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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues