Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing family law
for 19+ years and look forward to assisting you. With regard to your post:
My children's father died several years ago. My sister now has custody of them. As custodian, she gets the SS death benefit for them ($3000/month), paid directly to her. Now she is suing me for additional child support, arguing that the SS benefit is the father's contribution and that she is still owed money by me.
Is she correct? Ouch. Yes, it is quite possible she is correct, although it would be the children that are owed support, not really her. The other parent generally does not automatically get off the hook for child support simply because the children have survivor benefits because they lost their father. However, different states DO treat it differently.
As noted by Ohio lawyer Morganstern: "In a recent case from Sandusky County, Ohio, mother a non-disabled women was ordered to pay child support to father who was disabled and the custodial parent of the parties two children. The calculation of support by the trial court followed the Supreme Court's mandates as mother was not given any credit for the SSDI payments received by father .Despite mother's arguments that the result was unfair, the Court of Appeals was bound to follow the ruling by the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals noted that the calculation leads to a fair result because if the parties were still married the children would receive the benefit of the payments as well as the benefits from both parents' income." http://www.examiner.com/family-law-6-in-cleveland/stanley-morganstern
You may want to try to get the court to consider, at least, the fact that the children DO have income, and how much, so that you are not then responsible for 100% of child support, but a more proportionate amount, possibly as a discretionary move by the court, particularly if you have a relatively low income. It is certainly worth a try as part of your defense.
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