Sunday, May 31, 2009

Casino Winnings & Lawsuit Proceeds to be Attached for Child Support Arrears

The Michigan Senate is expected to pass a pair of bills designed to utilize proceeds derived from lawsuits and casino winnings, to satisfy past-due child support. The new law will require the recipient to provide notice of the expected windfall to the custodial parent.

In the context of lawsuit proceeds, the payor's family court lawyer, or the litigator that obtains the proceeds for the payor, will be responsible to provide notice of the payor's gain via ordinary mail to the custodial parent.

The bills are currently under consideration in the Senate's Family and Human Services Committee and is expected to be signed into law this session. The provisions are expected to provide modest indeterminate relief to the State by reducing amounts spent on other "means-tested" assistance programs. The proceeds are also expected to reduce some administrative costs.

If you are receiving support and are aware that the payor in your case is about to come into lawsuit proceeds, or has recently received a casino "windfall", contact us to explore your rights to such proceeds.

Identity Theft Concerns in Family Court Orders

The Michigan House of Representatives introduced a trio of bills which will require judgments of divorce, orders of filiation (between non-married parents) and child support orders to omit a parent's personal information.

It should be noted, however, that a parent's name and address are deemed outside the scope of the phrase "personal identifying information", as that term would be used in the legislation. Personal information is defined as: telephone number, driver license or state personal identification card number, Social Security number, place of employment, employee identification number, employer or taxpayer identification number, government passport number, health insurance identification number, mother's maiden name, demand deposit account number, savings account number, financial transaction device account number or the person's account password, stock or other security certificate or account number credit card number, vital record, or medical records or information.

These bills continue the Legislature's efforts to combat identity theft. Several years ago, social security numbers (once routinely included in a variety of support-related orders and divorce decrees) were precluded from being submitted to a court, even where a form or order contained a feild for the information. Now, only the last four-digits are used, and it is a misdemeanor to include a person's social security number on a public document. The bills also come on the heals of the drafting, consideration and passing of the Identity Theft Protection Act in 2004.

The bills, introduced to the House just last month (April 2009), are scheduled for discussion at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

Family law attorneys are becoming increasingly sophisticated and creative in their drafting of these orders in a fashion that avoids telling the public too much about their clients. If you have additional questions on this or other family law topics that may affect your case, feel free to give us a call to discuss.