law enforcement Archives | Cordell & Cordell

Disparity Between Child Support and Custody Enforcement

Cordell & Cordell CEO and Co-founder Joseph CordellIt is evident that the enforcement of child support and visitation are treated separately in the civil system, according to Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joseph Cordell’s latest Huffington Post divorce column.

The law is quick and severe when child support is not paid but is largely toothless when a father is denied access to his children.

The disparity between enforcement of failing to pay child support and custodial interference is particularly calamitous for fathers, who represent 87.1 percent of child support payers and 82.6 percent of noncustodial parents, according to the U.S. Census.

“Much is made of the offensive moniker ‘deadbeat dads’ and the histrionic punishments doled out by zealous judges,” Mr. Cordell writes. “However, throughout my 20+ years with Cordell & Cordell advocating for fathers’ rights, it is apparent the more pertinent story is the paucity of attention, much less innovation, given the reciprocal problem relating to primary custodians that defy court orders respecting the other parent’s access and participation in children’s lives.”

Read the full column on HuffingtonPost.com: “Disparity Between Child Support and Custody Enforcement.”

Massachusetts child support case turns ugly

The children of a Brockton, Massachusetts man watched as local authorities pointed a gun at their father due to an ongoing child custody case, according to The Enterprise.

George A. Haikal was held at gunpoint while dropping his kids off at school due to a lack of payment for child support. The sister of the man who was arrested noted that the impact of the event would be damaging for the children and was completely unnecessary, the news source reported.

“They’re never going to forget seeing what they did to their father,” the sister told The Enterprise. “What he (the constable) did in front of his children, this guy should not be able to have a license in Massachusetts or anywhere in the country.”

Along with the potential future damage to the children in the car, the act was committed in front of more than 100 other students who were arriving at school, according to the news source.

A previous article from The Enterprise noted Haikal was not troubled by the arrest, only that his children had to witness the incident.

Divorce opens door to criminal investigation in Florida

After an unusual divorce filing, officials in St. Johns County, Florida, have launched a criminal investigation and placed a woman in jail on perjury charges, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Sherril Thurston divorced her husband Bob, who has since passed away, in 2009. According to the news source, the divorce paperwork was filed in Florida where Bob Thurston owned property. However, Bob’s daughter, Tracie, has contended that her father and step-mother in fact lived in North Carolina when the divorce was filed. Florida law requires that one spouse be a resident of the state for at least six months before a divorce can be filed.

The separation of the couple is even more complicated, however, because Bob Thurston was suffering from dementia, meaning he may not have had the capacity to truly understand the consequences of the divorce.

According to a family law attorney in Zephyrillis, Florida, lawyers are seeing an increasing number of baby boomers looking to dissolve marriages of 30-plus years. This could be due to the lessening stigma regarding divorce for adults over 50 and the freedom couples feel once their children have grown up and moved out. As a result, child custody and support are no longer an issue. However, health issues that come with age can further complicate divorces.

Cops bust child support dodgers with Iron Bowl ticket offer

Several people suspected of not paying child support in Alabama were arrested during a unique sting operation, the Opelika-Auburn News reports.

Opelika police sent out letters to parents who had unpaid child support, alerting them that they had won free tickets to the Iron Bowl, a football match-up between local powerhouses Auburn and Alabama. When some of the parents arrived to pick up their tickets, they were arrested. Nearly a dozen parents were taken into custody.

The sting was an elaborate event put on by undercover police officers. The people who arrived to claim tickets were greeted by people dressed in Alabama and Auburn gear and a celebratory atmosphere. Once their identities were confirmed, they were arrested. The Opelika-Auburn News captured the entire event on film.

Some parents who owe child support are easier to catch. U.S. Representative Joe Walsh has recently been accused of owing $100,000 in child support, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Walsh argues that he does not owe anywhere close to that amount. His ex-wife claims that he owes the six-figure child support bill because it accumulated over eight years.

Mom flees with children violating visitation plan

A Michigan father is waiting nervously after the mother of his children has reportedly fled with their 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, according to WOOD News.

Wendi Carpenter of Holland, Michigan, was supposed to return the children to their father at the Holland Department of Public Safety building after a scheduled visitation during the summer. The agency was asked to help with the exchange of the children.

The news source reports that the woman is believed to have fled the state with the children, Luke and Cambria. Authorities were looking for them in a 2006 Toyota Highlander, but that vehicle was recovered in western Missouri where Carpenter has a family member living. A nationwide warrant has been issued by the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s office for custodial interference.

The father has custody of the children in Colorado, the Holland Sentinel reports.

Holland Police spokesman Captain Bob Buursma told the publication that law enforcement officials do not have any information that would lead them to believe that the children are in great danger, and Carpenter’s motivations are not known.