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IAAL, if you have a moment for curiosity

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craftymom

Guest
What is the name of your state?

I don't remember where this thought came from, but it keeps nagging at me.
Say a couple divorced in 1986. Suddenly, one of the parties, today in 2002, wants to do a modification to their decree (i.e. CS or college tuition). Would the modification be done based on today's laws? Or could the modification be restricted to the laws that were in place in 1986?
Like I said, just curious..
 


I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
craftymom said:
What is the name of your state?

I don't remember where this thought came from, but it keeps nagging at me.
Say a couple divorced in 1986. Suddenly, one of the parties, today in 2002, wants to do a modification to their decree (i.e. CS or college tuition). Would the modification be done based on today's laws? Or could the modification be restricted to the laws that were in place in 1986?
Like I said, just curious..

My response:

This is actually a two-fold question, that of procedural law and the other "substantive" law. The first is simple - - today's procedures would be used. That's understandable because the way things were done in 1986, are most assuredly not the way things are done in 2002.

However, the second part, that of "substantive" law, is a bit trickier. The simple answer would be "no", and for most purposes it would be "no" because it would be fundamentally unfair and unconstitutional for someone to have based their lives on, and depended on the laws of, 1986 to all of a sudden do a "change up" and require the parties to do something different. For example, let's say that the law in 1986 (when a child was 3 years old) was that neither party was required to pay for college tuition. Then, fast forward to 2002, and the law changes to one of requiring parents to pay for college tuition. It would be totally and fundamentally unfair to require these parent to, all of a sudden, be responsible for their child's college tuition today when they based their lives and finances since 1986 on not being required to pay college tuition.

Insofar as child support is concerned, the court retains jurisdiction over this issue, and the child in general, throughout the minority of the child. Support can be amended, deleted, increased or decreased upon current law. The State guidelines for support are based upon inflationary factors. Additionally, at least as far as California is concerned, the NCP's income can be increased above "guidelines" if there has been a "substantial" increase in income. The law in California is that a child will be supported in the manner of the wealthier parent. For example, in 1986 the NCP was making $1,000.00 per month, and support was ordered at $100.00 per month. However, in 2000, the NCP "struck oil" and is now wealthier beyond any previous expectation, who's income is now $30,000 per month. The CP can Petition the court for a "healthy" increase in support for the child because the minor child must be supported at the level of the wealthier parent - - even IF there are other children in the household, and the CP is remarried. Everyone in the CP's household benefits. In short, California says "tough noogies" if there are other persons who might benefit from the increase.

But (and there's always one of those), if there's a law enacted concerning "public policy", then the parents could be held to such changes. Let me give you an "extreme example" - - let's assume that in 1986, it was lawful to agree in a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) to a clause forbidding a visiting parent from causing their child to be around "Black" people. Then, in 2002, a public policy law was enacted to make any such restriction void as against "public policy." In that instance, any such agreement in an MSA would be void and unenforceable as being against "public policy."

I hope this answers your question. It does get a bit more complicated than the above, but this fairly much describes how things might be dealt with today.

IAAL
 
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C

craftymom

Guest
Thank you for taking the time to respond, IAAL!

Yes, you've answered my question---and quite as I *thought* it might be (regarding the college tuition example). But then, it seems that frequently in Family Law, what people *think* is right, and what is actual Law, are two different things. That's why I asked. Just a curiosity of mine, which you have now turned into some "basic" knowledge. I'm sure it can get far more complicated!

When I asked, I hadn't even thought of "public policy" playing a role. But again, you've provided some knowledge to me that I otherwise wouldn't have had.

Thank you very, very much!
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
My further response:

I realized later that I hadn't discussed the portion of your question concerning child support. So, I edited my initial response to give you an answer in that regard.

Yours was actually a good, thought provoking, intelligent question - - which I'm sure many people have thought and wondered about.

Thanks for posting it.

IAAL
 
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Seanscott

Member
Here's one for you IAAL -

A married couple from Kentucky moves to California. Their relationship falls apart and they get divorced. Are they still cousins or not????
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
Seanscott said:
Here's one for you IAAL -

"A married couple from Kentucky moves to California. Their relationship falls apart and they get divorced. Are they still cousins or not????"


====================================


My response:

Ah, excellent question. Actually, the Appellate courts have already decided that issue in the case of "Dufus vs. Dufus", where the court decided to order the couple to live in Arkansas, and to live in a tacky trailer, where they had a litter of children with missing chromosomes, and they all lived happily ever after.

IAAL
 
C

craftymom

Guest
My....I hadn't realized I was asking a "many parts" question. Thank you again for taking the time to answer, especially since it is truly just curiosity on my part, and required an extensive answer for you to be able to be clear and thorough.

And thanks to both of you for the laugh....
 

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