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

Sears v. Sears (Wyoming 2021)

February 2021

An award of retroactive support is subject to the court’s discretion. The parents filed for divorce, and the district court didn’t order child support during the pending action. The parents agreed to a custody arrangement during the pendency of the action. In the order accepting the arrangement, the court didn’t order support and noted the parents were sharing custody and splitting uncovered medical expenses. The father was also paying the children’s health insurance. The final divorce decree ordered the father to pay support going forward but didn’t award retroactive support. The mother appealed.

Baker v. Baker (Tennessee 2021)

January 2021

 The definition of income for child support doesn’t include alimony paid to a party in the proceeding. Military retired pay is marital property, subject to property distribution and is not income for child support. The parents in this case, who had two children, divorced. The father was active military but had plans to retire. In the final decree, the district court ordered the father to pay alimony until his retirement, at which time the mother would receive her share of the father’ s military retirement directly. The district court didn’t credit the father for either of these payments as part of his income for child support. The father appealed the final divorce decree arguing that the trial court should have credited him for the alimony, the retirement benefits, and health insurance premium.

Yeutter v. Barber (Nebraska 2021)

January 2021

Incarceration doesn’t completely relieve a parent from paying child support. The parents had one child and under their paternity decree, the father didn’t pay support. The father filed to modify custody, and the mother crossclaimed for a modification of custody and child support. By the time of the trial, the father was incarcerated. The trial court granted the mother’s request for current and retroactive support. The father appealed the final order.

Smith v. Smith (Mississippi 2021)

January 2021

To modify a child support order, there must be a substantial and material change not anticipated at the time of the original order. The initial divorce decree awarded the mother sole physical and legal custody of the two minor children and ordered the father to pay support. Post-divorce, the mother moved to Tennessee and enrolled the daughter in a private school. The son attending a private boarding school. Subsequently, both parents filed petitions to modify custody and support. After a trial, the order granted the mother sole physical and legal custody of the daughter and father sole legal and physical custody of the son, ordered the father to pay half of the daughter’s private school tuition, and ended the father’s support obligation for the son. The court didn’t order the mother to pay support for the son. The father appealed.

Mahlendorf v. Mahlendorf (Nebraska 2021)

January 2021

A consent judgement is not subject to appellate review. The original divorce decree had been modified several times to reflect various changes. The first modification allowed the mother to move from Nebraska. The father was awarded a deviation in support to account for his travel costs to see the children in Tennessee. The parents modified the order a second time and carried the deviation for travel expenses forward. The mother filed to modify the decree a third time. The mother requested an increase in support due to higher incomes and the deviation be eliminated. After a day at trial, the parents asked the court to weigh in on the presented evidence. 

Sekik v. Abdelnabi (Tennessee 2021)

January 2021

When evidence supports the determination of a parent’s income, it will not be overturned as an abuse of discretion.  In this divorce case, the parents agreed to support for four children in a temporary parenting plan entered in 2012. By the time the final decree was entered in 2019, the father was incarcerated. In the final order, the support amount was reduced pro rata since two children had emancipated. The father moved for a new trial on a variety of issues, including the child support. The court denied the motion, and he appealed.

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.

Negotiating Race and Racial Inequality in Family Court

December 2020

This article explores the role of race in court proceedings to enforce a child support obligation. The researchers found courts fail to recognize the role of race in father’s ability to support his child. Black fathers are getting hit from all directions: by a labor market that discriminates against them and by a court system with unrealistic expectations. Fathers are required to pay their child support obligation. Many meet the obligation through wage withholding from their job. For Black fathers, racism in the labor market prevents them from finding and maintaining a job that allows them to pay support.

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