legal reform Archives - Cordell & Cordell

Indiana Lawyer Interviews Cordell & Cordell Attorney Jason Hopper about Arrears and Age of Emancipation

Jason Hopper Wall Street JournalIndianapolis Divorce Lawyer Jason Hopper was featured extensively in an Indiana Lawyer article regarding prospective changes to the state’s age of emancipation law.

Many Indiana fathers have unknowingly been accumulating child support arrears after assuming their duty to pay support ends with the child’s 18th birthday when in fact the age of emancipation is 21 in Indiana. A proposed bill would lower the age of emancipation for minors from 21 to 19.

“I can’t begin to tell you how many prospective clients that I interview that have the displeasure of finding out that they have a child support arrearage,” Hopper told the newspaper.

The issue is particularly troublesome to wealthier clients who can accumulate substantial arrearages quickly if they miss a few payments. Since those child support payers who owe more than $15,000 face felony charges and up to eight years in prison, Hopper said high-income dads are at greater jeopardy of facing punishment simply because they’re paying a higher dollar amount in support.

The article “Bill Would Change Child Support Statute” is for subscribers only, but it can be read by signing up for a free 8-week trial. Read Jason Hopper’s bio for more information.

Indiana Lawyer‘s interest in reporting Mr. Hopper’s insight into this timely issue is indicative of the respect earned by the Cordell & Cordell law firm and its skilled divorce lawyers. With more than 20 years experience representing men’s interests in divorce and domestic litigation matters, Cordell & Cordell continually proves it is a partner men can count on.

To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, please call 1.866.DADS.LAW.

Bills would reform alimony in Florida

Alimony reform appears to be a hot topic around the country following the recent passage of a bill in Massachusetts that brought these spousal support payments in line with reality.

Florida has hopped on the alimony reform bandwagon with nearly identical bills being introduced in the House and the Senate.

“Florida’s permanent alimony laws are relics from another century,” Representative Ritch Workman, sponsor of HB 549 in the House, said. “I support helping the lower-earning spouse during a transition period after a marriage ends, but there are too many injustices in the current system. Too often, lifetime alimony brings payers to bankruptcy, insolvency, and foreclosure. Lifetime alimony sends the wrong message to those getting divorced in our state.”

Specifically the bills (the one in the state Senate is SB 748) would put a cap on the length of time alimony can be paid based on the length of the marriage, would virtually end alimony once retirement age is reached and would limit the maximum amount of alimony paid to 20 percent of the payer’s monthly income, among other provisions, according to Florida Alimony Reform.

Lawmakers in New Jersey are also reportedly attempting to reform the state’s alimony laws, according to the Huffington Post.

Read more about alimony reform efforts on our affiliated website

Arizona mans Emilys Law push gains momentum

Legislation that was proposed by a San Tan Valley, Arizona, father to let airport security and other agencies access a national database of children abducted by a parent is gaining momentum, according to the East Valley Tribune.

The legislation, which would be called “Emily’s Law” if passed, is aimed at preventing parents from taking a child out of the U.S. in violation of custody arrangements. This would also allow wider access to information on abducted children through a database that is similar to the one provided by the National Crime Information Center, the news source reported.

Michael Sanchez, the leader of the effort, started the movement following a bitter child custody battle that he was part of following his child’s mother leaving the country with his daughter. He told the news source of his optimism concerning the law.

“I think it’s progressing pretty good,” Sanchez said about the law. “Within the last couple of months, it looks like people think it’s a really good idea. We know that it’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s moving forward.”

According to the website for the law, the legislation could affect more than 150,000 children.

Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee proposes involving government in marriage process

The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee recently took up legislation that supporters note may change the institution of marriage in the state, MLive reported.

According to the news source, the Senate panel introduced legislation that would extend the waiting period to get married from three to 28 days if the applicants do not complete a premarital education class.

“This is definitely crossing a line of what government should be involved in,” Shelly Weisberg, of the ACLU Michigan, told MLive. “Who’s to say what makes a good marriage for two people?”

Along with the legislation that extends the waiting period, a bill was introduced that makes it harder for individuals in the state to get divorced. Couples would have to complete a questionnaire and an ominous-sounding “divorce effects” program before dissolving the union if they have kids, according to the news source.

The Michigan Messenger reported that this allegedly conservative committee was trying to pass the legislation in an effort to deter people from getting divorced.

“We are a pro-divorce society,” James Sheridan, a judge on the committee, told MLive. “We need to be a pro-marriage society.”

New Zealand overhauls child support laws

An overhaul of child-support payments could reduce the cost for parents who spend less time with their children, according to the New Zealand Herald.

This legislation may differ from the laws in the U.S., but could provide an example of a more efficient system for determining payment.

The news source reported that Revenue Minister Peter Dunne announced the changes, as he noted that parents would be recognized as “shared carers” for children if they had them for 28 percent of nights, down from 40 percent. The legislation would also give greater consideration of the income for both individuals in determining child support.

According to the Herald, the penalties for non-payment would also be relaxed, due to the state of the economy and the lack of revenue that many adults have in these times. Although the amount of money that some parents receive could drop, Dunne noted that this system would be “fairer.”

The child support system would go into effect in April 2013, and most of the payment changes would be implemented the following year, according to the New Zealand government.