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 Legal points:
Family Law

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  • Clearly Communicate with your former significant other/your child(ren)'s other parent.

  • Respond to court actions filed against you in a timely manner: failure to do as much may constitute an admission to an accusation, consent to a challenged provision, or a default to an entire action.​

  • Document agreements.

  • ​Stipulations ought to be clear, and on the record to acknowledge their legal scope and facilitate their enforcement.

  • Try to understand: your child(ren)'s other parent's legal parental rights are NOT subject to your approval.

  • Contact the police (and request, rather than demand) that they monitor court ordered interactions, such as  child exchanges (visitation exchange supervision) and property transfers in volatile, or potentially volatile interactions with your former partner.  

  • Obtain free legal representation in the criminal, family or appellate context if you are, or were recently exposed to and are trying to obtain relief from domestic violence (please click on the domestic violence page of this site for helpful information and offered representation to those who can benefit from the offered relief).​  

  • Treat others the way you would want to be treated…  It's amazing how many "problems"  including those that lead to legal disputes, would not materialize if this rule was adhered to.

  • Pay child support in "paper trail" form or via tangibley or physically accountable means (e.g., bank checks, cashier's checks, money orders, etc.) in order to "prove" it in the event of a dispute. Quite often, people pay child support in a manner that doesn't provide for some physical record of it (most commonly, delivering cash). Perhaps correspondinly, some child support recipients "forget" they were paid child support, then seek enforcement action against the "payor" (the party required to pay child support).  The enforcement action generally comes by way of a "Show Cause" hearing, or an "SC:" an action requested by a petitioning payee (court ordered child support payment recipient) alleging that the "payor" (the person court ordered  to pay child support) defaulted on that obligation).  ​ 

  • Defending against SC's: There are a number of things that can be done to defend against SC's; and a good start is by recognizing that an SC is not some typically structured hearing: Unlike virtually every other proponent tasking hearing that commits to the theoretical virtue (or for those who denounce theoretical talk --while hypocritically engaging in it, the practical construct of "fairness") of being "presumed innocent unless proven (legally) guilty," an SC inverts that typical scheme: the accused (i.e., the payor), is rebuttably presumed to have inexcusably --as a legal matter-- defaulted on their support obligation by unlawfully failing to pay the full court ordered child support amount; and therefore, the same has the burden of proof.  In other words, the accused has to show there's a ​​​valid reason to not be held in contempt (as opposed to the far more common case, where the party accusing another (rather than the accused) has the burden of proving their case. But there's no shortage of things that can be done to rebut the presumption that the accused should be held in contempt, and there are numerous ways to prove it.  

  • One way, is by having a written manifestation of a previous payment that "shows" the child support obligation was already paid (i.e., a receipt, a check, money order, or a written acknowledgement of a payment received (e.g., a writing drafted or signed by the payee, etc.).  In other words, a "paper trail" (physical record) of which there are different kinds..., including those that can track delivery of payments, and others that reflect a payee's acknowledged receipt of a disputed child support payment.  Such a paper trail of a previously satisfied court ordered child support payment can be used to dispose of an alleged violation against you in two equally important ways:

  • (i) as to "active" claims or claims already filed against you (which to some is more important in the more immediate sense), a paper trail can be used to directly refute an allegation that you haven't paid the disputed support amount by exposing evidence that --at least on its face-- conflicts with the allegations against you; and

  • (ii)  as to prospective  or pending claims (i.e., claims filed pending further action, or claims filed at some future time), it  can also be used to expose a history of wrongful allegations filed against you which can (at least) either

    • (a) quell a prospective claim against you by prompting the proponent to think twice before falsely (or sometimes, innocently mistakenly) accusing you of defaulting on your support obligation where you have a record that contradicts that claim; and/or

    • (b) by offering relevant history  of prior unsupported claims filed against you to a court, it can subject the payee to sanctions for what would be viewed as the repeated misuse of that legal forum (Note: a history  of prior unsupported claims filed against you doesn't necessarily help you if you are currently in default (i.e., claiming you were falsely accused in the past, doesn't spare you from being held accountable from defaulting now; and indeed, you can be held accountable for attempting to distract the court from current matters);  but if you're currently not in "default" status, it can add seriousness to the charge that you're being  wrongfully (intentionally, or at least mistakenly --and arguably repeatedly) accused of something you haven't done now: defaulted on your child support obligation.  And the consequence for this is the payee (the party accusing you of not paying child support) being subject to sanctions for the repeated misuse of that legal forum).  Further note: these things can be helpful, but they're not necessarily dispositive (i.e., tangible "proof"  doesn't always necessarily tell the whole story; but it doesn't require anyone to ignore it either.  In other words, to the extent that it's taken into account by a fact finder/the court, it can contribute to a fuller story, but don't assume that there wouldn't be an attempt to question, object or refute it by adverse party --informing the import of being competently responsive to anything thrown your way).   

  • Payment method and compliance status: Whatever court ordered method you're required to pay child support with, use it: pay it that way (an easy way to pay child support and still be subject to liability (being accused of not paying it),  is to deviate from the required method of payment: questions as to your failure to comply with a method of payment can extend to questions as to whether or not you paid it, coupled with the unenviable task of "tracking  your payment").   And if you're not reduced to a particular method, explore available options (e.g., court monitored accounts, garnishments,  etc.).  To ensure you're complying with a court ordered method of payment --as well as with the payments themselves-- contact the FOC; or call me at (702) 449 - 1289, or email me at attorneybarnetlevine@gmail.com, and we'll discuss your current obligation compliance status and available and/or required methods of payment (delivery).  

  • Keep in mind: Hearings have particular purposes and rules; they are not "free for alls:" Do not mistake the court for a stage to denounce all of your ex's (perceived) errors.  To that end, you may have done your homework so-to-speak (e.g., you may have sought, obtained and preserved copies of texts, emails, etc.), and some of it may be useful in an upcoming hearing, but much of it may not be: your evidence must substantively align itself with the relevant scope and purpose of the hearing; and it must also be presented in a procedurally compliant manner in order for it to be admissible.  

Barnet G. LeVine, Esq.

differentattorney.com (noassemblyline.com)

attorneybarnetlevine@gmail.com