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Child Support Cases and News Items

January 13, 2005

United States v. Venturella, 391 F.3d 120 (United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, December 8, 2004): For purposes of the Deadbeat Parents Act, the term “resides” in the statute prohibiting knowingly and willfully failing to pay a past due support obligation greater than $10,000 with respect to minor children residing in another state, denoted residency, rather than domicile.

N.E. v. Hedges, No. 04a0437p.06 (United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, December 4, 2004): In yet another case where a father argued that he should not have to pay child support because he did not plan the pregnancy with the mother (“His basic claim is that the mother of the child ‘fraudulently induced’ sexual intercourse, claiming that her birth control pills would prevent pregnancy, then left the state, married another man, and delayed seeking child support for several years after birth.”), the court imposed a child support obligation, noting, “Child support has long been a tax fathers have had to pay in Western civilization.” (Ed. note: What makes this case appalling, even more so that the fact that numerous cases have rejected these arguments, is that the father here is an attorney.)

Walters v. Weiss, 392 F.3d 306 (United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, December 17, 2004): Due process did not require the state agency responsible for collecting, distributing, and disbursing child support payments to provide more detailed information in notices accompanying support payment checks so that custodial parents could readily identify and challenge any errors in state’s practices for recouping prior overpayments, inasmuch as custodial parents conceded that information being provided by state satisfied statutory and regulatory requirements, and state’s interest in avoiding burdensome procedures requested by custodial parents far outweighed custodial parents’ interest in avoiding risk of erroneous deprivation and probable value of requiring additional procedures.

Elsenheimer v. Elsenheimer, 22 Cal. Rptr.3d 447 (California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, December 17, 2004): Income derived from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits must be excluded from determination of parent’s gross income when calculating child support, and thus noncustodial parent was not entitled to downward modification of child support order, based on custodial parent's receipt of SSI benefits.

Florida Department of Revenue v. Kaiser, No. 4D03-4038 (Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District, December 22, 2004): Income could be imputed to father who was underemployed in a six-dollar-an-hour job as landscaper in Sarasota, where he had work experience in successfully starting and running two companies in Palm Beach County, and he chose not to reestablish the company in Palm Beach County because of the time he would spend commuting to see the children in Sarasota.

Metz v. Metz, 101 P.3d 779 (Nevada Supreme Court, December 9, 2004): Both supplement security income (SSI) and social security disability benefits (SSD) qualify as a source of a parent’s gross monthly income, for the purposes of calculating the parent’s child support obligation under Nevada law.

Storey v. Storey, No. A-1830-03T3 (New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, December 15, 2004): Even though a husband initially lost his job due to a RIF (reduction in force), when he replaced his job as a computer specialist with a $300/week job as a massage therapist, the court could impute income because he was voluntarily underemployed.

Davis v. Davis, No. 2004 N.Y. Slip Op. 09632 (New York Appellate Division, Second Department, December 27, 2004): Income could be imputed to father who was permanently partially disabled, because he made no effort to find a job in another line of work that was not as physically demanding as his former job as a bricklayer. Thus, he was not entitled to downward modification of his child support obligation based on changed circumstances arising from his job loss.

In re Paternity of K.B., No. 2004 OK CIV APP 97 (Oklahoma Civil Appeals, Division 3, December 10, 2004): A fifteen-year-old father who was the victim of an uncharged act of criminal sexual conduct when he conceived a child with 19-year-old mother was liable to pay child support. The state’s interest in requiring juvenile parents to support their children overrode its interest in protecting juveniles from improvident acts, and father was not an innocent victim since he voluntarily engaged in sexual intercourse with the mother.

Kimble v. Ellis, 101 P.3d 950 (Wyoming Supreme Court, December 10, 2004): The wife, as the custodial parent, did not have the authority to waive her right to reimbursement from ex-husband for monies spent because of the failure of the ex-husband to maintain his child support obligations, and therefore, parties’ agreement wherein the ex-wife agreed to relinquish any right to pursue recovery of monies she had expended prior to the emancipation of the parties’ children in exchange for a lump sum settlement was never valid and was not enforceable.

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