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After children are grown, custodial parent still a victim of nonsupport

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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a mother was a victim of a father who failed to pay support for his three children even years after the kids were grown.

Justices overturned a Court of Appeals ruling on Friday in Felix C. Sickels v. State of Indiana, 20S03-1206-CR-308. The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court erred in holding that the custodial parent was a victim of the non-custodial parent’s nonsupport.

“We hold that the trial court was well within its discretion to find that the custodial parent was the ‘victim,’” Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the unanimous court.

Felix Sickels had been charged in 2001 with failure to support his dependent children. He had moved to Michigan and wasn’t extradited until 2010, by which time his children were emancipated adults. He was convicted in 2011, ordered to serve 10 years through community corrections and pay the mother more than $84,000 in child-support arrearage.

Rush wrote that there were sound public policy considerations for why the custodial parent should be considered a victim, not the least of which is that directing restitution to children could create concerns about enforcement of support orders.

“We do not hold that a custodial parent whose children are now emancipated is the only possible ‘victim’ under these circumstances, but that a custodial parent is entitled to a presumption that he or she has suffered an ‘injury, harm or loss’ as a direct result of the noncustodial parent’s failure to pay child support. As a result, and barring an unusual circumstance, the custodial parent will be the recipient of criminal restitution for child-support arrearage in cases where the children have been emancipated,” Rush wrote.








 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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