.  One way to do this is by taking advantage of mediation.  Mediation has always made sense for a lot of couples, and is even more attractive in today’s tough economy.
Why Mediation?
Though the mediation process can often be misunderstood, it can also be a highly viable alternative to litigation.  Although mediation may not be the right path for all divorcing couples — particularly in instances where domestic abuse is present, judgment is impaired by drugs or alcohol or a spouse is hiding assets — it does have significant advantages over courtroom litigation for many people.
 Here are some reasons why mediation is a good option for many divorcing couples:
  1. It can be less expensive than litigating a divorce in court;
  2. It can offer privacy as California law protects settlement discussions in mediation as confidential;
  3. It allows the parties in a divorce to have more control of the outcome, rather than a judge; and
  4. It can be a more amicable way to part ways, which can prevent hostility for years down the road, especially if children are involved.
    Issues for Mediation
    The mediator will typically mediate the following issues:
    • Child Custody and parenting plan
    • Support including: Child Support; Spousal Support; Family Support
    • Property division
    The Mediation Process
    Whether you have been referred to mediation by the courts or have chosen to initiate mediation on your own, the first step is to secure a qualified mediator and schedule a time that is best for all of the parties involved.

    Initial Appointment: Once a mediator has been selected, an initial appointment is held during which both spouses attend and the general goals of the parties are discussed.  During this appointment, a written agreement between the parties themselves as well as the mediator will be reviewed and signed and the mediator will assign certain tasks at this initial meeting, such as bringing in certain documentation for the next meeting.

    Subsequent Appointments: A series of subsequent appointments are then conducted.  Most of these appointments will involve both spouses and the mediator but sometimes the mediator may have individual meetings with only one spouse.  The number of appointments will depend on the number of issues the spouses need to negotiate and the degree to which they are willing to compromise.  The frequency of appointments is scheduled according to how much time spouses need to complete “homework assignments” and/or to “think” between sessions.
    Agreement:  The mediator will make detailed notes of agreements as they are reached during the sessions.  Once all issues are resolved as a result of the mediation sessions, the mediator will draft a settlement agreement which summarizes all agreements that have been made.  It is recommended that each spouse take the agreement to a “consulting attorney” to look over the final document before signing. Once signed, the document is sent to Court for approval by the Judge and the matter is concluded.
    Legal updates brought to you by  the Orange and Riverside County Family Law firm of Don Ho, LLP.
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