Welcome to the YoungWilliams Research & Case Law Library.  Use the filters below to select categories of interest to you.  Currently our Library consists of academic and government research articles and reports from around the country, federal opinions, and case law from states in which our full service child support projects are located: Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming.  Sign up to receive updates by clicking the blue  box at the left of the page.

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Research & Case Law

Sekik v. Abdelnabi (Tennessee 2021)

January 2021

When evidence supports the determination of a parent’s income, it will not be overturned as an abuse of discretion.  In this divorce case, the parents agreed to support for four children in a temporary parenting plan entered in 2012. By the time the final decree was entered in 2019, the father was incarcerated. In the final order, the support amount was reduced pro rata since two children had emancipated. The father moved for a new trial on a variety of issues, including the child support. The court denied the motion, and he appealed.

In re Marriage of Hogsett and Neale (Colorado 2021)

January 2021

A common law marriage may be established by the mutual consent or agreement of the couple to enter the legal and social institution of marriage, followed by conduct that supports this agreement. The court must consider all relevant factors to determine if the parties had an agreement. The same-sex parties in this case were in a relationship from November 2011 to November 2014. They never married even after that became an option in October 2014. The parties separated and filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. They mediated their issues and dismissed the petition without the need for a determination as to their marital status. Later, Hogsett sought retirement assets and maintenance. Neale objected, arguing the parties were not married. Hogsett filed a second petition for dissolution stating that the parties were married at common law. 

In re Marriage of LaFleur and Pyfer (Colorado 2021)

January 2021

The recognition of the right for same-sex couples to marry in Colorado didn’t preclude couples from entering into common law marriages prior to that date. In 2003, Pyfer and LaFleur, a same-sex couple, exchanged rings and held a ceremony acknowledging their commitment. In 2018, Pyfer filed for dissolution of marriage. LaFleur argued they were not married as same-sex marriage wasn’t recognized in Colorado until 2014. Evidence showed that Pyfer had proposed to LaFleur and the men held a ceremony. Pyfer held himself out as married and listed LaFleur as his spouse on legal documents. Based on this evidence, the district court found the parties entered into a common law marriage and divided their assets accordingly. Pyfer appealed the property division, and LaFleur appealed the determination of a valid marriage.

In re Estate of Yudkin (Colorado 2021)

January 2021

A common law marriage may be established by the mutual consent or agreement of the couple to enter the legal and social institution of marriage, followed by conduct that supports this agreement. All the circumstances must be considered to find the agreement.  In this probate case, the husband died intestate. His ex-wife petitioned to be the personal representative of his estate. His “wife” sought removal of the ex-wife and appointment as the personal representative as his common law wife. The district court found no marriage existed under the test in place, and the common law wife appealed.

Negotiating Race and Racial Inequality in Family Court

December 2020

This article explores the role of race in court proceedings to enforce a child support obligation. The researchers found courts fail to recognize the role of race in father’s ability to support his child. Black fathers are getting hit from all directions: by a labor market that discriminates against them and by a court system with unrealistic expectations. Fathers are required to pay their child support obligation. Many meet the obligation through wage withholding from their job. For Black fathers, racism in the labor market prevents them from finding and maintaining a job that allows them to pay support.

Bishop v. Bishop (North Carolina 2020)

December 2020

A child’s reasonable needs are based upon the ability of the parents to provide. Trial courts have wide discretion when determining needs and can consider the parent’s lifestyle and standard of living. The mother filed to modify the divorce decree based on the father’s increased income. His income came from many sources: base salary, bonuses, and stock. The final order increased support and adjusted the percentages for unreimbursed medical expenses. The father appealed.

Procedural Justice Principles in the Midst of a Major Disruption

December 2020

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) funded the Procedural Justice Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) grant to explore the application of procedural justice principles to enforcing child support orders. The grant targets noncustodial parents who are about to be referred for contempt for not paying their child support but have the ability to pay. This brief addresses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project sites and the parents.

In re the Parental Responsibilities Concerning M.E.R. and D.E.R.-L (Colorado 2020)

December 2020

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) does not prohibit the inclusion of a parent’s veteran’s disability benefits as income for child support. The father filed a proceeding to allocate parental responsibilities for his two children. With respect to child support, the father’s income consisted of military retirement and veteran’s benefits. The trial court included both sources in the father’s gross income and set child support. The father appealed, arguing the veteran’s benefits shouldn’t haven’t been included in his income because the veteran’s disability benefits are not insurance benefits, aren’t taxable, and federal law prohibits the inclusion.

Angel v. Sandoval (North Carolina 2020)

December 2020

If a parent is voluntarily underemployed, a court can use the parent’s earning capacity as income for child support. The mother filed to modify child support based on the father’s increase in income. The mother was not working, and the court set her income at zero. The final order substantially increased the father’s support. The father appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to impute income to the mother at her earning capacity rather than her actual income.

Baxter v. Rowan (Tennessee 2020)

December 2020

A valid paternity acknowledgement is the equivalent of a paternity order and grants a parent standing to sue for visitation. The father signed a paternity acknowledgement and several years later filed for visitation. The trial court granted the visitation. The mother appealed the final order for several reasons. Relevant to child support, she argued the father didn’t have standing to sue for visitation because the paternity acknowledgement was not a final parentage order.

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