After three years of litigation, repeated court orders and a ruling by a state appellate court, the insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is apparently still ready to fight its legal obligation to withhold child support from payments it makes to a therapist who owes between $20,000 and $30,000. In the meantime, his ex-wife has lost a home to foreclosure and is on the verge of losing another. Two of their three children have reached adulthood.
Statistics show that Massachusetts is becoming more adept at getting those residents who owe child support to pay up, but issues still remain when it comes to tracking down 'deadbeat' parents across state lines. The Department of Revenue's child support enforcement division collected 68 percent of child support owed last year, but even though that ranks the state eighth in the nation for child support collections, more than $225 million remained uncollected.
Last week the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a man from Lynn would in fact face charges of parental kidnapping in the disappearance of his son nearly four years ago. That ruling reversed a Superior Court decision that said the man would not face parental kidnapping charges because there was no order denying custody of the child to him at the time of the boy's disappearance.
Massachusetts parents make a number of vital decisions in their children's lives that can affect their future development. This collaborative effort between spouses can encompass choices on a child's school, extracurricular activities and religious upbringing. But just because a couple later divorces does not mean that the original collaborative decision-making process is lost. Through child custody arrangements, divorcing parents can specify what roles they will have in choices affecting their children's lives.
Whether married or divorced, one of a parent's most essential responsibilities is providing financial support for his or her children. This month, the Massachusetts Appeals Court lent support to that statement when it issued a ruling in an unusual child support case involving a man who attempted to negotiate away his support obligations.