Retirement funds are not all safe from being taken to satisfy child support or alimony/spousal support obligations.
The post No One Can Touch My Retirement For Child Support or Alimony, Right? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.
Retirement funds are not all safe from being taken to satisfy child support or alimony/spousal support obligations.
The post No One Can Touch My Retirement For Child Support or Alimony, Right? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.
Divorce Support Groups help you deal with the pain and loss of the marriage and support a healthy recovery. There are several benefits to divorce support groups, but finding the right one is more than a matter of location.
The post Divorce Support Groups: How to Find the Right One for You appeared first on Divorce Magazine.
There are several concerns in divorce cases, depending on your circumstances. These can include child custody arrangements, child support, the division of your marital property, and spousal maintenance – also known as alimony.
While a spousal maintenance award is never a given and the issue doesn’t come into play in every case, there are divorces in which maintenance plays an important role.
Whether your husband can seek spousal support or not will depend on a variety of variables. Understanding the basics as they relate to spousal maintenance can help you make decisions that protect your rights throughout the divorce process.
Spousal maintenance is generally predicated on financial disparity. If, for example, you are the primary breadwinner and your husband was the primary caregiver for your children throughout your marriage, he might be able to successfully seek alimony until he is able to begin working and supporting himself. There are, however, a number of considerations to take into account. Generally, the longer you were married and the greater the difference in earning ability and assets between the two of you, the greater the chance that your husband will be eligible to seek spousal support.
Will Your Husband Be Awarded Alimony?
Every divorce comes with its own highly specific financial circumstances, but the general rule is that if your husband lacks the means to provide for himself and is incapable of attaining appropriate employment right away, he might be awarded maintenance.
This means that if your spouse is unemployed or simply doesn’t earn enough, if his portion of the marital assets aren’t sufficient to make up the difference, and if he doesn’t have the education, skills, or experience to obtain a job that would provide him with the necessary means to support himself – the court might look to you to help him move forward post-divorce with financial support.
It’s important to recognize, however, that alimony is very rarely a permanent proposition. Instead, alimony is a stopgap measure that will be used to help your ex find his financial footing after the divorce. Generally, the longer your marriage and the greater the financial disparity, the longer the alimony period.
Determining Spousal Maintenance
Every determination regarding alimony is specific to the individual situation, but there are some basics that almost universally apply. The court will take a variety of factors into careful consideration in determining whether alimony is appropriate and, if so, what its duration should be. These factors can include:
if the court determines that your husband is entitled to maintenance, it will then go about calculating the appropriate amount and duration, which will be predicated on your ability to pay while still satisfactorily supporting yourself.
What Does Maintenance Cover?
Maintenance can be a mechanism for making property division more equitable, a means of short-term support to help your ex-husband become financially self-sufficient, or a permanent support strategy for a spouse who has a limited ability to earn that cannot be rectified or who is outright unemployable (because of a disability, for example). Permanent maintenance is far less common than temporary maintenance.
When it comes to the division of marital property, there are instances when maintenance can help make the distribution more equitable. For example, if you own and manage a business that supported your family throughout your marriage, it can be very difficult to value and/or divide the business for divorce purposes.
If you keep the business, the court may award your ex-husband maintenance to help smooth out any disparity in the property division. Further, if your husband didn’t work or was underemployed during the course of your marriage, the court may award him temporary maintenance while he finds his way back into the work world and begins earning a sufficient salary.
In most situations, there simply is no guarantee of maintenance. If the judge finds, for example, that your ex was taking advantage of your generosity by not working throughout the marriage, he or she could deny maintenance.
Further, if your husband’s marital misconduct – such as overly lavish spending or an extramarital affair – brought about the dissolution of your marriage, the judge can take that into consideration in determining whether maintenance is appropriate or not.
Perhaps more than any other divorce issues, the question of maintenance is highly specific to the situation at hand and often hotly contested. If you have maintenance concerns, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced divorce attorney on your side.
Building a personal and professional support team can help you navigate all the issues that come up during a divorce.
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Originally published by Kelly McClure.
The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is responsible for certain child support services, including collecting and enforcing Texas child support orders. Recipients of certain public assistance programs may automatically qualify for the OAG’s child support services, but others have to apply for the services. The OAG has a variety of ways to enforce child support, including filing liens, issuing writs of withholdings to the parent’s employer, suspending driver’s licenses, and intercepting tax refunds or other money from state or federal sources.
In a recent case, a father challenged the OAG’s enforcement actions against him. The father was ordered to pay child support beginning in December 1996. The court also issued an Order Enforcing Child Support Obligation in October 1999, including a cumulative money judgment for $15,000 plus interest against the father in favor of the Attorney General.
In 2015, the OAG sent a notice of child support lien to the father’s bank and issued administrative writs of withholding to his employers. The OAG also filed a petition with the State Office of Administrative Hearings for the father’s driver’s license suspension.
The father filed a motion alleging the OAG violated provisions of the Texas Family Code because it failed to obtain a cumulative money judgment within 10 years of the child becoming an adult. The OAG did not appear at the hearing. The trial court lifted the driver’s license suspension, rescinded the writs of withholding, declared the child support liens void, and ordered no further wage withholding.
The OAG filed a restricted appeal. The OAG argued the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the driver’s license suspension because the relevant statute required the father to file his petition for review in Travis County district court. A proceeding regarding the suspension of a parent’s driver’s license for failure to pay child support is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. The Administrative Procedure Act requires a person seeking judicial review of a contested case to file the petition in a Travis County district court unless another statute provides otherwise. TEX. GOV’T CODE ANN. § 2001.176.
The father did not file his petition in a Travis County district court. The OAG argued that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the issue. The appeals court, however, found that that the statute did not grant Travis County district court with exclusive jurisdiction, but instead provided a mandatory venue. Mandatory venue, the court noted, may be waived if a party fails to make a timely objection. The OAG had not made a timely objection.
The OAG also argued the trial court had exceeded its subject matter jurisdiction in enjoining additional administrative writs of withholding. Under TEX. GOV’T CODE ANN. § 22.002(c), only the Texas supreme court has the authority to issue a writ of mandamus or injunction against an officer of Texas’s executive departments to order or compel performance of a duty state law authorizes the officer to perform. The appeals court noted the OAG is an officer of the executive department and is authorized to enforce and collect child support through administrative writs of withholding. Thus, only the supreme court could enjoin the OAG from issuing such writs in this case. The appeals court found that the portion of the order stating that “no further wages be withheld in this cause…” constituted an injunction.
The appeals court vacated the part of the trial court’s order that enjoined the OAG from issuing additional administrative writs of withholding and affirmed the rest of the order.
The OAG will become involved in certain cases involving public assistance. Although parents in other cases may seek the OAG’s assistance, parents should be aware of what OAG enforcement entails. Once the OAG is involved, the parents are not able to choose which enforcement actions will be taken. If you are facing a child support issue, an experienced Texas child support attorney can help you consider your options and protect your rights. Call McClure Law Group at 214.692.8200 to set up an appointment.
You’ve received an Order from the Court that requires your Ex to pay you child support each month, as well as an Order that your Ex pay some percentage of costs for things like extracurricular activities and extraordinary medical expenses for your child. The long legal battle is over, and you can rest.
Then, a few months later, the inevitable happens.
Your Ex does not pay.
Fortunately, for those parents who have been awarded child support and/or reimbursement for extracurricular or extraordinary medical costs, the law provides several options for enforcement against the non-paying parent (“Obligor”).
Unfortunately, this process can be confusing, and many legal practitioners – and even Judges – struggle to understand which options apply in certain scenarios. (In any case, a party may seek a Citation for Contempt against a party that has failed to comply with a Court Order, but the focus of this article is enforcement, i.e.; how to get money in-hand).
To provide some guidance on enforcement options, the most common scenarios are addressed below:
Under Colorado law, a child support payment is converted into an enforceable support judgment on the day that it is due and not paid, and immediately begins to accrue interest at a rate of 12%, compounded monthly. In cases where payments have not been made for many months or even years, the amount of interest owed on the unpaid child support can exceed several thousand dollars.
However, the operation of law that converts a missed payment into a support judgment does not magically deposit funds into your bank account. In order to obtain actual funds from the Obligor, you will need to file a “Verified Entry of Support Judgement” with the Court reflecting the timeframe at issue, the amount that should have been paid, the amount that was actually paid, and the interest accrued thereon.
Once this document is filed with the Court, you may seek enforcement against the Obligor’s employer, bank accounts, and property by way of liens or a Writ of Garnishment. There are pro’s and con’s to each method of enforcement, however, it is important to remember that support judgments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
While it may take some time to recover all of the funds owed to you, you will continue to accrue interest on the principal amount owed and the Obligor is unlikely to escape ultimately paying the judgment over time.
In the case of garnishment with an Obligor’s employer, you will begin receiving payments directly from the employer each time that the Obligor receives a paycheck. However, Colorado law sets limits for the percentage of earnings that may be garnished, so you may receive smaller payments towards the total amount owed until that amount is paid off.
When garnishing a bank account, you will be limited in the amount that you recover by how much money the Obligor has in the account. For instance, if you seek to recover $1,000.00, and the Obligor only has $100.00 in the account, you will only receive $100.00 until/unless the Obligor places more funds into the account in the future.
Alternatively, a lien against property is a viable option and may result in a lump-sum payment, however, you may not receive the funds until the property is sold or otherwise transferred.
A distinction has been made, however, between amounts owed that are “sum certain,” such as the set monthly amount of child support, and payment of expenses that may fluctuate over time. Most often, this situation presents itself in cases where a party is ordered to pay a percentage amount owed towards extracurricular or extraordinary medical expenses for a child.
For example, if an Order requires that a party contribute 50% of the cost of extracurricular or extraordinary medical expenses for a child, the actual dollar value of that amount may fluctuate from month to month. Certainly, there will be months when there are no extraordinary medical expenses, and other months when there may be significant expenses (perhaps a child has broken an arm). The same is true for extracurricular costs.
This issue becomes even more complicated when there is specific language in the Court’s Order regarding notice to the other party about the amount of the expense, timelines, and requirements for exchange of receipts and/or invoices, and whether the agreement of both parties is necessary for the expense to be reimbursable.
When dealing with this scenario, the very first step is to ensure that you have complied with all of the notification and exchange of documentation requirements necessary under your specific Court Order. If you have done so, then any failure by the opposing party to pay the amount owed will result in a support judgment, subject to the same interest and enforcement procedures as described in the previous section.
However, because the amount owed can be subject to debate (the other party may claim that you failed to provide documentation or notice as required, or may even dispute the actual amount spent or owed), you cannot simply file a Verified Entry of Support Judgment and immediately seek enforcement. Instead, you must file a “Motion for Entry of Support Judgment” and request that the Court enter an Order awarding you the support judgment and certifying the amount owed.
In this scenario, the Obligor has a due process right to file a Response with the Court, disputing the amount at issue and/or your compliance with the notice and documentation requirements, and may even request an evidentiary hearing regarding these issues. Unlike enforcement of a “sum certain” amount of child support owed, you cannot seek a Writ of Garnishment or enter a lien against property in this scenario until you have received an Order from the Court regarding your Motion for Entry of Support Judgment.
However, once you receive an Order granting your Motion, you may seek the same enforcement options described above.
My Ex has failed to pay both the monthly child support amount AND their contribution to extraordinary expenses.
In the case that your Ex has failed to pay both a “sum certain” amount of child support and has failed to pay their portion of extracurricular and/or extraordinary medical expenses, you will need to seek enforcement under both options outlined above.
You will need to file a Verified Entry of Support Judgment for the amounts owed and not paid as specific child support, and a Motion for Entry of Support Judgement for any amounts that would have been subject to debate or fluctuation over time and seeking a Court Order establishing the amount owed as a judgment.
The post Child Support: Options For Enforcement Against The Non-Paying Parent appeared first on Divorced Moms.
None of us can do everything by ourselves. We need friends, family, and community. But how many of these people can you reach out to who have an understanding of your life as a single mom?
How do you create a community of support when you’re juggling your children’s lives and all their activities, working, running your household and all that goes along with being a single mom, right?
You need a tribe, a group of friends and even some family members who’ll be there if you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to bitch about your kids to or help with childcare.
And, don’t forget that person to share a glass of wine or cup of coffee with. Someone you can talk about your latest relationship with, the new jeans you purchased or how damn broke you are. It all helps but when it comes to being a single mom and building that kind of community, it’s beyond difficult.
Create a babysitting network with other single parent friends, offering to supervise someone else’s kids for an evening on a rotating schedule with all people offering same. Not only do you gain time away from the kids you build relationships with other single moms.
Facebook Page for Local Single Moms
Use social networking wisely. Join or create a Facebook page for local single parents. You can swap ideas, services, potluck dinners, meetups, the list is endless and can provide connections if you don’t have built-in ones through family or your kids’ friends.
My local single mom’s Facebook group has 63 members. We go hiking, kayaking, out to lunch, to movies, museums and have a book club that meets once a month. Since we’re all single moms’ effort is made to schedule activities based on member’s availability. If there is an activity that can’t be scheduled to suit everyone, we’ll do that activity twice to make sure everyone is included.
Join a church. Even if you don’t consider yourself religious or the church-going type. Churches often have mother’s groups and provide daycare. Then you’re meeting people who are in the same phase of life as you and your kids get to have fun and make friends in the process too.
The church I go to has a once a month meeting of single parents. On the third Thursday of each month, we have a pot-luck dinner. We share a meal and have a gathering where no topic is off the table. We’ve talked about dating, sex, networking for careers and childcare amongst many other things. We even gave ourselves a name and had T-shirts printed up…Cornerstone Singles. Next month we’re all running a half marathon!
You can create your own single mom group on meetup.com. Or, explore groups in your community and join one that has already been created. The great thing about meetup.com is that you’ll find groups for all kinds of activities. If you’re into quilting, wine tasting, or just hanging out with singles in your age group, you’ll find it on meetup.com.
If you’re in a bind, and it’s not a traditional emergency, try dialing 2-1-1. Many states help through 2-1-1, which operates much like 9-1-1, but provides free referrals to local social service agencies, groups and organizations. Simply dial 2-1-1 from any phone and tell the operator what kind of help you’re looking for, and they might be able to connect you to community programs for single parents.
Building your supportive community as a single mom is critical. No one can do it all, and as single moms, we feel like we are expected to do everything.
A friend told me that this generation of parents is really the first generation that believes that we have to do everything. We work, take care of the home, take our kids to activities, review and help with homework, and everything in between without asking for help.
As a matter of fact, another friend posted on social media about how her mom was coming over to help her with her laundry and another woman with children scolded her for being a burden. We are conditioned to do everything alone and refuse to ask for help because asking for help shows weakness.
If you haven’t heard this yet, let me tell you that this is a lie! Don’t buy into the idea that you need to be strong, need to be able to do it on your own! Don’t miss out on critical rest or peace of mind because you are trying to be Supermom.
The post 4 Ways to Build Your Single Mom Community of Support appeared first on Divorced Moms.
My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:
Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.
A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.
No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way.
Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single-parent home.”
Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations. Men aren’t oppressed, they are REPRESSED emotionally!
It’s not OK for a man to cry.
Be a man, suck it up.
You’ve heard those phrases tossed around and so have I.
We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness.
So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.
If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that divorcing dad.
Going solo on such a huge adventure like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain. It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster.
A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Someone you’re romantically interested in shouldn’t be a springboard for grief and renewal.
So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?
See reaching out for support as a:
To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life this time around? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!
The post Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do? appeared first on Divorced Moms.
Originally published by Kelly McClure.
The Texas Family Code provides guidelines to assist courts in calculating child support that are based on a percentage of the parent’s net monthly resources. The statute sets forth what types of income are included and excluded from the parent’s net monthly resources. In many families, it is fairly straight-forward to determine what is included in the calculation. If a parent’s only income is from the wage or salary he or she earns from employment, it is relatively simple to identify the net monthly resources. Some families, however, have more complicated financial circumstances making it less clear what should be included.
In a recent case, a father appealed the inclusion of an annuity payment in his net monthly resources for purposes of the child support calculation. Prior to the marriage, the father settled a claim for a work-related accident with his employer. As a result of the settlement, the father receives $6,970 per month from an annuity. The payments will continue until either the the father’s death or June 1, 2044.
The couple had one child during the marriage. The mother filed for divorce less than a year after the couple was married. Although the couple reached agreement on some issues, they were unable to agree on child support and medical support. The trial court found the annuity payments were “resources” under Texas Family Code 154.062 and included them in the father’s resources when calculating the child and medical support payments.
The father appealed, arguing the trial court erred in including the annuity payments in his net resources and therefore erred in calculating the amount of child support and medical support. The appeals court considered the plain language of the statute defining resources. The statute specifically addresses annuities, stating, “Resources include…all other income actually being received, including… annuities…” Although previous cases distinguished between settlement annuities and other types of annuities, the appeals court declined to draw such a distinction. The appeals court pointed out that the statute included “annuities” within “resources,” and did not differentiate between types of annuities. Furthermore, the statutory language did not differentiate between the portion of the annuity payment representing repayment of premiums and the portion that represented earned interest. The appeals court therefore found no error in the trial court including the full amount of the monthly annuity payment in the father’s resources.
The appeals court in this case found that the entire annuity payment could be included in the parent’s net monthly resources. However, this holding is inconsistent with the previous holding of another Texas appeals court. Although the language in the statute provides that annuities are included in net monthly resources, there is also language stating that the “return of principal” is not included. The issue, therefore, may not be completely settled. Different facts or a different court could lead to a different result. If you are anticipating a child support dispute involving an annuity, the skilled child support attorneys at McClure Law Group can help. Call us at 214.692.8200 to schedule an appointment to talk about your case.
Although you may not be able to avoid tension during a divorce, your kids are your most important consideration. That’s why it’s vital to arrange a child maintenance agreement.
The post Child Support: How To Reach a Child Maintenance Agreement That Benefits Your Children appeared first on Divorce Magazine.