We're wrapping up our series on the child support case recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The father was in serious arrears with his support payments and had been haled into court on the matter many times. He explained to the court that he was simply too poor to make the payments, and the family court charged him with civil contempt and sent him to jail each time. The man argues that the court should have appointed an attorney for him. The Supreme Court is now asked to determine if courts should appoint an attorney for unrepresented, indigent parties in civil matters (specifically child support cases).
In our last post, we were discussing a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The controversy at the bottom of the matter involves a father who could not make his child support payments. Charged with civil contempt, the man was sent to jail a number of times, at least once for as long as a year. The objective of civil contempt is coercion, not punishment. The defendant claims his jail time was pure punishment, because he was too poor to make the support payments.
If a father hasn't paid child support in accordance with a court order, he can be sent to jail. There are penalties for not doing what a court of law tells you to do -- you can wind up with a civil contempt of court charge and jail time. The most famous civil contempt of court cases involve reporters who refuse to reveal their sources after a judge has issued an order. They spend time in jail until they disclose the information, or they appeal, typically with the help of the newspaper's attorney.
A friend of ours loves to tell the story of her grandfather's funeral. Her grandparents lived, for the most part, on the income from a trust set up by his parents years before. The trust stipulated that when her grandfather died, her grandmother would get the same income, and she could stay in the house. There was a condition, though: Her grandmother would lose everything if she remarried. Well, then, she said, I'll just have to shack up with the guy.
There are many issues of primary importance when people are considering divorce. Others items, however, may seem unimportant or too far into the future to matter. Among the items that are often neglected in a divorce proceeding are Social Security benefits. However, ignoring the ramifications of divorce on Social Security claims can be a costly mistake.
We were talking about military women and their marriages -- and the fact that the divorce rate among military women outpaces the rate for either military men or civilian women. The numbers are known, but the reasons are not. While there is little research about the causes of these break-ups, psychologists and military experts have some ideas.
According to Pentagon statistics, about 220,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have faced the challenges of warfare, terrorist attacks, weather and terrain alongside their male counterparts. These women trained and learned to expect and to accept the unexpected during their tours of duty. Personal sacrifice is common, but it's hard to imagine that women prepared to sacrifice their marriages.
A couple of posts ago, we were talking about a court decision regarding a child visitation agreement. The parents are a lesbian couple who live in a state that neither recognizes civil unions nor allows same-sex couples to adopt. In Illinois, the outcome would be different -- especially after June 1, when the civil union law takes effect. The case breaks ground in the couple's home state, though, so it merits discussion here.
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services Child Support Program provides all Illinois residents with child support services. These services allow custodial parents to legally establish paternity, locate the other parent, acquire health insurance for the child or children and collect payments on an established court order.