>> Host: Welcome to LawCall! We have the answers to your legal questions. In our caller segment we are talking about child support. Are you getting payments on time? Are you getting the right amount? Are you unhappy with the time you are getting with your kids? Give us a call, 1-855-LAW-1955. Plus, if you have been injured, time is not on your side. We talk about the statute of limitations. Lawyers do things to make our lives better. Tell us about music for miracles, Kirby?
>> Kirby Farris: Thank you for asking. For years we have been working with Children’s Network. This year we are doing Music for Miracles. Come down to Children’s Hospital and see what’s happening. If you don’t think miracles are happening, come see those children. There are miracles happening there. Donate, dig deep. It’s a wonderful organization.
>> Host: Sounds great. For more information you can go to deliveringjustice.com click on the LawCall link at WBRC.com. e talk about why it’s important to file personal injury claims sooner than later.
>> Ken Riley: Is it ever too late to file a personal injury claim? If it happened recently, not yet. The statute of limitations on making a personal injury claim in Alabama is two years. One may be a broken arm or a hairline fracture. Maybe it will get better on its own, maybe not. If you wait to see how well the injury heals before filing a claim you are playing with fire. As soon as the two-year window closes, your cans is gone forever. You should get advice immediately or you may spend the rest of your life suffering from an injury you are not compensated for. I’m Ken Riley of Farris, Riley and Pitt in Birmingham.
>> Host: We are talking about divorce and child support. We have someone to help us?
>> Kirby Farris: Absolutely. This is a young woman we met a few years ago. Alyssa is with us tonight. She specializes in this area of law. We are thrilled to have her.
>> Alyssa Enzor: I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me.
>> Host: We have Kirby, Alyssa and now it’s time for you. We have Sheila from Bessemer. How are you?
>> Caller: I’m doing fine. My husband is owed $20,000 in past child support. Their money receives SSI. Is there a legal way to collect from someone that receives SSI?
>> Alyssa Enzor: Well, unfortunately, the short answer is no. If it was — if it was a claim paid in on, if the mother had a certain number of qualifying work periods, you would collect against that social security. SSI is a government supplement income and you are not able to collect against that. You said the father was involved. Are you attempting to collect on behalf of the father?
>> Caller: Yes, it’s my husband.
>> Alyssa Enzor: Unfortunately, unless you can find another source of income she has, you can’t get SSI benefits.
>> Host: Let’s take another call. We have Robert from Center Point. You are on with LawCall. What is your question tonight?
>> Caller: If you have a child support case and you can’t work, can the judge lock you up for that?
>> Kirby Farris: Good question. Alyssa?
>> Alyssa Enzor: This is a situation where you can’t work?
>> Caller: Due to an injury. You went to a doctor and were on crutches and you have to see them this week, can they lock you up?
>> Alyssa Enzor: One thing the judge is going to look at is the specifics of what you have going on. One way you can make sure to show to the judge that you truly have a disability would be to start a claim for disability. Most judges will freeze the status of the child support case during the time you are going through the filing and disability process. That can take up to 18 months to go through that process. If there were a possibility that you think you would qualify, I would go ahead and start that process. The other thing, if you don’t think that’s your situation, that make a good faith effort to show by way of documenting through medical records. If you can get something from your doctor showing you have an injury. If it’s a temporary injury, the reason it prevents you from working at this time. That would be a good thing to take to the judge to show.
>> Host: We are talking about divorce and child support. We have Alyssa, Kirby and we have Maxine. How are you? Are you on the call with us?
>> Caller: Yes.
>> Host: What is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: The ineptness of a lawyer, you have a divorce lawyer and the lawyer collaborates and works with the other lawyer against the client. What is the recourse for that?
>> Alyssa Enzor: Well, that’s a terrible situation. I hate to hear that’s going on. There is a reporting body for all lawyers. You can speak with the bar association and make a complaint on that attorney. I would want to maybe consult with another lawyer about what your lawyer has done to see the steps they have taken are not to your best interest. There are times lawyers on opposing sides of cases work together. Sometimes they don’t adequately explain to their client what they are doing and why they are doing it. If you are not satisfied with that and not satisfied with the explanation you received, you can contact the bar association and make a formal complaint against your attorney. Hope that answers your question. We have Kirby. We have Alyssa. We’ll be back with more of your questions after the break. You are watching Fox 6 WBRC.
>> Bob Prince: Lawyers get bad press a lot of times. I like a good lawyer joke as much as last guy. You can’t do it without a good lawyer. Without lawyers, it’s highly unlikely that the workplace would be as difficult as it is. You would be on your own to do the best you could. The courthouse is the only house you are on equal footing with the president or giant oil company or giant corporation. There are a lot of noble professions out there. Maybe not surprisingly to you, I think being a lawyer is one of them. I’m Tuscaloosa attorney Bob Prince.
>> Host: We have our good friends here to take questions from you. Kim, what is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: I was divorced seven years ago with child support issued. In order to get an increase, do I have to go back to court to get an increase?
>> Alyssa Enzor: Yes, ma’am, you would. There are two ways you can go about it. You can go back through an attorney or the cheaper way is to contact your local county department of resources. You can go through the department of resources for your county. You place an application there. What you have to show in order to get a modification is that there is a 10% change in income or more than a 10% change in the increase of the child’s needs. If it’s been seven years, I would think it’s likely you qualify for the 10% increase. I would get that started today. The cheaper option is to go through the department of human resources.
>> Kirby Farris: I have a question. You were talking about a 10% change in income. Is that 10% change in custodial parent?
>> Alyssa Enzor: It could go either way. Sometimes you can go back thinking there would be an increase. You may find out his income has gone down in the last seven years. Typically, it’s a 10% increase you need to show to get your support raised. That’s a factor of both parent’s income. You plug in the income of the father and the mother. If your income has gone up, you can calculate what his has done during that same time period.
>> Host: Let’s take another call. We have Britney from Ensley. What is your legal question?
>> Caller: My husband and me are getting divorced. He’s trying to fight me over paternity by saying the kids are not his. Does it stand up in court that he signed the birth certificate?
>> Alyssa Enzor: Birth certificates are not the end of the story when it comes to paternity. If any of the children are born during the marriage, they are legally his children. If he has information leading him to think one or any are not his children he could ask for a DNA test and that is under the court’s discretion. He will come into court as the legal father of your children and bear the burden of setting that aside.
>> Kirby Farris: If any children were born before the marriage or outside of the marriage, the birth certificate will not be the end of the story on that. It raises a presumption of paternity, but that’s subject to being questioned with other factors like if he had information to lead him to think they are not his children.
>> Host: We hope that answers your question. We are talking about divorce and child support. John, you are on with LawCall. What is your legal question tonight
>> Caller: I know a lot of things have a statute of limitations. My attorney made me so mad. My wife abandoned me and my two kids that were in high school. She signed papers that she didn’t want anything to do with their health or anything and she left. I put my kids through school by myself, and when it turned out my attorney still gave her half of my retirement because I wanted to do something else to have a better income. I don’t have a better income now because she gave her half of my retirement even though she left us and abandoned us and I have paper work from the shared court. It scares me.
>> Kirby Farris: Wow. Tough situation.
>> Alyssa Enzor: That is a rough situation. I’m wondering if there are other ways you could look at getting some of that income back? Once retirement has been divided, it’s not something typically open to being re-divided. If it was divided in the original divorce, that topic may be closed, but I’m wondering about the support of your children. That is something that can be re-devided. Even though your children may have aged out, over the age of 19, if she wasn’t paying support during this period of time she was in high school and she was supposed to under your orders, you may want to look at collecting that money she owed. You didn’t mention if there was alimony awarded? An alimony award is always opened to being considered by the court under a change of circumstances. If that’s part of your original divorce, you can see if you can have that modified.
>> Kirby Farris: Alyssa, is there a statute of limitations on child support? If you have a child that’s 25, can you reach back to try to get child support in arrears?
>> Alyssa Enzor: Two answers to that question: As long as child support was set up and established and paternity was established before the children aged out, you can look into that and collect those arrearages.
>> Host: We’ll be back with more of your questions. You are watching Fox 6 WBRC.
>> Host: Go ahead and mark your calendars. Topics August 21st, we talk about worker compensation. On august 28th, asbestos cancer and the law. September 4, we are talking about another topic. To reach bob prince (800) 536-1105 or prince law. net. If you have questions for Ken Farris or Ken Riley, reach them here or on the web delivering justice. com. Follow them on twitter and Facebook. Give us a call 1-855-law-1955. Let’s take another call. We have Kirby, Alyssa and Timothy. How are you?
>> Caller: I’m doing fine.
>> Host: What is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: I want custody of my daughter. I’m trying to get her mom to help me. I’m on a limited income, social security, and disability. She won’t help buy school supplies or nothing.
>> Kirby Farris: Let’s see if we can get you help with that.
>> Alyssa Enzor: We have similar advice to what I said earlier. My best advice is to get DHR on that. You can have her ordered to pay child support in the case. There is a small application fee and it’s your county DHR to do that. You assign your collection rights with them, and they’ll give you an attorney and take you through the steps to get that set up. They’ll route your payments through the state of Alabama. They’ll keep up with what she’s paying you. If she’s not paying you properly, they’ll take it to court for you.
>> Host: We have another call. Anthony from Center Point. How are you?
>> Caller: I’m all right. How are you?
>> Host: Just fine. You are on with LawCall. What is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: My divorce is in limbo, but I’m already paying child support. Do I have the right to have my daughter?
>> Alyssa Enzor: If your divorce is pending, that’s something I would address with the attorney representing you and make sure that’s something okay with the judge. While the divorce is pending, the judge has final say over the marriage and over the children. You may be entitled to claim your children on the income taxes, but I would check in with the judge to be sure so it doesn’t come back on you final trial.
>> Host: We have Cynthia from Hoover. What is your question tonight?
>> Caller: My husband has a daughter. He’s been paying child support since she was born. Mother wants to take him to court for a modification. She hasn’t worked in three years. She doesn’t want to work. She wants him to pay for his daughter. Does the judge take it into consideration that she doesn’t work but she wants him to pay extra?
>> Alyssa Enzor: That’s a frustrating situation. If you are doing extra things and she’s taking advantage of the situation, I’d cut out the extra things. I recommend everything you pay has a record through the court and you are paying what you are court ordered to pay rather than going above and beyond where she is not taking the steps or making the effort.
>> Host: We hope that answers your questions. Let’s talk about common law. It’s different these days.
>> Kirby Farris: We have had a change in the law. Just this year common law marriage has been abolished. My understanding of that, it will not affect folks that were establishing a common law marriage prior to this year, but now if you intend to enter into a common law relationship there is a different process you have to go through to establish that. My understanding is that you have to file an affidavit through the court.
>> Host: We also talked about custody. Talk about custody and the process that you should go about it now?
>> Alyssa Enzor: I think that one thing a lot of people are not aware of is the difference between going to court to establish custody of a child and thinking you can come back and be under the same legal standard. A lot of people are not aware when you first go into the court you are not on equal footing. The court looks at who is doing the child’s best interest. When you come back to court, it’s a different scenario. If custody has been established with one parent, say with the mother and the father comes back and says, I’m a good guy like I was the first time, the mother already has custody at that point, he has to meet a higher burden, prove there is a material change in circumstances, proving that the mother is unfit or doing something wrong to change custody.
>> Kirby Farris: When you find yourself in that situation early on, it’s important to get a lawyer, is it not? If you are facing a divorce, you have children, it’s important to get a lawyer.
>> Alyssa Enzor: Absolutely.
>> Host: We have good information tonight. We have Kirby. We have Alyssa. We are talking about divorce and child support. Don’t forget to check out music and miracles benefiting the children’s miracle network. Join us next Sunday after the news, when we take your questions about worker compensation. Thanks for calling, everybody. Have a good night.