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Timothy D. Smith
Timothy D. Smith, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1966
Experience:  10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
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Am i required by Law to pay Child Maintenance each month to

Customer Question

Am i required by Law to pay Child Maintenance each month to my estranged wife for my son who was taken from me at aged only 5 months, by my still(on paper only )wife when she moved back to the USA in April of 2012,where she has bought a house and is fully settled in North Carolina, with her two sons from her first marriage?
She is an American and Irish Citizen(not British passport)
We married only 3 years ago in Northern Ireland
Our son has 4 Passports...British,Australian(same as his dad),Irish and American(same as his mum)
Thank you
Jonathan
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. The short answer to your question is that you do owe the child support because the child's paternity is not in question. The US Department of State Foreign Affairs has a document called the 7 FAM 1750 International Child Support Enforcement. Under this law, passports can be denied and the like for failure to pay.

That said, if a US court has issued the amount of child support owed (or an Australian court for that matter), you can petition that court for a reduction in the amount of support owed to the mother. In the US and in North Carolina, child support is statutory and is a percentage of income of the child support paying parent. If you are paying more than is required by law as a percentage of your income, you have the ability to have this amount reduced to the statutory minimum by petitioning the court. You will not be successful in attempting to reduce this amount to less than that required by law.

One other thing to remember is that custody, such as 10% per year, has virtually nothing to do with the court determination as to what is owed for child support in most cases.

In summary, you do owe child support, even as a foreign citizen to the mother in the US. However, you can have this amount reduced through the courts to the statutory minimum required based on your income, assuming you are not already at the minimum.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. I want to make sure you are satisfied with the answers, even if the answer is not most optimal for you.

Best wishes going forward.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is not an issue for the US courts since the child was born in the UK
We were married in the UK
And
She of her own free will being an Irish and American Citizen decided herself to return to live in America where she had previously lived for 12 years and as a Irish national been given US citizenship
The US courts have not been either contacted or involved
Thank you
Jonathan
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
Jonathan, hold did you arrive at the child support amount? Was it court ordered or was it through a court in the UK or Australia? Was it arrived at mutually by the parties? The reason is that although there is an ethical issue of payment, a court order needs to be in place to force you to pay from some court having jurisdiction over the matter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Arrived at by me out of my generosity.
But now that I have discovered that she has made no effort to work and that her lifestyle is far more improved over mine, I decided to reduce the amount to 1250 per month from 1750 Pounds per month as from June,this month.
In May i had reduced it to 1500 each month
I am inclined though now, since I have little or no access in reality to my son,to simply pay this amount into a bank account in favour of my son here in the UK
Big question is however :
Has she any legal right to go through the US courts which I would 100% refuse to be at my cost?
Or
Given that Our son was born in the UK and we were married in the UK does she not have to go through the UK courts , also bearing in mind that on paper we are still married?
Thank you
Jonathan
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
Since she is an American citizen, that means that your son is also an American citizen. Since she is living in the US now, she has the right and ability to petition a court in the county in North Carolina in which she lives to order child support payments against you. She is supposed to have to personally serve you with process, or notice, of the suit for child support payments. However, the court may waive this requirement if she can show an undue burden in locating and serving you in Australia. If she is awarded child support against you, she could have your passport flagged if you were to try to enter the US.

The answer is that she could go to the US courts to get child support against you. However, it is not an easy process for her either since she is supposed to serve you with process and the like (that is not cheap when dealing with international situations such as this).

She does not have to go through the US courts to have this done since she is a US citizen.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am both a British and Australian Citizen and I live in the UK
Our son only became an American Citizen through his mother.
As far as I am concerned he is a UK citizen first and foremost having been born in the Uk to a British father and an Irish Mother which is what is stated on his birth certificate.
If I simply choose to pay money into an account for my son here in the Uk,can I do this for I am not prepared any more to keep paying her money to help fund her 4 bed house,I do not work , but enjoy all the finer things in life lifestyle especially since I do not even get to see my son more than 10% of the year.
Hardly either just or fair.
Thank you
Jonathan
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
Absolutely. Your history of payment into the UK account would benefit you should court ensue, either in the US or in the UK. That said, even though the son is only a US citizen by way of his mother, that still, in a strictly legal sense, gives the US courts jurisdiction to handle the matter. That said, you should be fine with your proposed course of action paying into the UK account until a court of competent jurisdiction orders otherwise.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i presume that if she chooses to go through the US courts, noted for their excessive costs and charges,that she will be responsible for all costs, likewise in a UK court.She chose to leave me, to take Our son from me and to move back to America and thereby deny me any kind of what can be determined as reasonable access. as his fatheri will not pay her legal fees or any court costs.I am of course happy to pay only what is my cost.Thank you Jonathan
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
That is correct. She will be responsible for her attorney fees and other associated filing fees and court costs.
Timothy D. Smith, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1966
Experience: 10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
Timothy D. Smith and 16 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you again
Over and out
Jonathan
Expert:  Timothy D. Smith replied 1 year ago.
No, thank you Jonathan and best wishes going forward.

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