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Dad not in contempt for failure to pay full support

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed a man was not in contempt for failing to pay child support ordered by a Florida court even though the Indiana trial court enforced his obligation for less than the amount ordered in Florida.

Suzanne Hamilton appealed the Indiana trial court order in In Re the Marriage of: Suzanne Hebert Hamilton v. Richard Wayne Hamilton, No. 82A01-0804-CV-151, arguing the trial court effectively modified the Florida support order by requiring Richard Hamilton to only pay $150 a week instead of the nearly $1,500 a month as required under the Florida court order. She also believed the trial court erred by not finding Richard in contempt and requiring him to serve jail time.

Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Florida maintains exclusive jurisdiction to modify the Hamiltons' support order, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik, with Indiana only able to enforce the order as the responding state. The Indiana trial court had discretion under the act to craft an enforcement mechanism to encourage Richard, who had relocated to Evansville after the divorce, to comply with the Florida order. The act also allows Indiana to determine the manner of compliance with the order.

The decision by the Indiana trial court to allow Richard to pay Suzanne $1,000, find full-time employment, and give Suzanne $150 a week or else he would be ordered to serve the 170-day sentence ordered by the Florida court, is a permissible enforcement order, wrote Judge Vaidik. The Indiana trial court didn't suspend Richard's monthly child support obligation, and every month he doesn't pay the full amount, his arrearage will grow. Also, after hearing evidence of Richard's employment and other circumstances, the trial court required him to pay the purge amount, find a job, and execute a wage assignment.

The Indiana trial court was correct in not finding Richard in contempt for failing to pay his full child support obligation and sometimes missing the required $150 payments to Suzanne, because the record shows Richard did everything required by the Indiana trial court to avoid being found in contempt, wrote Judge Vaidik.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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