Welcome to the YoungWilliams Research & Case Law Library.  Use the filters below to select categories of interest to you.  Currently our Library consists of academic and government research articles and reports from around the country, federal opinions, and case law from states in which our full service child support projects are located: Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming.  Sign up to receive updates by clicking the blue  box at the left of the page.

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Research & Case Law

In re Marriage of Hogsett and Neale (Colorado 2021)

January 2021

A common law marriage may be established by the mutual consent or agreement of the couple to enter the legal and social institution of marriage, followed by conduct that supports this agreement. The court must consider all relevant factors to determine if the parties had an agreement. The same-sex parties in this case were in a relationship from November 2011 to November 2014. They never married even after that became an option in October 2014. The parties separated and filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. They mediated their issues and dismissed the petition without the need for a determination as to their marital status. Later, Hogsett sought retirement assets and maintenance. Neale objected, arguing the parties were not married. Hogsett filed a second petition for dissolution stating that the parties were married at common law. 

In re Marriage of LaFleur and Pyfer (Colorado 2021)

January 2021

The recognition of the right for same-sex couples to marry in Colorado didn’t preclude couples from entering into common law marriages prior to that date. In 2003, Pyfer and LaFleur, a same-sex couple, exchanged rings and held a ceremony acknowledging their commitment. In 2018, Pyfer filed for dissolution of marriage. LaFleur argued they were not married as same-sex marriage wasn’t recognized in Colorado until 2014. Evidence showed that Pyfer had proposed to LaFleur and the men held a ceremony. Pyfer held himself out as married and listed LaFleur as his spouse on legal documents. Based on this evidence, the district court found the parties entered into a common law marriage and divided their assets accordingly. Pyfer appealed the property division, and LaFleur appealed the determination of a valid marriage.

In re Estate of Yudkin (Colorado 2021)

January 2021

A common law marriage may be established by the mutual consent or agreement of the couple to enter the legal and social institution of marriage, followed by conduct that supports this agreement. All the circumstances must be considered to find the agreement.  In this probate case, the husband died intestate. His ex-wife petitioned to be the personal representative of his estate. His “wife” sought removal of the ex-wife and appointment as the personal representative as his common law wife. The district court found no marriage existed under the test in place, and the common law wife appealed.

Bishop v. Bishop (North Carolina 2020)

December 2020

A child’s reasonable needs are based upon the ability of the parents to provide. Trial courts have wide discretion when determining needs and can consider the parent’s lifestyle and standard of living. The mother filed to modify the divorce decree based on the father’s increased income. His income came from many sources: base salary, bonuses, and stock. The final order increased support and adjusted the percentages for unreimbursed medical expenses. The father appealed.

Procedural Justice Principles in the Midst of a Major Disruption

December 2020

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) funded the Procedural Justice Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) grant to explore the application of procedural justice principles to enforcing child support orders. The grant targets noncustodial parents who are about to be referred for contempt for not paying their child support but have the ability to pay. This brief addresses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project sites and the parents.

In re the Parental Responsibilities Concerning M.E.R. and D.E.R.-L (Colorado 2020)

December 2020

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) does not prohibit the inclusion of a parent’s veteran’s disability benefits as income for child support. The father filed a proceeding to allocate parental responsibilities for his two children. With respect to child support, the father’s income consisted of military retirement and veteran’s benefits. The trial court included both sources in the father’s gross income and set child support. The father appealed, arguing the veteran’s benefits shouldn’t haven’t been included in his income because the veteran’s disability benefits are not insurance benefits, aren’t taxable, and federal law prohibits the inclusion.

Angel v. Sandoval (North Carolina 2020)

December 2020

If a parent is voluntarily underemployed, a court can use the parent’s earning capacity as income for child support. The mother filed to modify child support based on the father’s increase in income. The mother was not working, and the court set her income at zero. The final order substantially increased the father’s support. The father appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to impute income to the mother at her earning capacity rather than her actual income.

Baxter v. Rowan (Tennessee 2020)

December 2020

A valid paternity acknowledgement is the equivalent of a paternity order and grants a parent standing to sue for visitation. The father signed a paternity acknowledgement and several years later filed for visitation. The trial court granted the visitation. The mother appealed the final order for several reasons. Relevant to child support, she argued the father didn’t have standing to sue for visitation because the paternity acknowledgement was not a final parentage order.

Sanchez v. Sanchez (Nebraska 2020)

December 2020

If a parent earns or reasonably expects to earn overtime, the overtime income should be included in the parent’s income for child support. If the income is speculative, then it can be excluded. The mother, who paid support, filed to modify the parenting time and child support terms of the divorce decree due to a change in her work schedule. The mother worked as a corrections officer and earned significant overtime. According to mother, some overtime was mandatory, due to staffing shortages, and other overtime was voluntary. Both parents submitted proposed child support worksheets. The father’s calculation included the overtime income. The mother’s didn’t. The district court adopted the father’s worksheet and increased child support.

State of Tennessee ex rel. Kimberly C. v. Gordon S. (Tennessee 2020)

November 2020

A voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) is a legal finding of paternity but can be set aside for material mistake of fact. The burden of proof is on the parent challenging the VAP. The father signed a VAP knowing that he was not the child’s biological parent. The parents broke up, and the State filed to establish support. The father filed to dismiss the petition, arguing that there was a material mistake of fact and he requested genetic testing. The juvenile court denied the request for genetic testing, declined to set aside the VAP, and ordered support. The father appealed.

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