May 11, 2011

Celebrity Suits For Child Support – Starsky & Dupri

Posted in Celebrity Child Support, Child Support tagged , at 8:35 am by demetriagraves

One of the stars of ‘Starsky and Hutch’, Paul Michael Glaser is facing legal action from his ex-wife after allegedly failing to make child support payments.

The now 69-year-old actor, who played Detective David Starsky in the classic 1970s cop series, is being sued by his former wife Tracy Barone, who has accused him of owing $3,224 in child support payments and $13,000 in spousal support, according to legal documents filed in L.A. County Superior Court.

Glaser and Barone, divorced in 2007 citing “irreconcilable differences”, are parents to a 13-year-old daughter named Zoe.

Also in the news this week is Grammy award winning producer, Jermaine Dupri is being sued by Sarai Jones, over missed child-support payments that a judge recently ordered him to pay her. After a paternity test in March, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge ordered Dupri to pay $2,500 a month and an additional $7,500 to Jones after the test proved that he was the father to Jones’ seven-month-old daughter.

The lawsuit comes at a time when Dupri, who has produced hits for artists including Usher and Mariah Carey and was one of hip-hop’s top earners in 2006, is facing financial troubles. His mansion was up for foreclosure and set to be auctioned last week, but the sale was canceled at the last minute. Plus Dupri apparently owes more than $493,000 in back taxes.
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April 7, 2011

Jermaine Jackson Ordered to Pay Back Child Support

Posted in Child Support tagged , at 7:44 pm by demetriagraves

Jermaine Jackson has been ordered to hand over $80,000 in missed child support payments, although he says he’s too poor to pay. Jermaine, 56, appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom recently battling ex-wife Alejandra Jackson over his $3,000 a month support payments for their two children,  Jaafar and Jermajesty Jackson.

Michael Jackson’s older brother had hoped to have the amount he pays reduced, because he says that he’s not rich like Michael but a judge denied his claim.

The court has laid down the law as far as payments go. Jackson must submit a $5,000 cashiers check immediately and another $15,000 in the next few days, $20,000 by mid-April and the final $40,000 by May 13.

It appears to be highly doubtful that Jackson can come up with the money which may leave the court with its only option, jailing him. He has already had his driver’s license pulled until the first check is submitted.Because the singer and dancer is so far behind in his payments, his California driver’s license was recently revoked, but it will be reinstated if he makes the minimum payment of $5,000 immediately.

His ex-wife, Alejandra, has been living at the Jackson family compound for the last 18 years and is currently in a legal battle with the family who wants her to move out.
Jermaine doesn’t believe he should have to make the payments, since his ex-wife has been living rent free at the Jackson family compound in Encino, California, for years.

March 31, 2011

More Things a Non-Custodial Parent Should Know

Posted in Child Support tagged at 1:16 pm by demetriagraves

A common question I’m asked as a family law attorney is regarding the rights of a non-custodial parent who is paying child support. What are the rights of the noncustodial parent who believes that the money he or she is paying is not actually supporting the child but is perhaps padding the pockets of the custodial parent? What recourse does that parent have, and what happens if he or she does not obey a court order to pay?

Because U.S. child support laws are state-specific, this article is intended to give you a general idea of what to do and what to expect if you have one of these questions. For specific guidance on your rights and obligations, please check with a family law attorney or child support enforcement agency in your jurisdiction.

Here are ten things to know:

1. WHAT CAN I DO IF I THINK I AM NOT THE PARENT?

If you have been served with a complaint or petition for child support and you believe that you are not the child’s parent, you have a right to request a blood or DNA test. It is important that you request a blood or DNA test immediately. Should you fail to do so, you could still be liable to pay child support. If the test results are negative, the court will dismiss any case against you.

2. THE SHERIFF HAS PERSONALLY DELIVERED A SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT TO MY HOME. I AM BEING SUED FOR CHILD SUPPORT, WHAT CAN I DO?

You or your attorney must answer the complaint for child support within the specified time period for answering the complaint. Failure to do so could result in a default judgment against you. If a default judgment is awarded against you, you could be responsible for paying support even though paternity has not been established. In some jurisdictions, failure to answer the complaint automatically establishes you as the parent.

3. I HAVE BEEN PAYING CHILD SUPPORT FOR YEARS BUT HAVE DISCOVERED THAT THE CHILD IS NOT MINE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Unfortunately, if you have been paying child support for a child that turns out not to be yours, you may still be obligated to pay child support. Although controversial in nature, in these cases the courts in every jurisdiction will recognize the child’s interest over that of the non-biological father. In almost every jurisdiction the courts recognize the child as the victim not the non-biological father. In doing so, the courts have coined the legal term “Parentage by Estoppel.” This means that because you took on the duty to provide support to a child for so long, it would be unfair to the child for you to eliminate payments altogether. Because courts must ask the question, “What is in the best interest of the child?” the courts believe that the father must continue to pay child support so as not to interrupt financial assistance to the child. This does not mean that you can never stop making support payments. The courts vary in each state as to how they treat this issue based upon the facts. This is why it is so important to challenge paternity early in the process even if only the slightest chance exists that you may not be the father. If you believe that this situation may apply to you, it is imperative that you consult an attorney.

4. I HAVE NO INTENTION OF PAYING CHILD SUPPORT; WHAT IS THE WORSE THAT CAN HAPPEN?

Failure to pay child support is a crime under federal law (Child Support Recovery Act of 1992). You can be prosecuted for any willful failure to pay under a support order where there is evidence that you had the financial means to pay and failed to do so. You can be prosecuted if you are more than $5,000 in arrears and have failed to pay support for more than one year. Failure to pay child support could result in suspension of your driver’s license, loss of your security clearance (for government jobs), loss of your job, and it could make it harder for you to obtain a new job. It could also make it harder for you to obtain licensure to continue your career (e.g., license to practice law).

5. I AM BEHIND IN MY CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS, WHAT IS THE WORSE THAT CAN HAPPEN?

You will be held in contempt of court. A warrant for your arrest could be provided to law enforcement, and this could lead to your being prosecuted under the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, which could lead to jail time. The court could also grant the custodial parent the rights to seize your real or personal property and/or garnish your wages.

6. I AM MAKING MY SUPPORT PAYMENTS BUT I HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE MONEY IS NOT BEING USED FOR MY CHILD, WHAT CAN I DO?

As a parent, you have every right to ensure that the financial assistance that you provide is in fact being used for your child’s care. If you have reason to believe that the custodial parent is taking advantage of you by misapplying support funds, you or your attorney have the right to petition the court for an accurate accounting of the funds and how they are being applied. Nevertheless, you have the burden of proving that the custodial parent is misapplying your support payments.

7. I HAVE OTHER KIDS TO SUPPORT, HOW MUCH CHILD SUPPORT DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR THIS ONE?

Your monthly support obligation will always take into account the children that you are actively supporting. Your state’s child support guidelines will likely reduce your monthly support payments if you can prove that you actively support other children. If you are already making child support payments under a previous support order and have been sued again for child support by another parent, you may seek a modification of your existing child support order from the court.

8. I LOST MY JOB. DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT? WHAT CAN I DO?

Once parentage has been established, you will always be liable for child support. But if you are unable to pay child support because you lost your job, you must make the court aware of your material change in circumstances. The court will reassess your situation on the basis of evidence you provide that illustrates that you are unable to pay. You or your attorney can file a motion to modify existing support obligations. However, if you are entitled to unemployment insurance compensation, the custodial parent has a right to tap into a limited percentage of those funds.

9. HOW IS THE AMOUNT OF CHILD SUPPORT I HAVE TO PAY DETERMINED?

The amount of child support you pay is determined by guidelines developed and followed by your state. The guidelines take into account, among other things, your net monthly income, the number of kids you actively support, and your monthly expenses. The guidelines provide the court with a way to accurately assess what you should be able to pay on a monthly basis. Your support order is based primarily on these guidelines. Should your monthly expenses and income change, the court will reassess what you are able to pay once it becomes aware of your material change in circumstances.

10. I INTEND TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY, AM I STILL OBLIGATED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT?

You are still obligated to pay child support because most countries have reciprocity agreements with the United States. These agreements allow you to be sued for child support even though that you are no longer living in the United States.

February 17, 2011

Brooke Mueller’s Child Support To Match Charlie Sheen’s Ex

Posted in Celebrity Divorce, Child Support tagged , at 4:10 am by demetriagraves

Brooke Mueller and Charlie Sheen’s marriage is over and Brooke is now the third ex-wife to the troubled “Two And A Half Men” actor but Brooke won’t be walking away empty handed. Brooke Mueller’s divorce settlement will include; $55,000 a month in child support for their twin sons, Bob and Max.

In addition to child support, Mueller will receive half of the residuals and royalties from Getty Images Baby Photos, a 2009 Mercedes S600, a lump sum of $757,689.70 and about $1.2 million for her share of their home, which Sheen will keep.

There are rumors of a dime war and that Brooke made sure that under no circumstances the child support paid by Charlie for Bob and Max be less than the child support paid by Charlie to Denise Richards for Sam and Lola.

Charlie and Brooke will get joint custody of the twins, though Brooke will get primary physical custody. Under Californian law, a divorce decree isn’t granted until six months after papers are filed, meaning it will not be complete until May 2. Though I’m sure that Charlie regards himself as officially single again. I wonder who will be wife number four?

February 3, 2011

Halle Berry’s Custody Battle

Posted in Child Support, Custody tagged , , at 11:33 am by demetriagraves

Halle Berry’s ex, underwear model Gabriel Aubry, wants child support and custody of their 2-year-old daughter Nahla. Halle tried to keep her custody dispute with Aubry private but their custody battle went public after Gabriel filed for joint custody and child support last week. In court documents, Gabriel complained that he was unable to see and co-parent his daughter because Halle takes the child with her overseas to visit her boyfriend, French actor Olivier Martinez when he’s not visiting her in Los Angeles.
It’s rumored that Halle is so worried about this latest development that she’s cancelled her film work and appearances to be available to battle him in court. It was thought that they had worked things out between them outside of court after their break up in 2009. But apparently Gabriel has hired lawyers in Canada (where he resides) and the United States to represent him.
Halle, 44, released a statement recently claiming that she has “serious concerns for her daughter’s well-being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her.”
Meanwhile Gabriel, 35, is ready to fight and is trying to seek custody of Nahla, who has dual citizenship, because of her Canadian-born father. Gabriel will argue that he can provide Nahla with a much more stable, consistent home life than Halle. He is willing to totally put his career on hold to care for her, whereas Halle is constantly traveling around the world and working on film sets.  Halle is trying to build a case that Gabriel is an unfit father and it’s rumored that she is pushing hard to try to get a hearing at family court before the end of the week – something she has, so far had no joy achieving.

 

 

October 7, 2010

Mel to Pay More

Posted in Child Support tagged at 7:39 pm by demetriagraves

Here’s the latest news in Mel Gibson’s child support battle with Oksana Grigorieva. Recently a judge has ordered Mel Gibson to boost his child support payments to Oksana Grigorieva to $20,000 a month from the $5,000 he’s been paying his ex-girlfriend. This is a $15,000 per month increase.

 
Their eleven-month-old daughter Lucia reportedly needs round-the-clock security, plus the usual necessities like food and medical care – plus it seems that mother and child were used to the “Mel Gibson lifestyle”. The judge agreed that security was a legitimate need to protect mother and child from ravenous paparazzi. Lucia was born in October 2009, and Gibson and Grigorieva broke up in April.

According to one of Grigorieva’s attorneys, Daniel Horowitz, “Everything in Hollywood is to excess. Mel Gibson is worth upwards of $1 billion. It’s a very modest award by Hollywood standards and a very high award by normal people standards.”

Mel Gibson’s divorce from Robyn Gibson, his wife of almost 30 years, with whom he had eight children, is not yet final, though there are reports that indicate a settlement might be near. Robyn filed for divorce in April 2009.

October 1, 2010

Tips for Custodial Parents

Posted in Child Support, Custody tagged , at 3:08 pm by demetriagraves

As a family law attorney, I often get asked advice on what is appropriate to tell the kids regarding, divorce, custody and child support. Deciding what you should or should not tell the kids you have custody of is very simple. It requires you to keep in mind what is healthy for your children and what they really need to know. Reasons for the separation and divorce of their parents is not something that children need to know. Especially if the circumstances were painful for either parent. Far too many parents use their ex’s flaws to drive a wedge between them and the children. They fail to recognize that this doesn’t just hurt their ex, it can have a lasting impact on their kids emotional well being.
Divorce and the court proceedings are not information that kids need to be privy to. Should your child question you about things that happen, be firm in telling them that the divorce is between you and your ex and not something they need to have details on. Not only is this the “right” way to handle it, most judges will warn the parents against saying things which may result in alienation.
Child support should never be discussed with your kids. That is a financial issue that should be left to the adults. You would not be likely to sit and discuss a cut in your wages with a child, why should you feel that telling them support was not paid is any different? Using potentially harmful information to turn your child against the non-custodial parent can be damaging. Furthermore, child support is the monetary way in which courts insist the other parent pay to help with their needs. It is not, nor should it ever be treated as payment to see their children.
Any derogatory comments about the other parent should not be said in front of the children you share. Just because the marriage did not last, does not mean that you have the right to turn kids against the other parent. While you may briefly get some enjoyment out of this, ultimatley this can put you in a less favorable light in everyone’s eyes.
Sadly, many divorced parents use their children as weapons against the other parent. They encourage them to take sides, wanting the child’s devotion to them to be a slap in the face to their ex. It is so important for custodial parents to take the high road and encourage a healthy relationship between their children and the other parent. Hurt feelings and bitterness should be put aside in order to make the best decisions for your children.
As a family law attorney I always work toward the outcome which is going to be best for the kids and having the parents at war with one another doesn’t help anyone. If you are uncertain about the best way to move forward no matter what your custody situation is, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered.

August 27, 2010

Child Support – Why you need an attorney

Posted in Child Support tagged at 10:55 pm by demetriagraves

Child support is one of those contentious issues that parents often disagree on. Firstly, what is child support? Child support is some form of assistance, often financial, which is paid by the non-custodial parent to the parent who has custody of the children. The state recognizes the importance of parents providing for their children, whether separated or divorced.

It is unfortunate that many parents do not fulfill their financial obligations to their children. There are several ways that a custodial parent can get the necessary support for their children. There are a number of people who try to go through their local government or the state to gain support for their children, which is often not the most effective method. Each state has its own requirements for the payment of support and each state maintains its own procedures for debt collection. Since there are many different methods that are adopted by governments for child support amounts, custodial parents are often confused about the process and sometimes do not know when or if they are paid. This whole process can be very confusing and frustrating for the parent with custody. For this reason, seeking the advice of a family law attorney is your best course of action.

There are a variety of reasons why employing the services of a family law attorney may be advantageous. An attorney has the legal capacity and resources to ensure that the custodial parent is receiving the support they deserve. In contrast to the handling of a state agency, an attorney will work on behalf of a person for financial support required is paid. A family law attorney may need to pursue a number of avenues to get payment of support. Any parent who has difficulty in obtaining the necessary support should always contact a competent family law attorney to get advice on available support options.

Most people find that when they use an attorney they’ll get fast, effective results in the receipt of past and current support for their children. If you are unsure of what your right and or obligations are regarding child support, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a free initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered.

July 1, 2010

Mel Gibson Not Paying Child Support

Posted in Child Support tagged at 1:34 pm by demetriagraves

There’s been much recent speculation about Mel Gibson not paying child support to Oksana Grigorieva for their eight month old daughter Lucia. As usual there are two sides to every story. Grigorieva who is a Russian musician is alleging that the multi-millionaire actor is not paying child support and that she is being forced to live off credit cards and cash from friends because Gibson hasn’t paid her a penny in child support.

Meanwhile, Mel Gibson’s lawyer Stephen Kolodney has stated that Mel has opened up his wallet for Oksana, putting her up in a multi-million dollar house, buying her a car, providing health insurance and giving her “tens of thousands of dollars to support her and Lucia over the past months.”

Oksana’s lawyer , Marci Levine has countered that “The statement released on behalf of Mel Gibson is based upon complete distortions of the truth regarding Mr. Gibson’s financial contributions toward the parties’ child and conveniently ignores his obligations to the parties’ child under California law.”

Levine hasn’t specifically said how Mel has fallen short, but those connected with Oksana claim the actor has not paid child support since the couple split.

Kolodny says Mel has gone far above and beyond what’s required of him under a support and custody agreement the former couple reached in mediation.

But now, Kolodny claims Oksana has violated the agreement by refusing to let Mel see their daughter on Father’s Day, Mel is only going to pay Oksana what they agreed to in mediation and not a penny more.

Kolodny wouldn’t say how much Oksana is legally entitled to under mediation, but there is speculation that it’s well over $10,000 a month.

The latest in this continuing drama is claims and counter-claims regarding restraining orders. According to some reports Gibson filed a restraining order against Grigorieva but perhaps this was a mix-up as it appears that Grigorieva has filed a restraining order against Gibson which has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and will be heard by a judge sitting in-camera within the next week.

While all this public bickering is good for the tabloids, unfortunately this is an all to common scenario that I deal with as a family law attorney every day. I like to focus on getting agreements in place rapidly to prevent long and drawn out battles. If you have a family issue that you need some help with, please don’t  hesitate to contact me for a free initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered. As for Mel and Oksana hopefully their attorneys will guide them to an equitable resolution as soon as possible.

May 24, 2010

Child Support, Custody & Visitation

Posted in Child Support, Custody, Visitation tagged , , at 11:08 am by demetriagraves

Divorce is never easy. Seeing a relationship unravel before your own eyes can take its toll in many ways. Often this process can be hardest on the younger members of a family. When going through a divorce it’s important to remember that your kids need your support and assurances. No matter how bad it seems, it’s important to put aside your own difficulties and focus on helping your kids manage this transition as smoothly as possible. So that they come out stronger and relatively unscathed. In this article I’ll be focusing on discussing Child Support in financial and legal terms instead of emotional terms. I’ll also cover the topics of custody and visitation because they are also related to how child support is calculated.
Custody and visitation issues top the list of concerns for couples involved in a divorce. For many years to come the now ex-spouses must continue to plan their lives together and negotiate the dozens of choices that come up when raising children. Judges will go to great lengths to get the two parties to make their own decisions and solve their own conflicts.
When two parents separate, it is usually determined that a child will primarily reside with one of the separated parents. In those situations, the parent keeping the child will incur most of the child-related expenses: food, accommodation, clothing, groceries, utilities, transportation, school, lessons etc.
To reflect that inequity, the common law has established that each parent has a legal obligation to support their child, financially speaking. No law has made any rules regarding the fulfilling the emotional needs of the child.
It is typical practice to establish one parent as having primary custody. That parent is referred to as the ‘custodial parent’. The other parent is referred to as the non-custodial parent. Regardless of the schedule, in most cases the parents are required to make important child care and upbringing decisions together.
A strictly legal definition of child support is “Periodic money payments payable by a non-custodial parent, to the custodial parent, for the care of his or her minor child.” For those who are unfamiliar with law speak, custodial parent is the one keeping the child while non custodial parent will be the one making the periodic payments.
For the parent who does not have the child living with them, this means equally or fairly contributing to their child’s expenses and needs. This is done by requiring that parent to make monthly or other periodic payment (rarely a lump sum or annual payment) to the other parent as a contribution towards the expenses of raising a child.
Initially, costs were split fifty-fifty between the parents. But over time complex systems have been established to determine the payments that need to be made keeping in mind the income of both parents and the number of children.
There are unique rules to deal with children who are no longer minors, and have special or extraordinary needs or expenses, and when a child or the children spend close to equal time with, and maintain residence in the homes of, both parents.
If the parties cannot decide upon a support amount and payment frequency, child support is set by the court and will be calculated based on the California State Guidelines and on any data that the parties may present. The State Guidelines are designed to be fair and equitable to the parents and more importantly, be in the best interest of the children.
California law allows either party to apply for a change in child support payments. The law requires that before a support change will be considered by the court, a material change in the status of the parties or the children must have occurred. This can include a change in the financial status of either party (for better or worse) or a change in the needs of the children such as education costs or an illness.
In California, any couple who cannot agree on custody or a visitation schedule is obligated to participate in and complete a counseling program prior to their disagreement being taken up by the court.
Judges that are forced to make custody and visitation decisions will base their rulings on evidence provided by the spouses and by professionals, such as psychologists, family service representatives or doctors. The judge will also take into account any history of child abuse, drug or alcohol addictions and any protective orders that may have been issued to help determine what is in the best interest of the child. However, the courts in California tend to grant joint custody, where the parents share in the day to day care and in making decisions regarding upbringing.
Based on the above factors, most spouses come to an agreement regarding custody and visitation schedule for their children rather than depend upon a judge to decree what is best. This is an area where professional legal assistance is a must. As a family law attorney I offer an initial free consultation, where you can get you questions answered.
Child support as an issue is so important that the right to child support and the responsibilities of parents to provide such support has been internationally recognized. In fact, during the 1992 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a binding convention was signed by every member of the UN declaring that “the upbringing and development of children and a standard of living adequate for the children’s development is a common responsibility of both parents and a fundamental human right for children”. The convention further asserted that the primary responsibility to provide such for the children rests with their parents.

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