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Pittsburgh Family Law Blog

Rapper works deal to pay child support

Sadly, many Pennsylvania divorced parents know what it is like to not receive the support payments for their children as ordered by a judge. There is a fear that food will not be on the table for one or more meals, that the child will not have a suitable coat to keep him or her warm in the winter, or he or she will have to stay behind on a class field trip because the money just is not there. Terius Gray, known to fans of the rap genre as Juvenile, has recently spent time behind bars for non-payment of child support.

After two days in one city jail, police picked Gray up for another stay in another city on a separate child support matter. He worked out an installment deal with the first city to pay off $150,000 in back child support for his 18-year-old son. Judges know jail time is not an answer for most parents who have not paid child support because they are not able to make money if they are incarcerated. However, when a parent has the means yet does not pay, jail is an option judges choose to take. According to Gray's lawyer, he spends time with his son and has even bought him a car and paid the way for his prom.

Non-payment of child support may mean contempt of court

It is common knowledge among divorced couples in Pennsylvania that the non-custodial parent is expected to pay child support. The amount of child support differs with each former couple, based on a number of variables but mainly on income. Fans of the "Real Housewives" series may be interested to hear about the fate of Jules Wainstein's ex-husband, Michael, as he has twice passed up opportunities to pay an amount previously set by a judge.

Michael is having to appear at a contempt of court hearing next month because he has not made any attempt to pay child support and other fees that total to over $135,000. Jules' attorney has said he gets money from his parents so he can travel, eat at the best restaurants and do other things he wants to do. Although he did throw his son a very lavish birthday party, her lawyer does not believe that is enough.

Wife seeks emergency divorce from husband

The time-frame for a final decree for Pennsylvania couples wanting to end their marriages varies based on a number of factors. It can take as long as six months from the date of the filing for the judge to rule the marriage terminated. One woman is seeking an emergency, or bifurcated, divorce from her husband, a notorious businessman in the city in which they live.

The two have been married for 44 years but have been living apart for the past 14. The husband is in the news nearly every day as reporters give updates on his conviction of criminal threat and the federal case against him for alleged bankruptcy fraud and money laundering. Her request for the emergency divorce comes as she is attempting to distance herself from the emotional toil she is experiencing being matrimonially linked to him. She is concerned for her physical safety, as he has threatened her through her 88-year-old mother. She also worries about the negative impact their current relationship will have on her future business ventures.

Former "Teen Mom" continues child custody battle

Some Pennsylvania mothers know child custody battles can often be heart-breaking. Whereas it used to seem that courts always gave custody to the biological mother, recent years have shown their decisions favoring the best interests of the child as opposed to those of the adults involved. Jenelle Evans, star of MTV's "16 & Pregnant" and "Teen Mom 2," finally has a judge's decision on the child custody battle waged with her own mother.

Jenelle relinquished full custody of her son, Jace, to her mother, Barbara, three years ago when she was battling a heroin addiction. Since then, she has celebrated sobriety from her addiction, has given birth to two more children and is getting married. She is ready to have all three children in her home.

State takes tax refund in error for non-payment of child support

Non-custodial parents who do not make the necessary support payments for their children are usually the ones who make the headlines. The public seems to find it less enthralling to read about a parent who has a stellar record in meeting his or her financial obligation. Pennsylvania parents may actually be interested to read about a man who has, in fact, paid child support for 17 years in providing for his son.

The problem has come from the state in which his son lives. It has taken the father's income tax refund, claiming he owes $34,000 in addition to the thousands of dollars he has already paid over the past 17 years. The state where the father resides actually sent him a support overpayment refund of $1,200. He tried to talk to officials from his son's state of residence but could get no one to help him.

Mother fights for child custody for two daughters

When Pennsylvania parents separate, one of the biggest concerns is what will happen with the children. Some parents will go to extreme measures to ensure the other parent has as little contact with the children as possible. That is the case of two parents who came from two different states. The mother is waiting for a court in her home state to re-examine which state had jurisdiction over past child custody matters.

The couple married and settled in the home state of the mother. Domestic violence episodes prompted her to file for divorce, at which time the father allegedly threatened her life and also threatened to take their two daughters from her and leave her with no money for support. The state's court granted the divorce and ordered the father to leave the home; it also awarded shared physical custody between the parents. The father eventually took the two daughters back to his home state and to the county where his family enjoyed prominence. Once there, that court issued a protective order uncommon to most other courts that stated no visitation by the mother was possible for the length of time specified nor would they allow her due process.

Man accused of forging papers to avoid paying child support

Whether the parents are married or not, both are obligated to financially support their children for 18 years, in most cases. When the noncustodial parent cannot pay court-ordered child support for some reason, seeking a formal modification should be the first step. However, some parents try to avoid making payments altogether. One Pennsylvania man apparently lied about injuries obtained in combat to avoid paying support and is now facing criminal charges.

A county Domestic Relations office notified police that a father who owed $52,000 in back child support payments had not paid anything since 2011 and was using falsified documents as the reason for nonpayment. He claimed he was not able to get his medical records released from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Instead, he allegedly submitted five forms that supposedly listed his service rank and the surgeries he had while in combat. These forms were to have come from the Veterans Affairs Office as proof that he would be receiving disability as well as possible future employment.

Father's income not enough to pay child support

Some non-custodial parents in Pennsylvania know that there are months where it can be difficult to come up with the financial payments to support their children. Those who do not have a steady paycheck coming in on a regular basis may simply not have the money when child support payments come due, no matter how much they want to provide it. One man has been charged with criminal non-support for failing to make the child support payments for his 14-year-old daughter.

A parent is charged with criminal non-support when he or she has the money available to pay yet does not make the payment. This father entered a guilty plea even though he does not agree with the $28,000 amount the state claims he has fallen behind. He says the mother claimed several of his support payments were gifts, thus escalating the total. Nevertheless, he has been sentenced to probation and will not serve any jail time unless he violates the conditions set before him.

State offers program to help in paying child support

Some non-custodial parents in Pennsylvania are unable to make the monthly, court-ordered payments to support their children. Although they may desperately want to make those child support payments each month, the reasons may vary as to why it just cannot be done. Another state has a program that helps parents in their mission to financially support the children they helped bring into the world.

Although the Parental Accountability Court has been in the state since 2008, three mid-state counties have collected over $300,000 in child support since the program began in that area in 2013. A large percentage of the participants have either been in jail or were close to incarceration for non-payment of child support. The program helps the participants with training, education and job placement in order to get their lives back on track so they can be the parents they want to be.

Judge says Dependency Court will rule in child custody case

Many Pennsylvania parents are fighting for custody of their children for any number of reasons. Some parents are in a child custody battle with an ex-spouse. Some grandparents are seeking permanent child custody of their grandchildren because the parents are unable to provide the proper care. One teenage girl is working to become the mother her son always needed her to be.

Just after the boy was born, the girl left him in a trash compactor. A report on the incident gave no indication as to her reasons why but related that she now -- a year later -- deeply regrets her choice. Residents in a nearby apartment complex were able to save the baby before he was physically harmed. Workers at the Department of Social and Health Services, as well as a Dependency Court, have allowed her to have supervised visits with the boy each week.

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