Fight or flight: responses to unfair child support obligations

Fight or flight: responses to unfair child support obligations

Today’s posting illustrates the importance of providing a complete financial picture to a court so that any child support orders in Michigan are fairly — and proactively — determined.

A father who had been absent from his child’s life for 19 years and had become delinquent in his child support payments moved to Hawaii to avoid the consequences. It’s unclear what caused the man to become initially delinquent in his support payments. Perhaps he felt the child support order was initially unfair or beyond his means. Alternatively, the man’s financial situation may have changed. Either possibility could have been remedied through lawful means, rather than fleeing to Hawaii.

In any event, the man believed Hawaii to be too remote a location for extradition. However, he was lured back to the United States after a bounty hunter, pretending to be a movie producer, recruited him on Facebook with the promise of a cameo appearance in a new romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston. The bounty hunter pretended that one of his talent scouts had heard the man giving a café performance. After the plane touched down, local authorities arrested the man — at which point the ruse was up. The man spent 42 days in jail and pleaded guilty for willful failure to pay child support.

To avoid an unfair outcome, courts frequently issue orders preventing either spouse from changing the financial status quo of the marriage after a divorce action has begun. That freeze may prohibit selling, transferring or borrowing against marital property; borrowing or selling insurance held for the other spouse; modifying beneficiaries on policies; changing bank accounts; or destroying or hiding assets until after the final divorce decree is entered by the court. In the event that a parent’s finances change down the road, a request for modification of a child support order may be filed with a court.

If you have concerns about how child support will be computed in your divorce, an attorney can fight to ensure that any support obligations are fairly determined.

Source: MSNBC, “Jennifer Aniston movie role lures deadbeat dad home to face $43K bill, arrest,” Randee Dawn, July 9, 2012

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