Family law does not just deal with divorce or formerly married couples for post-divorce actions. Family law also covers paternity actions. That is basically when people have children born out of wedlock. There are many times when people move in together, they do not get married and they build a life together as if they were married. One party will purchase a house and both parties will act as if it is jointly owned, but in fact it is not. Basically, only one person’s name is on the Deed and the other person decides, for whatever reason, not to put their name on the Deed. I’ve had many clients come to me over the years in this situation who want to get half of the equity out of the house. This is where the fundamental difference between a paternity action and a divorce action really kicks in. Basically, equitable distribution.
Can a person get a credit for child support arrearage that accrued during the time he resided with the child, even where he did not seek a modification order in advance of time the payments were due? This question comes up a lot. Basically, let’s say you have a child support obligation and the child comes to live with you for a while. First and foremost, nothing is guaranteed, you must file a motion to temporarily abate the child support or some type of motion for modification or something like that. It is always best case scenario for you to file something with the court. But let’s say you don’t. Let’s say the child lives with you for about a year and you just stop paying child support because you don’t feel like you should have to because the child lives with you. The thinking is obviously logical, but courts are not always logical, obviously. In a case, a person was ordered to pay child support to the petitioner. The date of the order was 2003. In 2007, the parties began residing together with the child again. For approximately four and a half years between 2007 and 2013, they were residing together for periods of time. The respondent requested the court give him some credit toward the arrearage that accrued during those times. He did not seek a modification order, as the parties had mutually decided to reside together again, the respondent was contributing to the support of the child in the home. Obviously. The respondent was paying rent, electricity, food, everything like that. Now in this circumstance, my goodness I cannot explain to you how important it is for you to go and file something with the court. But if you have a situation similar to this, which many people do, there is case law that helped you out.