Articles from May 2012



Woman who sent adopted boy back to Russia must pay $1,000 a month

What an amazing thing for this woman to do…. just put the poor kid on a plane with his passport and letter saying she didn’t want him anymore!  Now he’s in an orphanage.  Can you imagine how he feels.  Let’s pray that someone comes to his rescue.

An American woman who set off an international furor when she sent a Russian child whom she had adopted back to Moscow, has been ordered to pay $1,000 a month in child support and $150,000 in various fees.

It was in April 2010 that Artyom Saveliev, then 7 years old, arrived in Moscow by plane from Washington, with a note from his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, saying that she was returning the child she had adopted in 2009 because the boy was unbalanced, violent and that she no longer wanted him. The child arrived with a backpack full of clothes, a Russian passport with a U.S. visa and the mother’s letter canceling the adoption.

The move set off international complaints from Russians, already unhappy with an adoption process that sent children to the United States. Russia is one of the largest sources of foreign adoptions for U.S. families, with about 400 children sent abroad each year.

Russians were also angry at how the boy was treated and abandoned. He now lives in an orphanage in Tomilino, a Moscow suburb. (more…)

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Tennessee man dubbed ‘Octodad’: Questions and more questions

30 children with 11 women?  I think I’d take vows in some monastary some place!

Desmond Hatchett

Desmond Hatchett of Knoxville, Tenn., has 30 children with 11 women, according to officials and media reports. (WREG / May 18, 2012)

By Rene LynchMay 21, 2012, 1:09 p.m.

Just where is Octodad? That’s perhaps the most pressing question — among the many — pertaining to Desmond Hatchett, a Knoxville, Tenn., man who reportedly has so many children that he’s struggling to keep up with child-support payments.

Hatchett, nicknamed Octodad by various media outlets, gained considerable notoriety last week after WREG in Memphis posted a story and video describing his struggles to keep up with child-support payments for his 30 children.

To say the story went viral would be an understatement. It was republished, reposted, tweeted, shared and commented on thousands and thousands of times. We wrote about it as well on Friday. That story alone was shared more than 26,000 times.

One of the most common questions among readers who have called, e-mailed and commented on the story is this: If Hatchett is having trouble paying child support for these children, who is paying for them? Tennessee taxpayers?

That question adds weight to another question: Just how many children does Hatchett really have?

Hatchett does indeed hold the record for the most children in Knox County, according to Melissa Gibson, an assistant supervisor with the child-support clerk’s office. But she said Friday that she didn’t immediately have the precise number of offspring available.

WREG reported that he has 30 children by 11 different women. The TV station additionally added these details: Nine of those children came about in the last three years — and they range in age from toddler to 14.

Now, back to the “Where is he?” question: A man named Desmond Hatchett from Knoxville, Tenn., has been behind bars at the Morgan County Correctional Complex since November 2009 following an aggravated-assault conviction.

Dorinda Carter, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Correction, confirmed this to the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

The Desmond Hatchett in custody might — or might not — be the same man. (The man behind bars is 32 years old, and local media have said the Octodad Hatchett is 33.)

The math and the kids’ ages could work out if Hatchett was, ahem, especially active just in advance of November 2009. But still, it does suggest that the first question people ask when they hear of his case — “30 kids? Really?” — might also be the most basic question. (more…)

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Melissa Etheridge to pay child support in split with partner

It’s amazing how high some of these child support awards can get.  Who would have ever dreamed that such a scenario as this would be possible.

Singer Melissa Etheridge has settled her nasty two-year child support battle with her ex-girlfriend.

Etheridge and actress Tammy Lynn Michaels ended their seven-year relationship in 2010, and they’ve been locked in a bitter war of words over their 5-year-old twins Johnnie and Miller ever since.

Last month, Michaels launched a legal battle against the Grammy Award winner, seeking a hike in monthly child custody payments, which were previously set at $23,000, but on Monday the former couple finally came to an undisclosed agreement as part of a court-ordered mediation.

According to TMZ.com, the pair will share joint custody of the kids and sources tell the site Michaels’ monthly figure will be substantially higher.

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ANCPR Discussion Forum now online

After a long hiatus, the ANCPR Discussion Forum is now back online.  Please use it to post questions about your personal cases as well as to comment on anything you wish having to do with Family Law issues.  Just click on the Discussion Forum button above.

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MN child custody reform bill inching close to passage

This issue always gets debated, and then just dropped.

With attention fully on the Vikings stadium issue, a bill that would change child custody proceedings for divorcing parents in Minnesota is quietly inching its way closer to the governor’s desk.

The latest version of HF322 would simply increase the presumed time each divorcing parent would get with his or her kids from 25 percent to 35 percent. (The remaining 30 percent of time would be figured out through mediation or divorce proceedings.) The Senate held a second reading of the bill Monday.

Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, had initially authored the bill with more complex reforms that would affect the calculations of child support payments. She also wanted to create a presumption of true shared custody — at 45.1 percent for each parent. The bill also included a new concept for Minnesota law – virtual parenting time — and would have required courts to consider the use of wireless and video technology to help children remain connected to both of their parents. A version of her bill with these provisions passed the House last month by an 80-53 vote.

Those concepts don’t exist in the bill before the Senate. While Scott said that was somewhat disappointing, she would be happy with the passage of a bill that would take an incremental step toward shared custody. The percentages in law are just starting points for negotiations. But Scott said she felt 25 percent is too low, and encourages parents to fight too much in divorce proceedings to claim the remaining time with their children. A presumption of shared custody, she argued, would compel more constructive negotiations.

Not everyone agrees. In committee hearings, opponents argued that a presumption of shared custody is unrealistic and potentially harmful if it requires children to ping-pong back and forth between parents too much. They argued that a move toward shared custody might be easier on parents, but might not necessarily be in the best interests of their kids.

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Are more mothers paying child support and alimony?

I notice that a lot of attorneys don’t see and increase.

CHICAGO, May 8, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ – This Mother’s Day, it appears that an increasing number of moms will be setting aside time to sign child support and alimony checks.   Overall, 56% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say that they have seen an increase in the number of mothers paying child support during the past three years, while 47% also note a rise in women being responsible for alimony throughout the same time period, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).

“The court system always ends up reflecting changes in our society and this is certainly the case with issues regarding who pays child support and alimony,” said Ken Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  “As more women achieve success on their career paths, they are also finding themselves increasingly responsible for financial obligations during and after the divorce process.”

In all, 56% of AAML members cited an increase in mothers who pay child support, while 44% said no change, and there was not an observed decrease.   Additionally, 47% have noticed an increase in the number of women paying alimony, while 53% said no change.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/08/4474906/more-women-paying-child-support.html#storylink=cpy
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Importance of documenting child support payments

This article was written for NM, however, the same holds true wherever you are.  Be very careful about documenting everything concerning child support.  Be aware that some counties will actually not accept anything as proof, and so just charge the ncp with back child support.

Child support payments can become an extremely contentious issue among former partners. While non-custodial parents sometimes simply fail to pay their child support obligations, in other situations non-custodial parents pay child support regularly, but a vindictive custodial parent claims not to have received payment. For this and other reasons, it is important to keep accurate documentation and proof of every child support payment. Parents that chose not to document payments, or to pay in cash, face several serious consequences.

In general, New Mexico child support orders contain a mandatory wage withholding provision where child support payments are deducted directly from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. However, certain child support orders do not contain a wage withholding provision. This can happen if the non-custodial parent is unemployed or self-employed or both parents and the court come to an agreement on a different payment method.

Problems often arise in these situations when a non-custodial parent pays child support and the custodial parent claims that they did not receive the payments. The most difficult problems occur when the non-custodial parent has paid child support in cash and there is no documentation of the payment ever being made. Documentation of payment can be in the form of cancelled checks, money order receipts signed by both parents, cash receipts signed by both parents, bank statements, or any other form of record that shows support was paid by one parent and actually received by the other parent.

The New Mexico Human Services Department’s Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) enforces child support orders. If a dispute over payment of child support arises, under CSED regulations, the non-custodial parent has the burden of proving that payments were made; CSED does not have to prove that the non-custodial parent did not pay child support. If a parent cannot show proof of payment of child support, under CSED regulations child support has not been paid, the parent will not be given credit for undocumented payments, and CSED has the authority to obtain payment through several different methods, such as intercepting tax refunds.

If a non-custodial parent cannot prove that they paid their child support, then the custodial parent can initiate a CSED action to obtain the support payments that are allegedly due. If there is no possibility for wage garnishment because the parent is unemployed or self-employed, CSED may place a lien on property owned by the non-custodial parent, suspend driver’s and professional licenses, seize bank accounts, intercept federal and state tax refunds, and seek contempt fines and jail time.

Child support payments are also enforced under Federal Deadbeat Parent Punishment Act (“Deadbeat Dad Act”). Under the Deadbeat Dad Act, a parent that willfully fails to pay child support faces a prison sentence of up to two years and may be ordered to pay restitution.

In order to avoid having to prove child support payments should a custodial parent claim that payments were not received, a non-custodial parent can apply for CSED to collect and distribute payments. This will create a record of payments made by the non-custodial parent. Non-custodial parents who are self- employed may also be able to arrange for automatic funds transfers from their bank to CSED. Non-custodial parents often resist wage-withholding orders, but it can be the best way to ensure that they are given proper credit for all of their child support payments.

Child support issues can spiral out of control quickly, especially if one parent claims to have paid support and the other parent claims the contrary and if CSED is involved. For this reason, it is important to pay child support in a way that can be documented. If you are having problems with a former partner regarding child support payments, an experienced family law attorney will be able to identify your responsibilities under New Mexico law.

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