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COA affirms reduction of incarcerated father’s child support obligation

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A trial court did not abuse its discretion by reducing a father’s child support and arrearage to an absolute minimum level after he requested review of his obligation, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday. The man, who is incarcerated, claimed the court did not consider his income or needs when making the reduction.

David Hooker has two children with his ex-wife and was ordered to pay $8 a week in child support. Hooker was incarcerated when the marriage was dissolved. Three years later, he asked for review of his child support obligation. Neither he nor his ex-wife attended the hearing on the matter.

The state requested – and the trial court agreed – that Hooker’s support should be reduced to $1 a week, with an additional $3 a week going toward his accrued arrearage. Once he is released from prison – which likely won’t be until 2035, his support will revert back to $8 per week, the court ruled.

Hooker appealed, claiming the trial court didn’t consider his income or needs when imposing the weekly sum. Judge Patricia Riley pointed out that even in situations where the noncustodial parent has no income, courts have routinely established a child support obligation at some minimum level.

The child support arrearage must be satisfied and the $55 yearly fee collected by the clerk of the court is a mandatory fee that cannot be deducted from his child support payments.

“As such, David’s support payment and arrearage—as minimal as they are—are transmitted integrally to the minor children. Mindful that David has an obligation to his children, we cannot conclude that the trial abused its discretion by reducing his child support and arrearage to an absolute minimum level,” Riley wrote in David Hooker v. Shari Hooker, 82A04-1311-DR-592.

Also, the judges rejected Hooker’s claim that his due process rights were violated when the trial court did not order him transported to the hearing or otherwise make an attempt to secure his presence. A prisoner involved in a civil lawsuit unrelated to the case resulting in incarceration has no right to a transport order, Riley pointed out. But Hooker never filed a motion to request his attendance by video or telephonic conferencing, never asked for the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent his interest, nor did he submit his case by documentary evidence.
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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