Unless celebrities are getting divorced you don’t see much about Family Law in the newspapers. Of course there are always exceptions and here are just a few:
1. LA Times, April 1, 2019: “Mother wins child support owed in 1970.”
This story is about Toni Anderson, a San Diego County woman who was awarded child support in 1970 in the amount of $210.00 per month which was further reduced to $160.00 per month. This was before the California Mandatory Guideline and when the California age of majority for children was 21 years old. Her ex-husband, Don Lenhart, made a couple of payments and then moved away and stopped paying. Knowing that California had no statute of limitations barring her from seeking payment, last year Anderson googled her ex-husband and found him living in Oregon. Anderson then went to her County Department of Child Support office where her right to collect past due child support was confirmed.
Encouraged, Anderson obtained a certified copy of her 1970 child support order and hired a Family Law Attorney. The amount of unpaid support was $35,000.00, but after 49 years the amount had ballooned more than four times due to interest. Her ex-husband subsequently negotiated a settlement for $150,000.00, which was confirmed and ordered by the Court. The story ends with the husband saying he “was glad to pay” and wished Anderson the best. The child, who is now 52 years old, said the media attention paid to the case was unexpected and Anderson said that going to Court was an “emotional” and “scarey” thing, but she is glad her story is being told.
2. LA Times, April 7, 2019: “More people looking into mirror for legal-representation”
A divorced couple were fighting over visitation in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Neither party had an attorney and it showed. At one point the Judge said to the father, “This is not TV Court,” “Do not interrupt me, we have rules here on how to behave.” After “wrist slapping” the father, the Judge explained to the mother that the father could have visits as long as he remained sober. The hearing was over and the mother left in tears. Rather than remain mystified by legal proceedings, people who cannot afford lawyers should know that every Superior Court in California has a self-help center; and they should take advantage of its services. Self-help centers can lead parties through the various steps necessary to the completion of their case. This can include filing the correct documents, learning how to behave in court and preparing their evidence to present to a Judge.
3. LA Times, July 29, 2019: “Middle aged divorce is especially brutal.”
According to this article the rate of divorce after age 50 has more than doubled in the past thirty years; and divorce after 50 may be particularly hard on a person’s emotional and financial health. The National Center for Family and Marriage Research says that an after 50 divorce causes both men and women to experience a significant decline in their standard of living without the recovery experienced by yotmger people. Another study reports that after age 62, 26% of divorced women and 11 % of divorced men live at or below the Federal poverty level. The article goes on to discuss that although Social Security is supposed to keep seniors out of poverty, its rules leave behind many divorced persons. This is because the Social Security Program lets a spouse without sufficient lifetime earnings access their ex-spouse’s benefits only if the marriage lasted at least ten years, and that is often too much time for many divorcing seniors. Although the article does not offer a solution, one conclusion is that many seniors are not financially prepared for life after divorce.
If you need more information about family law, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. The Law Office of Bawden & Kochis also handles legal issues regarding adoption, annulment, mediation, child custody (with no accompanying domestic violence), child and spousal support as well as pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Telephone (909)792-0222, or email us at [email protected]