Archive for March, 2018

Can Child Support Be Suspended If The Father Does Not Believe He Is The Biological Parent Of A Child?

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

This is an issue that has been around for ages; men, not even necessarily husbands, being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support, and then, wouldn’t you know, it turns out they aren’t even the biological father. Emotions run high, and many of these men wonder if they will ever see that money come back. And the brutal, honest truth is that no, they will not.

Child support goes to the benefit of the child, and the court does not find that the child should be punished for this mishap. And the word mishap is used quite loosely, as it is very often that mothers will knowingly report the wrong man to be the father of their child (Maury Povich, anyone?), and happily collect the support payments for years. But it is important to note that some mothers are forced to name a father in order to receive state aid, so that they may collect a portion of that aid through child support payments made. And most of the time, when men receive this notice, they do the right thing and start making monthly payments, because why would they assume they are being duped if they can rationalize that they are the father?

However, a new advancement in science is being utilized to ensure that unfortunate common situations, such as unsuspecting men being forced to pay upwards of $20,000 a month to support a child that is not biologically related to them, from happening. A DNA test can be used to obtain a Disestablishment of Paternity, and through the DNA test, if it is established that the child is not the father’s biological child, the father can then file for termination of all support obligations. However, there are several stipulations in place for a man to disestablish paternity:

-There can be no child support owed when the Petition to Disestablish Paternity is filed

-DNA samples are obtained either voluntarily or via court order

-When the child was conceived during the marriage (if they were married), the child cannot have been a product of artificial insemination

-The child cannot have been adopted during the marriage

-The petition must have been submitted within 2 years of the birth of the child, or within two years of the father being notified he may not be the biological father.

So to answer the main question here, yes, there are ways to end child support payments if it turns out that the man making these payments is not the biological father. But it is important to understand the impact that will have on the child, and if, for their sake alone, it is worth making these payments, regardless if you are “blood relatives”. Being a father doesn’t require you to share the same DNA, and if you are happy to be involved in the child’s life as the father figure, you might want to consider holding off on the petition.

Can Men Receive Spousal Support?

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Because of how rigid gender roles have been in society, and how that has influenced the flow of income between men and women, women traditionally are awarded alimony in most divorces. This seemed to be typical in almost every divorce, so much that it created this popular cultural joke in our country about “women marrying rich men just to divorce them, and get half of their stuff!” However, times have changed and so as the idea of the modern day “bread winner”. Now more than ever, women are the ones in the household who are bringing in the same or more income as their male partners.

But has spousal support changed with the times?

The answer to this question is no, it hasn’t, but that is because spousal support was never “only for women”. The point behind alimony is that neither spouse should be left with significantly less than the other when the dust has settled. The ideal scenario is that you feel just about even with your ex-spouse when the divorce is settled (at least with what you left with). Therefore, just like in our rigid role scenario, if the wife is making more money during the marriage, the husband can potentially receive alimony. Considering that both spouses could walk away from the marriage with similar expenses, yet very different amounts of income, it is understandable why the court is willing to award alimony to either husband or wife.

Another influencing factor that could get former husband spousal support is if he was a stay-at-home dad, and took care of the kids. Stay-at-home mothers are often awarded alimony, and on the same premise; because you did not have a chance to make the same, or any, amount of money, as being a stay-at-home parent is a full time job. The court does not believe a parent should be punished for not having a career in lieu of taking care of the family, and they do consider the value of that when determining who is entitled to what.

2 Common Financial Myths About Getting Divorced

Monday, March 5th, 2018

When couples get divorced, one of the first thing that they do with their attorney is discuss what they want in the division, and spouses begin to strategize (on their own) how to get what they want. Part of that “strategizing” is often misguided by some inconsistent myths about divorce, division of property, and what each spouse is entitled to.

Myth #1: Any money you deposit into your account during and before the marriage is yours!

Although I am not insinuating that spouses are always preparing for divorce during the marriage, if you examine common behavior, it might look a bit differently. For instance, many individuals believe that if they keep a separate bank account during the marriage, then, in the case of divorce, their soon-to-be ex will not be entitled to any of those assets. However, depending on where this money came from, it could be argued otherwise – even if the account is in your name. Marital funds, as they are called, is income or money acquired during the marriage (a very encompassing term). Therefore, any funds you deposit into that separate account during the marriage can be deemed as marital property, and therefore, your spouse has some claim of interest in it. So unless you are very scrupulous about how you separate your money, don’t be so sure that your separate bank account is only yours.

Myth #2: If I paid for the house, it doesn’t matter whose name is on the deed! And in a divorce, I keep either the house or the payment if it is sold!

With regards to the division of property, it is again influenced by certain factors. For instance, if you previously owned the property solely, and your name is the only one on it during the duration of the marriage and during the divorce, then you have a really good probability of retaining the home. However, if you re-titled the property so that now, your spouse is listed as a co-owner, the court will find the house to be marital property.

In addition, any funds you spend on the home during the marriage (remember that these are now marital funds) can lead to an increase in the value of the property, in which case this increased value gives the non-owning spouse a vested interest in the property. In short, whose name is on the deed has a strong chance of retaining the property, but how the property was maintained and used can come into play as well.

Divorce cases which involve distribution or division of numerous and substantial assets require special skills and expertise to ensure proper valuation and accounting. Contact Paul E Rudder, Esq. today for expert legal advice. Call 212-826-9900 to set up an appointment.