ILNews

Judges differ on day-care credit, child support

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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An Indiana Court of Appeals panel disagrees about whether or not a parent who uses day care when he or she isn't working is entitled to a child-support tax credit.

In Craig Cross v. Victoria Cross, No. 49A05-0802-CV-94, authoring Judge Elaine Brown and Judge Paul Mathias ruled the trial court erred in ordering father Craig Cross to pay $30 more a week to pay for Victoria Cross' work-related day care for their adult child with autism. At issue is whether or not the day-care expenses claimed by Victoria were incurred in connection with her employment.

Victoria worked as a health-care provider for a patient with Alzheimer's and would bring her daughter V.E.C. with her to work, but she paid a neighbor $30 a week to watch V.E.C. for five hours so Victoria could be relieved of her constant supervision of her daughter.

The majority found Victoria's day-care expense isn't work-related or income-producing, so it doesn't fall within the provisions of the Child Support Guidelines. As a result, Craig shouldn't be responsible for paying for the day care, Judge Brown wrote.

If the trial court would have entered a written finding as to why it deviated from the Child Support Guidelines, then the day-care cost could have been credited to Victoria, the appellate court determined. But because the trial court didn't, the majority reversed the order crediting her for work-related day care.

But Chief Judge John G. Baker adopted Victoria's argument as to why she should receive a work-related day-care credit and quoted from her brief that giving her a break during the week gives her respite "necessary to handle both the duties at her job and the responsibilities she has as [her daughter's] full-time caregiver."

He believed the majority's adoption of the Child Support Guidelines was overly literal and that the child-care cost was work related because a brief, weekly break allowed Victoria to continue to work and receive an income, he wrote.

All three judges affirmed the trial court's grant of Victoria's motion to withdraw admissions, its exclusion of V.E.C.'s Supplemental Security Income from its determination of Craig's child-support obligation, and its denial of Craig's petition to claim the children for tax-exemption purposes.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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