Financial:The antiquated notion of the wife staying at home with the kids while the husband worked as the family’s sole breadwinner is quickly becoming a thing of the past. However, men are continually viewed as nothing more than a money pit when it comes to the determination of alimony and child support payments.
By Tara N. Brewer
During divorce proceedings, it's quite difficult to divide assets without the accurate amount. Some troubled couples tend to hide money from each other to avoid sharing it in divorce.
If one person solely handles the household's financial affairs, it’s easier to hide assets. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 31% of U.S. adults who combined assets with a spouse or partner admit to being deceptive about money.
However, as the Wall Street Journal reports, hiding assets from your spouse has become increasingly difficult due to the proliferation of electronic discovery research.
Paying child support can be a frustrating experience, especially when the child is not biologically yours. A CBS article reported a Dallas man was jailed because it was alleged he owed more than $50,000 in unpaid child support to a child that turned out was not his.
The passing of a new Texas paternity law that gives men who doubt paternity a chance to file a claim allowed the man to contest the accusation that he was the biological father. After a DNA paternity test disproved the claim of paternity, the man was released from jail.
By Daniel Lambert
Cordell & Cordell Family Law Attorney
Where I practice, child support is set in paternity actions pursuant to each party's income and the placement/visitation schedule awarded to each party. Child support only becomes effective through an order of the court. If there is no court order for child support, then a party would have to request child support.
It is not possible in some states to waive child support entirely. It is possible to deviate from the set child support schedules established by the state guidelines that require payment, though.
By Sara Pitcher
Cordell & Cordell Noblesville, Indiana Divorce Lawyer
Incarceration may be grounds for modifying your child support obligation. Your modified child support obligation would likely be based on your actual income while you are incarcerated, including any funds available to you for paying support.
The Indiana Supreme Court case of Lambert v. Lambert stated that the father's pre-incarceration income could not be imputed to him for the purposes of calculating his child support obligation for the period of time during which he was to be incarcerated.
With men representing 97% of alimony payors, alimony reform has become a key mens rights issue.
States such as Massachusetts have already enacted sweeping alimony reform, while others, including New Jersey, are in the preliminary stages of updated archaic alimony laws.
Republican Assemblyman Sean Kean is one of the driving forces behind alimony reform in New Jersey. His resolution calling for the creation of a similar commission to study the state's alimony laws has gained momentum, according to the New York Times.
Assemblyman Kean talked to MensRights.com editor Matt Allen about New Jersey alimony reform and why protecting mens rights is so desperately needed.
One of the more visible issues challenging father's rights is that most men who are behind on child support are not unwilling to pay; they are unable to pay. And yet courts across the country continue to jail fathers for their inability to pay.
The article "Child Support: The 'Deadbeat Dad' Predicament" examined the issue of jailing "deadbeat dads," but this article looks at a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that addressed a landmark child support case.
In Turner v. Rogers, the South Carolina family court ordered petitioner Michael Turner to pay $51.73 a week to respondent Rogers. Mr. Turner, unemployed and financially strapped, was held in contempt of court five times for failure to pay. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail for the first four failures to pay. He ultimately paid what he owed.
For the fifth offense, Mr. Turner was sentenced to 6 months in the County Jail. He completed this, but was brought back to court again for support arrearages in the amount of $5,728.76. Neither party was afforded an attorney. The judge found Turner to be in willful contempt and sentenced him to 12 months in State Prison, but made no finding on Mr. Turner's ability to pay.
With the unemployment rate at 8.5 percent nationally, and the underemployment rate fluctuating around the 19 percent mark, divorced dads who fit into either of these categories are still being hauled off to jail in handcuffs for failure to pay child support.
The issue with jailing so-called "deadbeat dads" is more often than not Dad is not a criminal; he is just broke.
The Sixth Amendment, which is the right of a criminal defendant to counsel, does not extend to a nonpayment of child support action. Failure to pay child support is civil contempt, not criminal.
So Mom gets the state to prepare her court documents and argue her case, but indigent Dad gets nobody. In fact, a dad can be jailed for as long as a year at a time, without the state providing him any legal counsel.
Some of the most popular articles on MensRights.com deal with the facts and figures of discrimination against men and fathers that are so often overlooked by society and mainstream media.
This list of fathers rights facts is provided by the Father's Rights Council of Georgia, an organization dedicated to helping fathers learn their rights, use their rights, and build productive unhindered relationships with their children.
After establishing, enforcing, and collecting child support orders for several years before joining Cordell & Cordell, I have gotten to know the ins and outs of the child support system very well.
I have also heard probably every excuse under the sun for not paying or not wanting to pay child support, and the stark reality is the vast majority of men do not receive much sympathy from the court.
While there may be room for discretion or leeway in certain cases, it is a pretty narrow issue involving statutory guidelines, percentages, and a handful of formulas.
In my experience, the family court commissioners and judges will stay very close to those guidelines unless there is a very compelling reason to deviate. Each state has a strong interest in ensuring that the needs of all children born and living here are met. As a matter of law and public policy, the court upholds those principles.
The Florida alimony reform movement is gaining national attention. News anchor Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show "Anderson" will highlight alimony problems facing men in Florida and across the country in an upcoming episode.
Florida's leading reform group, Florida Alimony Reform, says with no guidelines in the current Florida alimony laws, awards often last until death, and payments can be more than 70 percent of a payer's income. Permanent alimony is often awarded to alcoholics, criminals, and to women who commit adultery and leave their husbands.
Alan Frisher, a divorce financial analyst and co-director of Florida Alimony Reform, told a Florida TV station that the state's antiquated alimony laws are "causing people to go into bankruptcy, to fight a system where the only solution is to either pay or be incarcerated."