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Judges affirm $6,600 in child support arrearage

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that a father owed only $6,600 in back child support and not $74,000 as the child’s mother claimed.

L.S., the daughter of Belinda Douglas and Neil Spicer, was born in February 1994. Spicer was listed on L.S.’s birth certificate, but a paternity action initiated in late 2004 was dismissed in October 2005 after both parties failed to appear at a status hearing.

Before dismissing the action, the trial court in February 2005 entered a provisional order for Neil to pay Douglas $200 per week in child support. Spicer never paid the court-ordered child support, but did provide financial care for his daughter, including providing health insurance.

Douglas filed to reopen the case in 2012, in which the trial court ordered Spicer to pay $6,600 in arrearage for the 33 weeks between Feb. 23, 2005, and Oct. 12, 2005, when the court dismissed the case.

Douglas argued that Spicer actually owes her $74,000 in arrearage, but the Court of Appeals affirmed the court-ordered amount. The judges found the same principle in I.C. 31-15-4-14 applies in this case. That statute provides that a provisional order in a dissolution action terminates when the final decree is entered or the petition for dissolution is dismissed.  Since the February 2005 child support order was a provisional order for “temporary support” pending a hearing on child support, the trial court properly found Spicer’s obligation to pay child support ended in October 2005.

The judges also rejected Douglas’ claim that Spicer did not satisfy his common law duty to support his daughter in Belinda Douglas v. Neil Spicer and L.S., 32A01-1309-JP-403.

 

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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