Child Support Case Studies

Father Gains Child Support From Mother After Parties' Separation

The father of two children under age five retained us to help him gain child support from the mother. The father and mother had recently separated. They were not married but had been living together since before the children were born. Our client was a stay-at-home dad who earned part-time income from an editing and publishing business he conducted out of the home. The mother was a family physician with a thriving practice and substantial income several times the income of our client. The mother had moved out of the home to live with a colleague with whom our client then learned the mother had a long-standing romantic relationship. We prepared to subpoena wage records from the mother's professional practice employer. But before serving the subpoena, we made a request and demand to the mother's retained attorney to voluntarily present those wage records and consent to an appropriate child support amount based on the mother's actual income. Our intent was to allow the mother to avoid professional embarrassment while saving our client the time, trouble, and expense of a contested support hearing. The mother, through counsel, agreed to share the documentation, on which we calculated the due child support and prepared and presented the consent agreement. After adjustments to the order's form, the mother signed the consent, and the judge entered it for enforcement. Our client was able to maintain the home and establish a custodial environment without interruption or change based on the new support order.

Father Avoids Child Support Obligation When Sharing Joint Physical Custody

The father of a teenage boy retained us to eliminate a child support obligation that he had been paying the boy's mother for the past decade after the boy had been dividing time equally between the father's house and the mother's house. The father and mother had divorced a decade earlier under a consent judgment for divorce that awarded the mother sole physical custody and child support. The boy, though, had expressed a preference to spend more time with our client, the father, because of their shared interests in sports and outdoor recreation. The mother had voluntarily accepted that the boy spent approximately equal time at both houses on a flexible schedule at the boy's own preference. The father and mother had approximately equal incomes, both working for the same company in similar positions at different locations. The mother objected to a change in support because she had grown accustomed to the extra income. Our presentation at the hearing proved the above account to the judge's satisfaction. The judge construed the mother's acquiescence in the shared physical custody arrangement as further grounds to both eliminate support and formally change the custody order to joint physical custody. The key to our success was in making a thorough and orderly presentation of the facts while avoiding certain acrimony between the parties that might have distracted the judge from the issue and caused the judge to stick with the original order.

Father Wins Child Support From Mother Based on Self-Employment Income

The father of a one-year-old boy retained us to obtain a child support order from the mother of their child. The father and mother had rented a home together, planning to marry. The mother gave birth to the child and remained in the home until the child had stopped nursing but then moved out to live with another man in that man's own residence, leaving our client to care alone for the infant child. Our client had a marketing and website business that he mostly ran from home, but he also required infant care services and help from his parents and sisters to care for the infant. Our client had adequate financial support from his business and family but wanted to hold the mother accountable for at least some support. The mother had refused, claiming no income. Our client was aware, though, that the mother made relatively substantial self-employment income from her own marketing, website, and consulting services. We initiated the support action, out of which we subpoenaed payment records from several of the mother's clients. We also deposed the mother to identify additional clients and income. Our discovery efforts led to a conciliation conference in which the mother agreed to pay support based on tax and other records of her self-employment income.

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