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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law




This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Archive for April, 2010

Court Rules That Father Can Take Daughter to Church

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The court has ruled that Joseph Reyes will be allowed to take his 3-year-old daughter, Ela, to church according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  Rebecca Reyes, who has full custody of the child in their divorce proceedings, said the father was breaching an agreement they made that Ela would be raised in the Jewish faith.

The court also ruled that the father would have Christmas and Easter holidays with the child and the mother would have the Jewish holidays.

But Reyes still faces contempt sanctions for taking his daughter to church in violation of a previous court order.

What Does “Best Interest of the Child” Really Mean?

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The legal standard in deciding who will get custody is what is in the best interest of the children. Every judge sees it differently.  If the judge’s father abandoned his family and the judge’s mother slaved day and night to help her son through law school, then the judge will have a hard time understanding why a father should have custody.  The mother does not have an automatic edge in litigation.  The fathers win in at least half of the litigated cases.

There are also certain doctrines and presumptions (but not inflexible rules or requirements) which aid the court in determining the best interest of the child:

Parental rights, Parents must be shown to be unfit before the children will be given to someone else, such as grandparents.

Continuity of placement. If children are doing well where they are, do not mess things up by moving them.

Children’s preference. A judge will consider who the children want to live with. The judge may talk to the child in private and may talk to a child younger than fourteen years of age. The judge is not bound by what the child wants.

Other. The court can consider the custodian’s age, health, wealth, religious beliefs, conduct, type of home, psychological evaluations; the location of the residences of the child’s siblings; the child’s school performance; or anything else the court considers important.

Gosselin Custody Battle

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Jon Gosselin has filed a Complaint in Custody and for Child Support against Kate Gosselin.  Jon has said that Kate is spending too much time on Dancing with the Stars and that she is neglecting the kids.  The Complaint doesn’t mention that but says she is abusing the discretion she was given by the arbitrator to set the times when Jon can be with the children.  Jon is asking that custody of the children be changed to him and that the court review the child support awarded by the arbitrator.

Imputing Income

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Hector and Maxine Joy Sallaberry of Florida had been married for 17 years and had one son.   Hector owned a copy machine repair business.  Maxine had almost no income and Hector supported the family.  Family expenses were about $5,000 a month.

In their divorce, Maxine hired a forensic accountant who reviewed Hector’s business records and testified that he made $6,752 a month.  Hector countered that he could only bill about one hour a day on the average at $95 an hour, and that his income was $3,400 a month.

The trial judge found that Hector was voluntarily underemployed.  He imputed income to Hector for child support and alimony on the following basis.  He said Hector could bill 20 hours a week which would result in about $95,000 a year in revenues.  Then he subtracted $15,000 for expenses leaving about $80,000 in profits which matched what the accountant said Hector earned.

On appeal, the Florida appeals court reversed, saying that (1) the judge’s finding that Hector could bill 20 hours a week was speculation, not evidence; (2) the accountant failed to subtract business expenses from his number; and (3) the judge could not impute income solely on past ability to pay because that might not reflect current earning power.

Sallaberry v. Sallaberry, et al., No. 4D08-2124 (Florida District Court of Appeal, Fourth District, February 17, 2010)

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