Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Setting Child Support: Key Issues That Are Often Forgotten …Plan for everything!

You already know that child support is designed to help you pay for your child, and you're willing to go the extra mile to help ensure that they're supported fully. However, be very careful with what you agree to .. remember there will be no mercy if you become  ill or lose your job when paying child support. Make sure that you plan for the unexpected and do not become overzealous. Remember you will be able to do anything and everything "extra" for your children .. just don't commit with the court. Some parents and lawyers do not want to hear this but plan for the unexpected.

1. Unexpected medical expenses. Plan for the unexpected. Routine doctor's visits are one thing. If you prefer to pay a set amount to your child's other parent each month, you may prefer to cover regular medical expenses--routine dental visits, well check-ups, and so on--as part of your regular payments. Some medical expenses, however, can't be planned ahead of time. Make sure that you have a plan in place for how you will split those expenses. Don't forget about the potential for braces as your child gets older, broken bones and other accidents, and even long-term illnesses. Make it very clear that medical expenses are included in child support or that you will be responsible for a basic policy until the children turn 18. Now if you can afford more that is great … just don't agree to it up front because you will not be able to back track. If you lose your job or make less money there is no turning back.

2. Sports and other extracurricular activities. Plan for the unexpected. When children are small, sports expenses are typically incidental, unless you're raising a budding star. As your child ages, however, expenses associated with their favorite activities will increase. From that expensive summer camp to football gear, you want to make sure you're helping provide for your child to have the best possible experience, yet make it clear that this is why you pay child support. Of course, you can assist and help pay for these extracurricular activities but please do not allow a judge to tell you that you have to pay for this. Judges in general do not help co-parenting.

3. Academic expenses. Plan ahead and make it clear. When your child goes off to college, will you be helping to cover their tuition? Is your local public school problematic? What if your tiny child turns into a budding genius and requires a specialized school? Make sure you know how you're going to assist with academic expenses when they roll around, from that perfect preschool that works for both you and your child's other parent to their college tuition, books, and living expenses. You don't have to draw every detail out now, but it helps to at least have a general idea of what you'd like to do. Matter of fact .. do not commit to paying for college tuition. Some states require for parents to pay for college tuition; however, you should not commit past age 18. You do not know what will happen. Your kids may be alienated from you or they may decide to go to a university that you cannot afford. If you commit to pay to college then in 15 years when it is time to pay .. guess what you better pay even if you do not have a relationship with your kids. Now remember if you have a healthy co-parenting relationship there is no doubt that you will bend over backwards for your kids. You simply do not need a judge to tell you what to do.

4. Baby's first vehicle. If you're drawing up a custody agreement when your child is very young, their first car might not even enter your mind. Sooner or later, however, it's going to come up! Have a plan in mind for how you want to handle assisting with this expense. Be sure to include contingency plans for accidents, helping to cover car insurance, and car repairs.  Yes .. make it clear that you are not paying for a car or car insurance. You will pay for car insurance like any parent; however, you do not need a judge to tell you. So make it clear that you will make the decision when your child is of age and you make that decision. We need to stop adding to "entitlement" based on court orders.

Developing a child support plan is a long, complicated process that can't be written off to "X percent of your income" or "X dollars per month." As your child grows, there will be changes in their needs that necessitate a different style of child support, particularly if there are shifts in your income status. If you need help developing an effective child support plan, contact us for more information.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Where is the support money going???

Should fathers have a say in how their support payments are spent?

Child support is a heated topic. Just mention child support and you can expect a wide range of different responses. Like politics and religion, nothing draws out anger and frustration like a conversation about child support. 

In most support cases, Dad is the payer, and Mom is the payee. Of course, there are times when the mom is the payer and the dad is the payee, yet this occurs less often. The intended purpose of child support is to help pay for a child’s expenses. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for Dad to disagree with Mom over how she spends the support payments.

Dad may consider food, clothing, and shelter as the basic necessities covered by child support. But mom may spend her child support payments on vacations, sport fees, or private school tuition. She may also make requests to increase support for activities Dad may not feel are necessary. For instance, Dad, may prefer that his child attend public school and not travel overseas until they are older. He may also understandably feel as though the costs of a vacation trip to not be considered a necessity. 

Unfortunately, courts often remain silent on how mothers should spend their payments. Some Dads think Moms should provide itemized receipts. A father may feel he has a right to know how the mother of his children spend child support payments. Mom may disagree and feel she can spend the payments as she feels necessary. 

An example of this occurs too often with both men and women professional athletes. Simply because a father has what appears to be a "large contract," it does not mean that the mother has to find ways to spend large amounts of money each month and now call it a "necessity."

Family law courtrooms make life-altering decisions daily and many times the decisions are not in the best interest of all involved. Therefore, mediation or a third party intervention could be in the best interest of the parents and children.  Remember the advice in the book, "Forever My Daddy: Denied" … AVOID THE COURTROOM.  Matter of fact, parents having discussions about finances before marriage and children in pre-marital counseling sessions is always recommended. Sometimes prenuptial agreements will attempt to address these concerns.

If parents cannot agree, a third-party would intervene. Do you have a child support question? Contact us today

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Be aware of three actions in broken marriages that can lead to parental alienation

Three reasons ….

According to marriage statistics, nearly half of all first marriages will end in divorce while more than half of all second and third marriages fail.  Unfortunately, the victims of these separations are the children. Sometimes the children are used as pawns for they often have no voice.

The legal system decides which parent gains custody. The custodial parent wields the power and will often decide where the children will live and even what clothing they will wear.  Non-custodial parents become part-time parents and unfortunately often have limited visitation rights.

If a divorce is amicable, parents will compromise and work together to raise their children. However, problems often occur when marriages end badly.  In many custody hearings, parents treat the courtroom like a battlefield.  Both parties will hire attorneys and sling mud at each other like seasoned politicians.

Again, instead of co-parenting, some parents use their children as pawns to alienate the other parent.  A parent may try to alienate a child by:   
  1. Making negative comments about the other parent: For instance, a parent might say, “Sorry Billy, daddy is not going to pick you up this weekend because his fishing trip is more important.” However, what the mother fails to mention is that her ex had planned the fishing trip a year ago. Billy may think his father does not care about spending time together. (This is classic!)
  2. Moving away: A parent may move the child to another state or even several hours away. Limiting visits may appear as an intentional act to limit the non-custodial parent’s visitation. (This happens way too often)
  3. Withholding visitation rights: Although courts establish visitation guidelines, it does not mean the custodial parent will follow the rules.  Often, a parent may withhold visitation because the other parent does not do what they want the children around the other parent's family members for whatever reason. Many times the withholding of the visitation rights are subtle with statements like, "Oh I forgot .. I had to take the children to one of their classmates birthday parties .." However, courts consider visitation and child support as separate orders.  Even if the non-custodial takes the other parent to court for contempt, the non-custodial parent may have to miss work or hire an attorney. 
Although some marriages have no hope of ending amicably, parents should always consider the welfare of their children.  Sadly, children from broken families are more likely to feel insecure, become rebellious, or even blame themselves for the divorce.  For more information about parental alienation, please contact us at FMD for more details.    

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Prenuptial Agreements: Can They Protect Future Custody Rights?

Prenuptial agreements are no longer strictly for the wealthy. Many couples are finding prenuptial agreements a helpful option for addressing many monetary issues before marriage. They are beneficial when one or both people have been divorced or have children from a previous marriage, and when one person has a substantially higher income than the other. 

In addition to ensuring monetary safety in the case of a divorce, many couples might wonder if a prenuptial agreement can protect an even more important asset-their parental rights for future children. It is not uncommon for courts to favor mothers in child custody cases, and men are often pushed from their children's lives, only getting two weekends per month and a couple of weekends in the summer to spend with their children. 

Unfortunately, there are no states in the United States that currently allow child custody issues of future children to be determined in a prenuptial agreement. The best needs of a child cannot be adequately determined before that child is born-circumstances can change so drastically in a relationship, and what may seem like the best scenario for a child in the beginning of a marriage might not be best for them ten years down the line. The courts approach child custody on a case-by-case basis, and take into account the current circumstances of each relationship. 

Nevertheless it is unfortunate that a prenuptial agreement cannot protect all of the rights of a father in case of divorce. A child needs both parents actively involved in his or her life in order to flourish and feel loved, and there are many fathers who try to provide this type of stability but are blocked or "Denied" at every turn. Courts need to understand that this hurts the child more than anyone, and fathers need to find the courage to stand up and fight against this injustice.

Forever My Daddy offers the resources and support that a loving father needs to ensure he is always a constant presence in his child's life. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our understanding community. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Parental Alienation Causes Irreparable Harm to Children

Parental Alienation Causes Irreparable Harm to Children

A broken marriage or partner separation should never mean a breakup with the children. Parental alienation leaves a child confused and adrift in a world that emphasizes family values, but does little to foster parent/child relationships when parents live apart. So often fathers lose custody of their children, and visitation depends on the other parent's kindness or how much money a dad can afford to pay.
The price of a child support payment means nothing when compared to the price that the child and estranged father pay by losing out on the relationship that nature intended. Children should never be pawns in a court battle; however, they are often treated as chattel by the legal system.
In the groundbreaking book, Forever My Daddy: Denied, Dr.  Michael Joyner M.D. champions the cause of the silently suffering fathers who have lost part of themselves through the actions of the court, vindictive ex-spouses, and society's indifferent and often prejudiced attitude concerning the importance of a father's influence.
FMD Denied encourages the reader to have the tough discussions that seem taboo in modern society concerning getting ready for marriage, arranging custody through pre-marital agreements, and rebuilding bridges of trust and harmony in broken families. Forever My Daddy: Denied is a great gift to a son, uncle, brother, or any man who loves his children.
Forever My Daddy: Denied is required reading for anyone who is considering starting a family as well as those in the painful throes of separation, who fear losing their parental rights. You can contact us for more information about how you can join this important dialogue and support this cause.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Seahawks' Russell Wilson's Super Bowl Win "Yes! It's a personal victory for me."

If you know me, you may know that I have been a fan of the Seattle Seahawks since Russell Wilson joined the team.

Russell Wilson's demeanor caught my attention the day he was drafted.  I initially did not know what character traits made me read about him and follow his new NFL journey, until I heard him speak about his relationship with his father.  When I would hear him speak of his father I felt "chills" throughout my body.

The Father-Son relationship, he regularly highlights continues to strike me like a lightening bolt.  I have two sons, ages 16 and 17.  Russell Wilson and my youngest son look as if they could be identical twins.  Unfortunately, my sons and I do not have the Father-Sons' relationship that I have always dreamed about as a result of what is called Parental Alienation.

Parental Alienation is when a child is utterly brainwashed against the alienated parent.  The child demonstrates hate of the parent.  He or she demonstrates no guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent and essentially wants nothing to do with the alienated parent.  Parental alienation has been my story for nearly the lifetime of my sons.

Not only does the striking physical resemblance of my youngest son to Russell Wilson, but the confident, humble, disciplined nature of Russell Wilson reminds me of the character traits that I have always attempted and wanted to instill in my sons. These character traits remind me of both of my sons.

Again, my sons and I don't have the Father-Sons relationship that I have always hoped for and that I am available for.  Russell Wilson's father is not alive physically.  However, he is clearly alive spiritually.

The Seahawks win with Russell Wilson leading the team has been a personal victory for me.  My relationship with my sons are not physically seen now, but I do believe that deep, deep inside of them they will feel the potential relationship that is right in front of them.  I am hopeful that if my sons see more educated leaders whether in sports or business highlighting the importance of their relationship with their fathers will strike a cord and they will feel our connection. 

Thank you Russell for sharing your relationship with your father.

"Dr. J"

Michael S. Joyner, MD
Author of the book, "Forever My Daddy: Denied!"


Monday, November 4, 2013


Fathers Beware … if you are going through a broken marriage and making arrangements for a co-parenting plan… Beware!

If you are with an attorney who would allow you to agree to paying private schools for your children … ELIMINATE THEM FROM YOUR LEGAL TEAM!  Do not agree to anything extra during your court hearings or negotiations.  The Court is not a moral battleground.  The Court does not care about you.  Once you understand this, you are one step closer to the power of self-preservation during a broken marriage..

I speak to you with no bitterness but true reality.  I am a Father of two incredible teenage sons, who do not speak to me or acknowledge me unfortunately because of the years of brainwashing from their mother.  Of course, my story is nothing new.  Many of us fathers have been through it.  And yes some mothers have been through it.  Yes.  Can you imagine that your own children who you love have been taught to hate you?  Yes the pain is unimaginable. I don’t blame my children.  I hurt for them.  They have been victims of parental alienation.

Now get this!!  Child support is paid.  However, the Court says … “you have to pay for private school” … does this make sense?  Make sure that you do not volunteer to pay for your children’s private school.  If you do, the Court will always demand and say,  “Pay for your children’s private school.”  It does not matter that you have no say in where they go.  It does not matter the price of the school.  Just pay.  It does not matter that your children do not talk to you.  You do not matter.  Just pay, Daddy!

So how did this scenario come to be?  While going through drawbacks of a broken marriage I was focused on co-parenting…. Attempting to make rationale agreements with a former spouse.  My way of thinking was that two parents who are no longer married should be able to work together.  Two people should be able to determine if a private school or public school is best for their children.  I have no problem with either.  So many factors are involved in a parent’s decision-making process.  Are the public schools in your city an option?  Can you afford the school in your area?  Well guess what? Don’t be fooled!  The Court will not take ANY of that into consideration.  You will be held accountable and treated as a criminal if you are unable to pay or don’t pay.  So beware!

Anyway … this is the beginning of the next step of the FMD Blog!!!  Stay tuned!!