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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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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