Child Support

child support

Show Topic

This show aired on July 9, 2017. It was hosted by David Enevoldsen, an associate with Family Law Guys. David discussed child support, the different models used in the United States to calculate child support (specifically, the Income Shares Model, the Percentage of Income Model, and the Melson Formula), the basic factual issues that are generally discussed when calculating child support in Arizona, underemployment for child support calculation, extra-curriculars in the child support equation, the non-dischargeable nature of child support in bankruptcy, the controversy surrounding child support, the ways people on either side of the equation try to manipulate what happens in litigation over child support, enforcement of child support, appointment of counsel in child support matters, the use of state-attorneys for enforcement, the “deadbeat” label, problems that can result in Glover issues potentially causing many thousands of dollars in arrears, and the possibility of reform in the system.

Headlines

Headlines on this show looked at Germany’s legalization of homosexual marriage, the fact that Malta is expected to legalize homosexual marriage, Tanzania’s criminalization of homosexual marriage and its reaffirmation of its position against same-sex relations, the filing of divorce by Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, a custody related-shooting related to Efrem Lozoya and Nereida Villanueva in Whittier, California, and the affirmation of 2015 criminal convictions related to Mendedl Epstein, Jay Goldstein, and Binayamin Stimler for kidnapping and beating husbands for refusing to grant divorces under Jewish law.

Did You Know

This show’s Did You Know looked at the Mantokuji Temple in the Gunma Prefecture in central Japan and its role in protecting women from abusive relationships or miserable divorce situations and the symbolism used therein utilizing toilets and writings flushed down the toilets. It also discussed the Temple’s pioneering role in women’s rights related to divorce.

Transcript of Show

Speaker 4:                         Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680, that's 480-565-8680.

Speaker 3:                         The discussions and information provided in Family Law Report are intended to be general in nature and or not directed for an individual circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is being formed through this program. If you need legal advice, your particular circumstances can vary from what is presented here, and you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

Speaker 4:                         Welcome to The Family Law Report, the show that explores issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. Hosted by David Enevoldsen, a practicing family law attorney in Arizona. Now here's your host.

David E.:                             Hello everybody, and welcome to Family Law Report. I'm your host David Enevoldsen, here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. Here on Family Law Report, we talk about all the current topics of family law. That can range from what's going on on the political arena to just basics like how do you work through the nuts and bolts of a divorce. I am a practicing attorney. Strangely enough, I work in the area of family law. When I saw family law, I mean basically anything related to marriage, divorce, custody fights, child support issues, prenuptial agreements, grandparents rights, all of that sort of thing.

                                             I'm a partner at a law firm here in Arizona called Family Law Guys. We focus principally on helping divorcing parents avoid getting screwed out of time with their children. We have offices in the Phoenix area. While we don't practice outside of Arizona, if you want to call us and talk about your case, you can schedule an appointment to do so by calling 480-565-8680. Or you can check us out on our website at www.familylawguys.com.

                                             On today's show, we're going to be talking about something that quite frankly is quite controversial. It's a topic that in some, strikes fear in their hearts, and others strike despair or anger or all sorts of things. We're going to be talking about, brace yourselves, sit down for a second ... You ready for this? Child support. It is quite an emotional topic in my experience. So, we're going to go through some of the ins and outs of all that.

                                             First, we're going to hit our headlines. In headlines this week, there are several more things. There's been a lot going on in the new recently in the family law universe. First off, if you listened to the last couple shows, we've been talking quite a bit about the gay marriage issues that have been hitting the legal universe all over the place. There's been a lot of stuff going on in the US. There was a recent US Supreme Court decision. There's an Arizona Court of Appeals issues. There's all sorts of ... Texas is dealing with stuff. Everybody is dealing with gay marriage issues.

                                             Well, this actually happened last Friday, but because we had so much other stuff, I didn't get to it. Germany is apparently now legalized gay marriage. Their parlament just passed a measure that now authorizes gay marriage. So, making Germany another one of thing nations in Europe that has legalized gay marriage. In fact, it makes them the 25 thing nation there. Certainly seems like there is an increasing movement, not just in the US, but all around the world that is increasingly recognizing the legal validity of a homosexual, same sex marriage.

                                             We're also seeing more of this continue to happen out in the European area. Malta, this week, has been passing a measure through their parlament. It's expected to actually pass on July 12th that would also legalize gay marriage. So, that's going on all over the place. Now that said, keep in mind that this is not the case everywhere. Also this week, we've got on the opposite end of this spectrum. Tanzania has got some stuff going on. If you're not familiar, Tanzania is in East Africa. There, we've got the opposite extreme where not only is gay marriage not legal there, but simply engaging in homosexual conduct at all is still criminal there.

                                             We've seen that. We've talked about that in several recent shows where if you were to engage in sodomy, or in some place just pecking a guy on the cheek if you're another guy, having any sort of behavior like that is still illegal, as in it's criminal. So, in Tanzania, they have a statue that reads that anyone, "who has colonel knowledge of any person against the order of nature is guilty of a crime." Not only are they guilty of a crime, but you can be in prison for up to 30 years there.

                                             So, if you have a sexual relationship with another person of the same sex, you could be in prison for 30 years for that act. On top of that in Tanzania, if you are guilty of "gross indecency" ... This interestingly only applies to men. It doesn't apply to women there. But you can face up to five years in prison plus a fine. So, just think about that for a second. If you're a same sex couple, and you just kiss your partner on the cheek, you can be in prison for five years plus have to pay fines on it.

                                             There reason that Tanzania is coming out on the press right now is they have just announced this basic crack down on homosexuality. The authorities there threaten to arrest supporter of gay rights, and kick them out of the country completely. In fact, this week, the Tanzania Home Affairs minister said, "Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things." Last week, the Tanzanian president, John Magufuli said, "Those whose teach such things do not like us. They brought us drugs and homosexual practices that even cows disapprove of." I thought was an interesting quote. It seems to be spawning from this idea that nature doesn't sync up with homosexual practices. You never see cows engaging in homosexual activity.

                                             This is supported by ... Recently, their Tanzania Deputy Health Minister said, "Have you ever come across a gay goat or bird. Homosexuality is not biological. It is unnatural." That seems to be one of the core tenants you see in the anti-homosexual rights universe is that it's not normal. It's not natural. It's not the things that would normally happen. Now, I find this contrast really interesting that we're finding this huge extreme. This debate is raging across the entire planet. It's not even just the US, although you certainly see the debate in the US.

                                             There has been quite a fight if you've been watching the cases that have been hitting recently. But it's everywhere. Not only are we fighting on the question of should we recognize homosexual marriage at all, but we're saying should we criminalize and actually put people in prison for engaging in homosexual conduct. I find this all really interesting. Obviously, it's going to continue going full for quite some time.

                                             In other news, shifting away from the homosexual marriage or homosexual relationship stuff for a second. Back on the celebrity divorce front ... And if you've listened in the past, you know that I'm fascinated by celebrity divorces, in large part, because I feel that they are very reflective of what normal people go through. We have all these celebrities, these idols, these people that we put up on pedestals, and we watch them. They go through divorces, and we see all the details of the divorce, and they're just like what you see in the day to day activities as I know when we're walking through divorces or custody fights or anything like that.

                                             On the celebrity divorce front, we've got Natalie Maines, who has been the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks. She just filed for divorce. She's married to Adrian Pasdar. If you don't know who he is, he's an actor. I'm going to nerd out here a little bit. I recognize him from a couple different shows. He's most well known for his role in Heroes, and he played a role in Agents of Shield. I'm not sure if I'm ashamed to admit it or if I'm proud to admit it, but I've seen both of those shows quite heavily. I'm kind of a nerd in case you haven't gotten that from my excitement just over family law in general, which is probably pretty nerdy in and of itself.

                                             She's been married to Adrian Pasdar. The two have been married for the past 17 years. They got married back in 200 at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. They have two sons, a 16 year and a 13 year old. Natalie has reported to have requested joint custody in her petition. Now, not unlike many of the celebrity divorces that we've seen. They are trying to keep it out of the press. In fact, a representative for Maines said, "It's a private family matter."

                                             So, seems like this happens over and over with the celebrity divorces. They know everybody is going to be peering into their lives, and they just want to shut everyone out. That's about all the information that's happened so far, but there is that divorce going on. So, we'll see if anything else pops up subsequent to that. In other news, we've got a ... This one is interesting to me because it comes out of Whittier, California, which is sort of my stomping grounds with I was in high school. It was in that area. It's out in Los Angeles County.

                                             Over there, there was, 38 year old Efrem Lozoya. He was at parenting exchange with his 33 year old ex wife. I'm going to butcher this name, Nereida Villanueva. Her new boyfriend was there as well. This was in this past week. Well, Efrem gets there and he shoots her and her boyfriend. Villanueva dies at the scene. They had two children, 7 and 9. The police aren't quite sure yet whether or not the children saw the whole thing. But the parties had been divorce for several years. This, to me, is just yet another situation. I articulate these, and I know these seem like small stories in the grand scope of what we're looking at, but I keep seeing these.

                                             We've seen several of these throughout the course of this show where we've got a divorce or a custody exchange or something, and people get so crazy emotional about this stuff. It very often escalates to a point of violence, to the point where people will kill each other, sometimes kill themselves. So, I articulate these because of a couple things. Number one, if you're going into that situation, you need to calm the heck down. You need to find a way to detach yourself from it, to get yourself in a place where you're not going to ruin your own life, where you're not going to go destroy other people's live, and or sabotage your own case because they're extremely dangerous.

                                             On the other side of the fence, you should be aware that people can escalate this stuff to violence. You need to be taking measure to number one, not escalate it to that point, so you can try to find a way to deescalate things, if it's all possible. But also to take some basic safety measures to protect yourself. Just keep in mind that even if there's a court order that says you're supposed to do things, it doesn't mean somebody's not going to kick in your door and start shooting the place up, or pulling out a knife, or doing whatever. So, be careful out there, and try to deescalate this stuff.

                                             All right. We're going to take a quick break. I am attorney David Enevoldsen here with Family Law Guys. When we return, we're going to be talking about our did you know, and we will talk about child support. If you want to call in and ask any questions, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX. You are tuned into Family Law Report on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

David E.:                             Welcome back to the Family Law Report. I am your host David Enevoldsen, attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm here with you every Sunday at noon at Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. You want to reach out and schedule an appointment with my firm, Family Law Guys, you can do so by calling 480-565-8680 or you can check us out on our website at www.familylawguys.com. If you are listening and you want to call in and ask any questions, share thoughts, tell me horror stories, tell me how amazing I am, anything like that, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX.

                                             Today, we are going to talking about child support. It's a terrifying thought. This should be like a Halloween episode because it's pretty scary or infuriating or angrying. It's kind of like watching a murder in a sense. Any rate, we're going to hit that. I want to hit one more headline and then I'm going to do our did you know just because there's been so much stuff in the headlines recently. Headline is actually spinning out of a 2015 case.

                                             Just as a little bit of background here, we did an article recently addressing Jewish law. There were some measures to try to past through parlament there, I believe, to change Jewish law. Because as it stands right now, you can't generally get a divorce without the consent of the husband. So, there's been a lot of situations where husband just says, "No, I'm not getting a divorce," and the wife is basically stuck. So, there's been this move to change that.

                                             Well, back in 2015, there were three rabbis in the US, Mendel Epstein, Jay Goldstein, Binyamin, excuse me for mispronouncing this, Stimler. They were all convicted of attempting to kidnap and torture husbands to get them to grant divorces. So, they were in these situations where the husband was being stubborn, didn't want to get the divorce. So, they conspired, basically, to get together and kidnap these people, which again, echos what I was saying a few minutes ago about how emotional and how violent people can get over these family law issues.

                                             The reason this is back in the press is the conviction happened back in 2015. The case went up on appeal in the federal court of appeals system to the third circuit. They were challenging questions of invasion of privacy and religious freedom. What happened was Friday, the third circuit issued a ruling that basically just affirmed the conviction. So, they're stuck. They've got these convictions there. Again, I feel like the reason for highlighting this is just because number one, there is a very interesting issue embedded within Jewish marital law.

                                             Number two, I feel like this is another reflection of the violence that can be implicit in the family court process when things just escalate out of control. People get so emotional that they just completely shut down all rational thought, and they lash out. Alternatively, people ignore the violence that can be coming their direction, or do things to escalate it where they react in such as way that they just fuel the same fire that's causing that violence.

                                             Again, calm down. Step away from things. Don't badger the other side. Find a way to get along if it's at all possible or at least minimize the conflict because it can impact you in very direct ways. And on the separate issue, I think we still need to further explore that the Jewish divorce system, which I find fascinating.

                                             All right. Did you know? That's all for the headlines ad. I just wanted to hit that last one because I found it really fascinating. On Did You Know, today, I wanted to look at ... There is a temple in Japan called [Montachugi 00:19:30] Temple. It is located in the Gunma Prefecture in central Japan. The reason that this is significant is in Japan long long time ago, you were not allowed as a woman to separate from your husband. The idea of divorce was just an alien concept. The Montachugi Temple stood out as a pioneer in women's rights in this respect.

                                             What they did was they held themselves out to women that were in these bad relationships. The women could essentially flee to the temple, and the temple would provide them some protection from their husbands, some degree of legal protect. It's a really fascinating, historical location. What you would do ... In fact, you can still go there and visit it and it's got these features. The most notable feature it has is that there's two toilets when you walk in. There's a black toilet and a white toilet. They have these symbolic references for each one. The white toilet is for cutting your ties.

                                             So, what you would do is as a women, you would walk in. You write a message on a piece of paper regarding the termination of this relationship you're trying to get away from. Then, you go in and you flush your written message down the toilet, thereby symoblizing this termination of the relationship, you getting out of it. Meanwhile, the black toilet is for strengthening ties or resolves, or kind of dictating where you're going to go from here on out. So, you do the same basic thing there. You write a message on a paper, flush it down the toilet, and then that, somehow, symbolizes this new move.

                                             My understanding is you can still go there. There is still women that go there. There's still women that go there all the time, and make all sorts of symbolic writings and flush them down the toilet. It can be things like, "I'm going to lose weight." Or anything like that. I found it an interesting backstory in terms of the Montachugi Temple over in Japan. Particularly in the way that way that it pioneered rights for women very long ago before women could really even get divorces. That is our Did You Know.

                                             Okay. Here we go. Child support. This is a super controversial one. What I want to do with child support here is first, I'm going to give you a little backdrop. I want to talk a bit about how child support works, the different theories involving child support. Then, I want to shift into why it is so controversial. As I said, this is one that just like nothing else in the world that I've experience, other than just straight political and religious things. It seems to inspire some of the most angry or depressing or vitriolic emotions that I've ever seen.

                                             It is just intense in this realm. So, let's talk about the academics stuff first. Child support, there are a couple different models, three in particular, that are used in the United States. They are specifically called the income shares model, the percentage of income model, and the Nelson formula. Most states, including Arizona, use the first one, the income shares model.

                                             The idea behind the income shares model is that you have a child, and we're imagining that the parents are still together. So, you're working from the legal fiction where the parents never separated. If that was the case, then the child would still be receiving the benefit of the incomes of both parents in theory. Because if they're living together, they're pooling their resources. They're buying things, furniture, whatever. Kid is still gonna receive the benefit of that.They're going on vacation. They're buying things for the child, the clothing, whatever.

                                             So, with that idea, then take the income from both parents, put it into a big pot, and then look at the parenting time equation that's going on. Just as a refresher, parent time is where's the child when. So, you put all this money from both parents into a big pot. You figure out what both parents are earning, add that together. Then, you try to redistribute the money such that the child is receiving the benefit of that money by moving money around.

                                             For example, if you had a parent that's earning minimum wage. We'll just pick some extremes here, and another parent that's earning $150,000 a year. The children spent of all their time with the parent that's minimum wage. The idea is there's $150,000 of income there that the children are not receiving the benefit of. So, we should be redistributing some of that money over to the other parent, so that the children are receiving the benefit of that. That's the basic idea. This is the system that most states use. Again, Arizona uses this particular model. There's actually 39 states in the US that use this. So, it's clearly the majority of states here. Different model. So, that's the income shares model.

                                             Different model that is also used in the US, but far less frequently. This one's used by about nine states. There's a couple different ways that you do it, but you look at simply a percentage of the paying parents income. So, this one you just ... Normally, you're coming from the perspective that the children are either in one place or the other, but you're making it much more simple in that you're not aggregating the two income. You're just looking at the percentage of one parent or the other, and trying to allocate money over to the other. I think it gets a little more confusing. Again, Arizona doesn't follow this system, so I'm not as intimately family with how this works.

                                             My understanding is there's a couple different ways you can look at to move money back and forth. If you have an equal plan, for example, you can say well both parents owe each other, and you take the difference. For example, let's say you have a parent that is earning $100,000 a year, let's just keep it super simple, and another parent that's earning $10,000 a year. If they're both required to pay 10% of their income to the other parent, then you would add those together and subtract the difference. So, the $100,000 a year parent might pay $10,000 a year in child support, and the other parent who's making $10,000 would pay 1,000. You would subtract those 10,000 - 1,000 as 9,000. Getting in all sorts of math here. The moral of the story is basically you're looking at the percentage of income.

                                             One other formula ... So far we've got the prevailing model, the income shares model, the percentage of income model. Now, the last one is called the Nelson formula. The Nelson formula was developed by a judge in Delaware. His name, strangely enough, was Nelson. There are three states in the use this model. It's basically a more complicated version of the income shares model. Essentially, it will look at ... I won't get into too much detail here because frankly I don't have a wicked understanding of it. It accounts for a parent's self support needs in a more elaborate way. It looks at standard of living allowance, but it's kind of just a blown up version of the income shares model.

                                             The income shares model, again, is the primary one. We're going to go into a little more detail about how that works in Arizona specifically. But first, we're going to take a quick break. I am Attorney David Enevoldsen with Family Law Guys. When we return, we will talk more about child support. You want to call in and ask any questions, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX. You are tuned into Family Law Report on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Speaker 4:                         Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680, that's 480-565-8680.

David E.:                             Welcome back to Family Law Report. I'm your host David Enevoldsen, attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. You want to reach out, schedule an appointment with my firm, Family Law Guys, you can do so by calling 480-565-8680. Or you can check us out on our website at www.familylawguys.com. If you are listening, and you want to call in ask any questions or share thoughts, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX.

                                             Today, we are talking about child support. Now, if you've been listening, you've heard me go through a very academic explanation of the different models that we use in the US to figure out what child support is going to be. I thank you for bearing with me through that because I feel like it's important groundwork in terms of talking about some of the controversies that we've got embedded within the child support model. There is quite a bit. There's a lot of request for reform. I'm not sure if there's a better model. I think maybe there is. But at minimum, I think it's critical to understand that.

                                             First, I want to explain a little bit more about what goes on in Arizona, specifically, on this child support front. Again, we use the most common system, the income shares model, which pools resources together. You look at both parents. You say what are they making, put it into a big pot, and then you try to move the money around, so that the child is receiving the most benefit because our theory is we want the child to ... That's the underscoring point of everything. We want to make sure that the child is benefiting. The interest of the parents is somewhat irrelevant outside of making sure that the child is covered. So, that's the idea. That's the underscoring concept that we're coming from.

                                             Personally, my experience has been when you're fighting about child support, you're fighting about the numbers that are going into this. What Arizona has is this calculator, much like a lot of other states. It's got a whole bunch of tables. It's kind of like looking at a tax table or something where you go through and you plug everybody's income into this calculator, and you run down this table based on that. You plug in where the child is where. You have certain offsets based on certain expenses, and it spits out a number.

                                             Very often when you're fighting child support in court, the thing that you're arguing about is what those numbers are that are going in or what they should be. That could be influenced by a lot of different things. For example, if one parent is saying, "I'm not going to work at all. I'm unemployed, so you have to put zero in for my income." Under Arizona child support guidelines, you can't do that. You have to have at least minimum wage. On top of that, sometimes the court will impute a much higher rate.

                                             There is under the child support guidelines in a case in Arizona cased Little Be Little. There is this idea that you can't intentionally underemploy. So, for example, if you've got a doctor or a lawyer or an architect or an airline pilot or something that traditionally makes a lot more money, and you've got this demonstration that this person was making more money, and they all of a sudden say, "You know what. I don't like the income I'm being attributed for child support purposes, I'm going to go work at some fast food restaurant and I'm going to flip burgers or whatever." Now, all of a sudden they're making minimum wage. The court can come in and say, "You know what. You should be making a much more higher rate than you are making, so we're gonna plug that into the child support calculator. Even though you're not actually making this higher amount of income, we're going to say that you are, and your child support obligation is going to be higher."

                                             Now, that has some very interesting implications in it, which I'll talk about in just a second. There are other things you can offset in there on top of the income. For example, if you've got medical insurance expenses, that stuff that gets calculated into the whole calculator. If you've got daycare expenses, that gets calculated in there. One interesting thing that people seem to be very often confused about is extracurricular activities. If you have expenses for say soccer practice or karate practice or Tai Kwan Do or something like that, that typically doesn't go into the child support calculation unless people agree to it. But by default, if you have to go into the court ...

                                             Remember most times in family law, if you're coming into agreements about something, you can kind of do whatever you want, as long as it's not grossly unfair in some fashion or completely wipe out the needs of the child. In this situation, you can get an agreement, but if you have to go litigate it, and the judge has to decide, then the judge is bound by whatever the law says. In this particular instance where you have those extracurriculars, then you don't normally get credit for that. That's just something you're doing on your own.

                                             A couple other interesting points about child support. One is that child support payments are not taxable as income. This is another potentially controversial point. If you're paying out child support, you don't get a deduction. Likewise, if you're receiving child support, you don't get any taxation for that increase in income. This is different from alimony, AKA spousal maintenance, where you do get taxed either for the receipt or you get the deduction if you were paying it out.

                                             Another interesting point about child support is that you can't just bankruptcy out of it. This is something that will hang over you forever until you die because we don't let you do it. You can go and file for bankruptcy chapter 7 where you liquidate everything. You cannot get rid of your child support. It will just float forever. If you've got child support arrears that are backing up, if you're not paying those off, you are potentially in some serious trouble.

                                             Enforcement is ... This really leads into the controversial area because we have a lot of machinery in place to try to enforce payment of child support. It comes up on state level. There's all sorts of different mechanisms up to the point of incarcerating somebody. You can go back other the court, and you can request enforcement. You can say somebody's not paying child support, and you can file your petition, and the court can jump into the picture and say, "Well, you need to do it, and here's all these different things that can happen." You can have driver's license suspended. You can be arrested and put into jail. You can have tax returns seized, bank account seize. There's all sorts of stuff that can happen if you're not compliant with your child support order.

                                             If it is possible for you to do so, you need to do so. If you're on the receiving end, you're not getting child support and you should be getting child support, then there's a lot of stuff you can do by just going in a filing. That's on the state level. Additionally, there's federal implications. There's a federal statue 18US Section 228, getting a little lawyerly here, but it also will create all sorts of problems if you've got somebody that isn't paying child support. Specifically, the federal statue looks at people that are dealing with stuff across state lines.

                                             So, if you fail to pay child support, and you have a child in a different state, or if you're traveling across state lines with the intentions of avoiding a child support obligation, you've got a criminal implication there. That is to say you can be punished by up to two years in prison just for violation of that statue. That's not even including the potential content of court issues you're running into if the court just wants to throughout you in jail. This is an interesting one because you could be, in theory, be held in jail indefinitely by just not paying your child support obligation.

                                             So, there's definite scary implications. There's some definite power in the hands of somebody that is trying to received child support. With all of that background now, I think we're in a prime place to talk about some of the controversy here. While I think this is a good model, I personally have some problems with it because it is so easily manipulated. It is so easily twisted into something that becomes very vitriolic, very attacking. It's subject to adverse and greed and people just trying to take advantage of it in so many different ways. It creates incentive to make a business out of your children in essence, or to fight with the other side in all sorts of different ways.

                                             I want to talk a little bit some of those. First off, in kind of an obvious way, the party trying to receive payments ... Let me rephrase that. If you are the party that is paying, you want to do everything you can to avoid making more money. If you are the party that is trying to received payments, you also want to try to do everything you can to avoid showing that you have more income. So, either way, you've got people trying to manipulate things. You've got people fighting over parenting time to alter the parenting time equation. Remember under this income shares model, the big question is redistributing income based on where the child is at any given moment.

                                             So, very, very commonly, I see this all the time. Find parents that are fighting over parenting time where they otherwise wouldn't be because they want either a higher or a lower child support obligation. That is to say if I'm a parent that I know that I'm going to be paying out a lot in child support, I might be fighting for more parenting time because I don't want to pay that child support, even though maybe I don't get along as well with the kid, or even if I consciously know I shouldn't have more parenting time, the other parent is better, I can be fighting for that.

                                             Conversely, you can have the exact opposite, where you have a parent that knows they should be receiving child support and their fighting for more time, even though they wouldn't as good with the children just because they want to receive that money. In these situations, you've got a situation where ... In either or theses scenarios, you've got a situation where parents are fighting over the money and not the children. That, to me, is a little problematic. That's what the system incentivizes. It's a money making system for either side or a money reduction system.

                                             That really is a fight that is not in the best interest of the child, which is the thing that's supposed to be underscoring all of the legal cases or the legal fights that we have related to children. You're supposed to be looking in what's in the best interest of the child. The way that system is set up, it incentivizes this fight over the money, and not really the child. It's extremely common in my experience to see that, when you're just duking out the money, and you don't really care about the child. The child is just this pawn in this big game that you've got with the other parent.

                                             Lots of other stuff. We're going to talk about that in just a sec. First, we're going to go to a quick break. I'm Attorney David Enevoldsen with Family Law Guys. When we return, we're going to talk a little bit more about the controversies surrounding child support. If you want to call in and ask any questions or share thoughts, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX. You are tuned into Family Law Report on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Speaker 4:                         Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680, that's 480-565-8680.

David E.:                             Welcome back to Family Law Report. I'm your host David Enevoldsen, attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. You want to reach out, schedule an appointment with my firm, Family Law Guys, you can do so by calling 480-565-8680. Or you can check us out on our website at www.familylawguys.com. If you are listening, and you want to call in ask any questions or share thoughts, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX.

                                             Today, we have been talking about child support. We talk a bit about the underlining mechanics of how it works, some of the academic stuff so to speak. Now, we're talking more about the potential problems here and why it's so controversial. Some of my personal issues with it is the fact that it seems to incentivize conflict is one major issue. Another problem that I run into is there is a ... Once you get into this cycle, it seems to snowball on people. That is to say if you start owing a child support obligation that either you're not paying for some reason or you're not paying full and you can't afford it, there's a massive amount of machinery in place to create more of a problem.

                                             For example, did you know that the interest rate on unpaid child support continues to rack up at 10% per annum. Now, tell me where else you can get an interest rate of 10% on an investment. Which is part of the reason that this very often looks like an investment, making a business out of having children. If you're going to run down to the bank, you're not going to get 10% on dumping something into a savings account or a money market or something. 10% is a very high interest rate, and yet that's getting racked up on the child support rears. That's one thing.

                                             Another thing is very often there is machinery implicit in the enforcement system. That is to say that for a lot of cases, the state will have the attorney general jump into the case. While they are exactly align with the ... They aren't going in representing the parent that's supposed to be receiving child support. They're interest are frequently align. So, in effect, you have an attorney that is attacking the parent that should be parent.

                                             While I'm not necessarily knocking AGs because I've met some fantastic attorney generals out there, so please to take this as offense. But as a practical matter, very frequently, I've seen the attorney generals will attack the obligor, the person that's supposed to be paying, and their interest is just not aligned. So in effect, you've got an attorney that is sort of representing, not technically representing, but because the interest aren't aligned. They sort of representing the person that's supposed to be receiving it. Your not entitled to appointment of an attorney in the child support universe or the family court universe. You just aren't, which is even more frightening because of some of the enforcement mechanisms you have, which I'll come back to in just a second.

                                             So, you don't get an attorney. You've got an attorney that's fighting you, and you've an obligor that's fighting you. Plus, you've got this perception that you're this horrible person if you're not making these child support payments. Frankly, they're confusing. I'm an attorney and sometimes I find them confusing because there's just a lot that goes into getting child support. Sometimes you go in and you're imputed things that don't make sense. Now, let's talk about this deadbeat label for a second. We've got the deadbeat. Most people say deadbeat dads. Sometimes they try to be more pc. I KFNX much more frequently speaking anecdotally, it is the father that's the one obligated to pay child support.

                                             We put a massive amount of energy into attacking parents who meet this deadbeat parent label, the ones that are supposedly not paying the child support. I know Sheriff Joe's not around now, but he used to organize all these Mothers Day events where he would go out and chorale on Valentine's Day or whatever, do the deadbeat roundups. They would go try to find people that had outstanding, massive child support arrears and throw them in jail. I've personally have seen many occasions where I walked into child support hearings and see a judge or commissioner order that somebody walk out in cuffs. They are thrown in jail right there.

                                             Very frequently, if you're not paying your child support obligation, you're not going to be able to afford the attorney. So, even if you have some articulable argument, it's hard to deal with that. You're dealing with this attorney from the state. Like I said before, it's potentially indefinite. And you're not entitled to an attorney for what could potentially throw you into jail indefinitely. There's US Supreme Case called Turner v Rogers which looked at this very issue of you get an attorney when you're facing jail time, and you could be there for far over a year. In any criminal setting, you would get that, but you don't in the family court setting. I find that little troubling.

                                             Here's an interesting point as well. Many of these people who we're labeling as deadbeats are people who are paying. I've had quite a few cases where somebody was paying, but for whatever reason didn't have the money to pay the full amount. All of a sudden, they're racking up child support arrears, the back payments that haven't been paid, and now you're attacking them. Some of them have payments that are absolutely out of control. I've seen parents with multiple thousands of dollars in child support per month. For whatever reason, they couldn't make enough.

                                             Remember a few minutes ago, we were talking about this idea that a just can impute income. So, you could have this situation where ... Imagine for example, somebody saying, "Oh, well you're a lawyer. So, you should be making $100,000 a year." Meanwhile, this person can't legitimately find a job that's over ... Consider the market crash a couple years ago. Let's say you're in the mist of 2009. After the 2008 crash, the jobs are all gone. You just came out of law school. You're trying to find the job.

                                             The judge is saying, "Well, you should be making 100 grand a year because you're an attorney." Meanwhile, you can't find a job that's more than 50,000. You have this massive child support payment that's piling up on you. You're paying as much as you can, but you just can't make it. Now, you're thrown into jail, and you're label as a deadbeat. It just becomes this vicious snowballing cycle. I've seen this so many times. People just sort of give up. Meanwhile, the other parent is saying you're a monster because you're not paying your child support. I have regularly seen parents talk to the children about the deadbeat parent, the person that they're calling it. They will say this other parent is a monster because they're not paying their child support. I've seen that many, many of time walking into court where their saying that. Then, they start alienating the other parent from the child.

                                             It becomes a machine out of just making money. It is kind of frightening. There's other situations where you might even be doing everything you can to try to figure this out. Here's a great example. There's a case called Glover v Glover, and you could still be completely screwed over. Glover v Glover is a case in Arizona which deals with ... In essence, you're transferring a child support judgment into Arizona and you got a child support order from some other state, and you want to come in and modify it, there's this registration procedure you have to following when you first file in Arizona in order to change it.

                                             There's some very specific technical requirements you have to go through. If you come over and you botch that, and the court misses it, and you miss it in terms of the procedure, then when you modify it, that new order comes into place. If somebody realizes this later, they can go back and unravel everything. All of a sudden, you just have this instant arrears judgment that is hanging over your head. Even though you were doing everything you could to do everything right, you're suddenly labeled as a deadbeat parent. Example, let's say you've got a $2,000 a month child support obligation. You register your order here in Arizona, and the court subsequently modifies it to a $1,000 child support obligation. I'm just pulling numbers out of the air. These are not necessarily normal numbers or anything.

                                             So, now you've got this $1,000 a month child support obligation. Let's say three years go by, and all of a sudden the court says, "You know what? That order that we entered a while ago modifying it to $1,000, that evaporates. You should've been paying $2,000 a month all this time, even though you didn't have the ability to or anything. So, we're just gonna slap on this massive judgment on top of you." Pretty horrifying. I've seen situations where people have $30,000, $50,000 in arrears. Even though they were paying their child support all this time, it just gets slapped on. Unless the other parent is agreeing to get rid of that, then it just stays there. Why would they?

                                             I've seen many situation where this particular thing has happen. And all of a sudden, you've got somebody who was dutifully paying, had some issue, and there was this technical problem that now all of a sudden they've got this massive amount of the arrears, and the other parent refuses to get rid of it. You can't bankruptcy out of it, as we've said earlier. You've got all these mechanisms in place to stop you from getting away from it. It's seriously problematic. So, I question to some extent because some of the things I've seen here, the mechanism that we've used to implement child support because I think it incentivizes making your children money machines, and not really doing what's in the best interest of your children.

                                             In terms of alternatives, there is a program, a movie called Divorce Court. If you've seen it, it's a very satirical look at the family court system. One of the things that they suggest in there is apparently ... And I don't know much about Denmark System, but apparently Denmark has a system where they just look at a flat fee. They say, "Okay, here's something a little bit above a poverty line that would create some support, so that you're getting child support for a certain number of children." You just look at a table. You say, "How many kids do you have?" And then, there's the number with a couple other little tweaks, but it's very different from saying, "Let's just throw all our money into a pot."

                                             Maybe we should be doing something like that. I don't know because that as I understand it takes a lot of the incentive just intuitively. It take a lot of incentive out of making your children just this money machine. So, child support is a fascinating, and like I said, a very controversial, very emotional topic. It creates so much anger, hatred, depression, everything. It's very concerning.

                                             But any rate, that is about all the time we have for today's show. You have been listening to Family Law Report. I am your host David Enevoldsen, an attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm here. We've been talking about child support. I hope you join us again next Sunday at noon for more of the latest on family law here on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. Thank you all for listening and have a great week.

Speaker 4:                         Family Law Report is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. Family Law Report is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce, and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight. Tune in every Sunday to Family Law Report at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680, that's 480-565-8680.

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