Author Archive

• Friday, December 18th, 2009

As parents separated from our children, we often lament the loss of ability to help and guide them to maturity. However, we overlook the fact that we too, often learn from our children. Separation of that daily bond causes us to lose some of that benefit from our children as well.

I was recently reminded of this yesterday. My son was working on a history report for high school, and asked me to help him with it. The topic was on the Bulgarian role in WW-I, and he was looking for help in organizing his research on the topic.

Now, I have a huge interest in modern history, particularly in the area of modern warfare. So I was taken aback to realize my lack of knowledge of that particular topic. So, the two of us spent an evening “burning the midnight oil” to obtain facts and exchange ideas on how to put it into a report. In short, it was a tremendous learning opportunity for both of us that (hopefully) enriched both our lives.

• Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

My thanks to Mike Geanoulis to bringing this to my attention. This Tennessee bill would require any pregnant woman to submit to a paternity test before a father’s name was put on a birth certificate.

The author’s objections to this bill amount to

(1) the mother might not want the father to know he is the father, and ;

(2) the mother does not want the father involved because of rape or incest.

This is My Response:

• Tuesday, November 03rd, 2009

This is a reprint of an article I wrote about a year ago. All my old posts can be viewed at NH Family Law Reform.

Returning to the previous discussion of the basic problems with current child support laws, let’s take a look at wage garnishment, or “assignment”. This is a much broader issue than just attaching a weekly paycheck. This also includes seizure of bank account, retirement and other liquid assets. It means mandatory confiscation of tax refunds. It means states refusing to give you a drivers license if you owe support. It even means suspending your right to travel abroad if you are behind in child support.

Obviously, many people think this is fair and just; after all if one is not supporting their children, should not the State be allowed to take harsh measures? My argument against this is that “where does it stop?” Currently, these harsh penalties are not applied when one is behind in in alimony payments; they are not imposed for any type of civil debt (mortgage, etc.); they are not even imposed to this extent when taxes are owed.

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• Thursday, December 04th, 2008

As many of you know, the State of New Hampshire has enlisted a group of economists from UNH to review and make recommendations on the modification of the current NH child support guidelines. Through the months of November, public hearings were held to gather input for the study committee. Hopefully, with this public input, and the will of the Legislature, perhaps fairer guidelines may be adopted in our lifetime.

However, having more reasonable guidelines is only part of the problem with the current child support system. The arguably bigger problem with the system is the generous discretion family court judges and child support referees have in determining what constitutes income. After all, what does it matter if there is a formula to calculate a “fair” amount of support if the Judge can simply and arbitrarily decide what the obligor and obligee’s respective incomes are? In the IT community, we have a saying: “garbage in is garbage out”. An apt description of today’s child support system.


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