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State can increase withholding without order

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The Indiana Court of Appeals examined the state's code regarding the limits of a withholding amount in child support arrearage, and acknowledged that its interpretation of the statute allowing the state to increase the amount without a court order "may cause some concern."

In the case In Re: The paternity of A.M.P., State of Indiana v. Curtis Price, No. 71A04-0806-JV-337, the state appealed the trial court order granting its motion to correct error. The order contained a provision that prevented the state from withholding additional amounts from Curtis Price's paycheck to satisfy an arrearage unless the state had the trial court enter a new order to authorize the withholding.

At issue is whether the provision in the order is inconsistent with federal and state laws governing Title IV-D income withholding procedures.

Although the order is technically favorable to the state, the order interpreted Indiana Code Section 31-16-15-2.5(f) as prohibiting the state from "increasing the weekly amount withheld by Income Withholding Order without further court order," wrote Judge Margret Robb. The interpretation was based on construing the clause "unless otherwise ordered by a court" in subsection (f) as allowing the trial court to limit the state's authority to increase the weekly withholding amount to satisfy an arrearage.

This interpretation is a prima facie error, the appellate court concluded after examining Indiana's code and the federal provisions relating to child support withholding orders under the federal Social Security Act. Part of a provision states that "such withholding must occur without the need for any amendment to the support order involved or for any further action by the court...which issued the order."

"We think these provisions counsel against interpreting Indiana Code section 31-16-15-2.5(f) in a manner that requires judicial authorization before the State may increase the withholding amount to satisfy an arrearage," wrote Judge Robb.

The Court of Appeals interpreted the clause "unless otherwise ordered by a court" to merely refer to a trial court's authority under I.C. Section 31-16-15-2.5(g) to allow the trial court to disregard the limitations of (1) through (7) of subsection (f), and not as preventing the state from increasing such amounts on its own initiative.

"We recognize our interpretation may cause some concern, as it permits the State to forego judicial authorization before increasing the withholding amount, but the statute itself limits the withholding amount. ... and the State is required to send the obligor a notice of intent to withhold income before withholding occurs," wrote the judge. In addition, the federal code provides for a maximum "ceiling" for arrearage withholding.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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