Child support abatement starts on petition date

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order setting the date in which an incarcerated man can receive an abatement in his child support, finding the date the man filed his order was when it could be first applied. The ruling could open the door for the Indiana Supreme Court to decide when an abatement can take effect.

In In re the marriage of: Gary Becker v. Heather Becker, No. 49A04-0804-CV-205, Gary Becker appealed the trial court order modifying his child support.

Becker was convicted and sentenced in 1996 and 1997 for various crimes; he filed for divorce in September 1997. In February 1998, the trial court dissolved the marriage and set Becker's child support obligation at $110 per week.

In December 2007, Becker filed a motion for relief from the order, citing the February 2007 Indiana Supreme Court decision on Lambert v. Lambert, N.E.2d 1176 (Ind. 2007).

The trial court abated Becker's support to $25 a week based on Lambert and ruled the decision would be retroactive to the date of the Lambert decision. The abatement would last until Becker's projected earliest possible release from incarceration in August 2009.

Becker's appeal focuses on when his abatement should take effect. He argues it should be retroactive to his original decree of dissolution in 1998. The appellate court, citing Quinn v. Threlkel, 858 N.E.2d 665, 674 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), reversed the trial court and made the effective date the day Becker filed the motion - Dec. 28, 2007. Quinn allows a trial court's discretion in modifying child support effective as to the date the petition is filed, wrote Judge Patricia Riley.

The Court of Appeals decision could lead the way to an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court to decide the retroactivity of the Lambert decision. The Lambert decision never mentions if the decision is retroactive and whether retroactivity would begin at the original dissolution order, the date of the Lambert ruling, or the date the petitioner files a motion for modification.

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.