Attack on Low Income Parents by Top Democrat Legislators in 2013

The average child support order in the state is around $200/month.  Yet, there are many parents with lower child support orders due to their low income levels.  The mandatory minimum child support order is $100/month.

Yet that did not stop certain top legislators, specifically Senator Peterson, Senator Morrell, and Representative Brossett from seeking to further penalize low income parents. Continue reading

What happens when your attorney agrees to something you did not authorize?

Today reaffirmed to me that the most important thing in a custody dispute is to have a competent attorney not afraid to challenge a judge.

I want to repeat the above statement over and over and over.

I did not wake up one morning and decide that I was going to become an expert in family law.  I know what I know because my attorney years ago entered me into an agreement without my consent.  I recall throwing a fit in the hallway not realizing the judge was standing 5 feet from me.

I spent four years, about $100,000 and a United States Supreme Court writ to resolve the issue created by a careless agreement made without my permission.

 

Over and over and over again, Ladads gets involved with cases and over and over and over again we discern that the attorney made a decision without the consent of the client and that the attorney refused to file proper paperwork out of fear of “pissing off” the judge.  The excuse is always, “oh judge, I will get my client to agree, I will get him to understand”.  Judges are not gods; it is only the trial attorneys, through their inaction, that make judges believe that they are gods.  Hell, we “pray” to the court for relief…no wonder judges think they are gods.

I can say this without hesitation….never, never, never agree to be absent during any pre-trial conference. Always, always, always ensure that any conference with the judge is memorialized in some form or fashion.  Never, never, never let your attorney make a decision without your approval.  I can’t stand attorneys who take the whole “trust me, I am in charge” attitude.  Keep your client in the loop!!!!  Having said that however…..I didn’t say that you have to be in the middle of the verbal debate.  Be present…shut up……and let your attorney argue for you….but never be absent, always be aware of what is going on, and MAKE SURE your attorney explains to you what is going on.

Attorneys often make their living in front of the same judge.  If your attorney expresses fear about sticking up for you, strongly consider getting a new attorney.  A judge should respect an attorney who is willing to go to war for their client.  At the end of the day, the attorney should understand that representing their client is more important than the fall-out from pissing off their god.

To answer the question the title of this post presents, be prepared to throw yourself at the mercy of the court in hopes of undoing what your authorized representative got you into.

Parental Authority

I observed two family law attorneys discuss when an  unwed father is able to exercise parental authority. 

When a married woman has a child then by law both mommy and daddy have the exact legal authority over the child (well, actually Dad has more authority but I will save that for another discussion).  If they split up, they still exercise equal authority until a court says otherwise.  When an unwed mother has a child, by law, no father is placed on the birth certificate (unless Mom and dad both agree otherwise) and therefore Mom has all the legal authority.

I have always been taught that an unwed father can only assert parental authority over a child in two ways: 1) by court order; or 2) the mom consents to having the father placed on the birth certificate.

Two family law attorneys were arguing and one asserted that when a man signs an acknowledgement  of paternity then he has as much right to the child even without being placed on the birth certificate (remember, Mom still has to consent to Dad being on the birth certificate or Dad has to go get a court order).  Essentially, the attorney argued that once the Dad signs the acknowledgement then it was a matter of time before the birth certificate could be modified. 

Support Enforcement often requires the parents to sign an acknowledgment before collecting child support.  The Dad in turn has to take the acknowledgement to get a court order  to be placed on the birth certificate (because moms don’t usually agree to amendments to the BC because it gives the Dad parental authority).  GOING TO GET THE ORDER IS THE EXPENSIVE PART.  This is the primary reason why so many unwed fathers don’t get more rights because they have to go to court to force themselves onto the birth certificate. 

This is important because the attorney was suggesting that unwed fathers have equal rights to the child the moment that the acknowledgment is signed…..even without any further action in court.  Many women sign the acknowledgment thinking that is what they have to do to get child support without giving Dad parental authority.  Well, not according to at least one family law attorney.  He says signing the acknowledgment grants a Dad the same right as being on the birth certificate….interestng.  This would certainly be contrary to what virtually every unwed father is told when he is dragged into court for child support and told he has to adjudicate his legal rights to the child separately.  I have always preached that when you go to court for child support to make sure you get the judge to order that you be placed on the BC.  Though the attorney may be right, I think it is still safe to get added to the BC just in case.  A BC with my name as Dad sure looks a lot more solid than an acknowledgment. to lay persons (like cops, principals at a school, etc.)

It Is Not A Dollar-for-Dollar Reduction/Increase in Most Cases Guys!

It seems that I have to explain this over and over and over again….and sometimes to attorneys.

Let’s say you pay $1000 per month in child support PLUS $400 DIRECTLY to a daycare center to pay all the monthly daycare expenses.  For the sake of discussion, let’s assume child support was calculated with both parents earning the same amount of money (meaning the parents split the total support obligation 50/50.

Question: What is the basic support obligation for both parents? (everything you need to know is in the paragraph above)

Answer: $2400

Question: What is the total support obligation for both parents?

Answer: $2800 (basic obligation + daycare)

Explanation: Since the non-custodial parent is paying all the daycare directly then that parent must have received a $200 credit (half of $400 since the split is 50/50) meaning his half of the basic obligation must actually be $1200.  Since child support in this scenario was based upon the parents having the same income then logically the basic support support obligation of both parent is $1200 x 2 = $2400.

The second answer is easy: $2400 + total daycare

So what happens when daycare is no longer required?

Total support obligation now becomes $2400 ($2800-$400).  Parents split the obligation and the non-custodial parent gives the custodial parent $1200….NOT $1000

Bet you thought that once daycare was dropped that the $400 would come off the top and $1000 would be owed.  What you fail to realize is that you were already given a $200 credit when you were giving the custodial parent only $1000.

I see it time and time again that judges and attorneys often have a hard time with this.

(Total Support Obligation of Both Parents) x (Your Percentage of Total Income) Minus (Direct Payments)=Child Support

With Daycare:

($2800  x  .50) minus $400 = $1000

No Daycare:

($2400  x  .50)= $1200

The reverse works the same of course.  If the custodial parents want to use the daycare again, he/she would only get a $200 increase in child support for a $400 expense.

The ONLY time the amounts change dollar-for-dollar is when the custodial parent has no income (which should only occur if he/she is caring for your child while under the age of five).  Be sure to appeal anytime a judge does not impute income to a custodial parent who just wants to sit back and collect child support.

And of course, make sure you get a good family law attorney.

If you think this is complicated;  try this:  Daddy makes $4000/month and Mama makes $1500/month.  Daycare is $388 per month paid by Mama.  Daddy pays dance lessons in the amount of $30 per week.  Daddy also pays Blue Cross for health insurance in the amount of $115 per month.  Daddy pays child support for another child from a previous marriage in the amount of $500 per month but it is not court ordered.

Daddy loses in court and mama is made domiciliary parent.  There is one child under the age of five.  What does Daddy pay Mama in child support?

Once you get the Basic Support Obligation from the statutes then the answer is rather simple.

HOUSE BILL NO. 343 BY REPRESENTATIVE LIGI AND SENATOR APPEL

HB343
BY REPRESENTATIVE LIGI AND SENATOR APPEL

 

Not much of a change proposed here either.

Jury trials are still prohibited in all domestic matters.

- custody

- visitation

- alimony

- child support

- emancipation

- interdiction

- curatorship

- filiation

- annulment of marriage

- or divorce proceeding

 ain’t that a shame !

 

The ‘home cooking’ will continue.

 

HLS 12RS-993 ORIGINAL
Page 1 of 2
CODING: Words in struck through type are deletions from existing law; words underscored
are additions.
Regular Session, 2012
HOUSE BILL NO. 343
BY REPRESENTATIVE LIGI AND SENATOR APPEL
CIVIL/JURY TRIALS: Provides with respect to the availability of jury trials in certain civil
matters
1 AN ACT
2 To amend and reenact Code of Civil Procedure Article 1732, relative to limitation on jury
3 trials; to provide relative to the amount in controversy required for a jury trial; and
4 to provide for related matters.
5 Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:
6 Section 1. Code of Civil Procedure 1732 is hereby amended and reenacted to read
7 as follows:
8 Art. 1732. Limitation upon jury trials
9 A trial by jury shall not be available in:
10 (1) A suit brought pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 3 of Title V of Book
11 III of the Civil Code, where the amount of no individual petitioner’s cause of action
12 exceeds five thousand dollars exclusive of interest and costs.
13 (1) (2) A suit, other than one brought pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title V of
14 Book III of the Civil Code, where the amount of no individual petitioner’s cause of
15 action exceeds fifty thousand dollars exclusive of interest and costs.
16 (2)(3) A suit on an unconditional obligation to pay a specific sum of money,
17 unless the defense thereto is forgery, fraud, error, want, or failure of consideration.
18 (3)(4) A summary, executory, probate, partition, mandamus, habeas corpus,
19 quo warranto, injunction, concursus, workers’ compensation, emancipation,
HLS 12RS-993 ORIGINAL
HB NO. 343
Page 2 of 2
CODING: Words in struck through type are deletions from existing law; words underscored
are additions.
1 tutorship, interdiction, curatorship, filiation, annulment of marriage, or divorce
2 proceeding.
3 (4)(5) A proceeding to determine custody, visitation, alimony, or child
4 support.
5 (5)(6) A proceeding to review an action by an administrative or municipal
6 body.
7 (6)(7) All cases where a jury trial is specifically denied by law.

 

DIGEST
The digest printed below was prepared by House Legislative Services. It constitutes no part of the legislative instrument. The keyword, one-liner, abstract, and digest do not constitute part of the law or proof or indicia of legislative intent. [R.S. 1:13(B) and 24:177(E)]  Ligi HB No. 343
Abstract: Provides for access to jury trials for tort suits where the cause of action amounts to greater than $5,000.
Present law prohibits certain suits from being tried before a jury, including suits where no individual petitioner’s cause of action exceeds $50,000.

Proposed law retains present law and provides for tort suits, which have a cause of action amounting to greater than $5,000, to be tried before a jury.
(Amends C.C.P. Art. 1732)

HB224 by Armes – Provides relative to enforcement of child support by income assignment

There is not much of a change in this law.  They are repeatedly deleting the word ‘employer or payor’ and going with ‘payor’.

There may need to be a change made to the substance of this law.

This law prohibits an employer from being held liable for honoring an income assignment order.  So does this protect an employer if that income assignment order is in excess of 50% of the persons net income – see R.S. 13:3881.

Perhaps the law needs to be tweaked so that it is clear that an employer that is overzealous in enforcing an abusive income assignment order can still be held liable per R.S. 13:3881.

 

 

HLS 12RS-903 ORIGINAL
Page 1 of 2
CODING: Words in struck through type are deletions from existing law; words underscored
are additions.
Regular Session, 2012
HOUSE BILL NO. 224
BY REPRESENTATIVE ARMES
CHILDREN/SUPPORT: Provides relative to enforcement of child support by income
assignment
1 AN ACT
2 To amend and reenact R.S. 46:236.3(E)(1)(a), (G), and (O), relative to child support
3 enforcement; to provide forwithholdings for support; to providewith respect to civil
4 liability of persons who honor an income assignment order; and to provide for
5 related matters.
6 Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:
7 Section 1. R.S. 46:236.3(E)(1)(a), (G), and (O) are hereby amended and reenacted
8 to read as follows:
9 §236.3. Enforcement of support by income assignment
10 * * *
11 E.(1)(a) Upon receipt of a notice to withhold, the payor of income shall
12 withhold from the income of the obligor the amount ordered for support, as it
13 becomes due, together with an additional sum, determined by the obligee, subject to
14 the limitations provided byR.S. 13:3881, to discharge the past due amount, and shall
15 continue the withholding each pay period or each singular or periodic payment until
16 further order of the court or until the requirements in Subparagraph (1)(b) of this
17 Subsection Paragraph have been met. The employer or payor of income must shall
18 implement withholding no later than the first pay period or first singular or periodic
19 payment that occurs following receipt of the notice of income assignment and must
20 shall remit amounts withheld within seven days.
21 * * *
HLS 12RS-903 ORIGINAL
HB NO. 224
Page 2 of 2
CODING: Words in struck through type are deletions from existing law; words underscored
are additions.
1 G. Any person whose income is assigned under the provisions of this Section
2 shall advise the court of any change in his employment during the effective period
3 of assignment and shall advise the court of the name and address of any new
4 employer or payor of any singular or periodic payment of income. The information
5 required herein shall be filed with the clerk of court on a form which shall be
6 developed and distributed by the Department of Children and Family Services. The
7 employer or payor of a person whose income is assigned under the provisions of this
8 Section shall inform the assignee in writing within ten days when the obligor
9 terminates employment or the payment of income terminates and provide the
10 obligor’s last known address and the name and address of the obligor’s new
11 employer, if known. Any person who violates the provisions of this Subsection may
12 be found guilty of contempt of court.
13 * * *
14 O. An employer A payor who complies with a notice to withhold issued in
15 accordance with this Section shall not be subject to civil liability to any person or
16 agency with regard to the employer’s payor’s withholding of support from the
17 obligor’s income.
DIGEST
The digest printed below was prepared by House Legislative Services. It constitutes no part
of the legislative instrument. The keyword, one-liner, abstract, and digest do not constitute
part of the law or proof or indicia of legislative intent. [R.S. 1:13(B) and 24:177(E)]
Armes HB No. 224
Abstract: Deletes references to “employer” relative to provisions involving income
assignment orders for the purposes of child support enforcement.
Present law provides for an income assignment by the court directing a payor to withhold
a certain amount for current support. Provides that an employer shall not be civilly liable
for honoring an income assignment order.
Proposed law retains present law except it provides for a change in terminology to allow for
consistency throughout proposed law.
(Amends R.S. 46:236.3(E)(1)(a), (G), and (O))

‘Dastardly Dads’ Blog

Nick sent me a link to a blog that appears to be anit-family and, in particular, anti-father (Dastardly Dads).

This blogger, who was likely abused as a child, writes:

Fathers Rights folks blame moms for child abuse. WRONG! Sexual assault, abusive head trauma, and other forms of violent/fatal child abuse are dominated by dads, stepdads, and caretaker boyfriends (60 – 90%). And as more dads are providing child care (either because mom is working and can’t find other care, or because dads are increasingly getting unsupervised visitation/custody through the family courts), more dads are are being found guilty of basic child abuse and neglect. Who’d a thunk it? 

Well, obviously I disagree (and I love the “60%-90%” statistic that was pulled right out of the sky).  “Who’d a thunk?” is what this blogger asks.  Well, I blame those responsible for the abuse regardless of the sex of the offender.  We don’t fabricate stories and blame the other parent; but some do.

This little blog apparently tracks cases accross the nation and posts alledged instances of abuse perpetrated by men.  Of course, there is never any mention of abuse involving mothers.  Regardless, I am horrified by any reports of abuse against a child no matter the sex of the offender.  Though I would suggest to this blogger that she is wrong for the record.  Women and men abuse children at about an equal rate.  Abuse comes in all forms whether it be emotional or physical.  Depriving a child of a loving parent for example is a form of abuse.

Perhaps if the author of the blog had had a good father growing up then she would not write such things.  Oddly enough, we are fighting for the very thing the author of this blog was so clearly deprived of.

Bet I nailed it.