Navigating Divorce and Child Support

If you and your spouse are going through a divorce and you have children together decisions might be harder to make regarding who primarily supports them. For example, if the mother has better health insurance available for the kids it might be decided that she keeps or puts them on her plan. However, she might believe her former spouse should still contribute to the medical bills if they come up. This is just one scenario that can come about, and it’s one example of why child support exists. If you have uncertainties about child support this article can help solve them. Read the full piece below.

Divorce is one of the hardest legal events anyone will ever face. When you divorce, you face losses that are not just emotional, but financial and legal as well. This blog series will help answer some basic questions you might have about divorce.

Back in the day, child support generally fell on the father after a divorce, and only ended on the day the child turned 18. Nowadays, more mothers are working, same-sex couples are getting married, having kids, and divorcing, and there are more factors taken into account when deciding how long child support will continue. The general idea of child support — that the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent some amount for the child’s food, clothing, school, etc. — is still the same, but determining who pays, how much, and for how long has gotten a bit more complicated.

Here are five of the biggest child support questions, and some answers from our archives:

1. Can Child Support Go Directly to a Child?

Maybe you don’t trust your ex. Or maybe you’d like to put money into a trust for your kid. Unfortunately, child support for a minor child generally has to go to a parent. There are some exceptions, however.

2. Can I Go to Jail for Failure to Pay Child Support?

If you have an issue with the amount of child support you’re paying, or with visitation with your child, or any other aspect of custody and support, think twice about stopping child support payments. Courts can impose jail sentences for parents who don’t pay.

3. Can I Fight a Child Support Increase?

Some child support modifications are good, like accounting for a lost job or other change in financial circumstances. Some of those modifications are increases and can put a strain on your bank account. Find out how to challenge a child support increase.

4. Does Child Support End Upon Graduation?

For parents paying child support, the biggest question is: When will it end? The usual answer is: When the child turns 18. But what if they’re already out of the house and maybe on their way to college? What about the younger siblings?

5. How Long Can I Collect Past-Due Child Support?

Like student loans, the obligation to pay child support always exists, even through bankruptcy. And if an ex is behind on payments they still owe the full amount, even after the child turns 18. But some states do have a statute of limitations on how long you have to collect.

Child support issues can be complicated — legally and emotionally. Make sure you’ve got an experienced child support attorney on your side.

Related Resources:


Child Support Owed

Since over 50% of marriages end in divorce these days, child support is a common expense you hear about. Payments are usually made from one parent to the other until the child turns 18. But what happens if a payment is missed? The parent collecting the support might still be entitled to that money and can ask for it after the child’s 18th birthday. Read more about the legality below:

Emancipation and Arrears

Those who are late making child support payments are said to be “in arrears.” As noted above, this debt does not go away, even after the child turns 18. So even though the child has reached the age a majority, the payments that should have been made before he or she turned 18 are still enforceable after that.

Keep in mind that state laws can vary a little on this issue. For example, some states cut off child support at 18, some at 19, and others at 21. (And some dismiss child support obligations if the child has been “emancipated.”) Also, some states and courts may modify child support obligations after the child turns 18, since the custodial parent no longer needs to support the child. Even with these differences, however, the rule is that child support payments must continue until the arrears balance is paid in full, regardless of the child’s age.

Enforcement Actions

States and the federal government are pretty serious when it comes to enforcing child support orders. Enforcement officials can withhold or revoke driver’s licenses or passports, garnish wages, seize tax refunds, place liens on property, or even sentence a delinquent parent to jail time. These enforcement measures can continue after the child turns 18, and most states do not allow child support obligations to be discharged in bankruptcy.

One thing to keep in mind is that some states may have statutes of limitation on collection of back child support, so may only have a limited time to collect after your child turns 18 or you may have to go back to court and renew the child support order.

Child support collection can be complicated, both legally and emotionally. If you have questions regarding child support obligations or are having trouble collecting back child support, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

Related Resources:


Learning more about the Border Patrol

As a law firm in Arizona, we definitely see a Border Patrol presence. Our firm also handles several types of immigration litigation cases. This article helps explain what our Border Patrol does and what scenarios might arise at the border. When traveling between the U.S. and Mexico keep these things in mind.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the unenviable task of patrolling over 7,500 miles of territory between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It is responsible for everything from monitoring import and export of goods, to preventing drug smuggling. The agency also has an enormous role in enforcing immigration laws.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 500 million people cross American borders every year, each one coming in contact with border patrol in some fashion. So here are five things you need to know about U.S. Border Patrol.

1. You May Need Documents

Everyone needs a passport if you’re entering the U.S. by air, and you need at least some documentation — a driver’s license, green card, or NEXUS card — to cross the border by land or sea. Canadian citizens can present a single WHTI-compliant document in lieu of a passport, and Mexican citizens can present a passport with a nonimmigrant visa or laser visa border crossing card.

2. They May Not Need a Warrant

Under federal law and Supreme Court precedent, Border Patrol officials can operate checkpoints and question occupants of vehicles about their citizenship, request document proof of immigration status, and make plain view searches of the interior of the vehicle, all without a warrant. But officials can’t search an entire car or person without a warrant or probable cause.

3. They Take Care of Business

Literally. The Border Patrol is also in charge of policing economic trade between the United States and foreign countries. This means monitoring imports and exports and enforcing international customs laws.

4. They Can Open Fire

Between January 2010 to October 2012, Border Patrol officers were involved in 67 cases of use of deadly force and these cases are rarely investigated by outside agencies or punished. Even the case of Lonny Swartz, who was charged for shooting and killing 16-year-old Mexican Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez in 2012 for throwing rocks at the border has yet to go to trial.

5. They’re Everywhere

At almost 50,000 sworn agents and officers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the largest law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. The CBP can also impose civil penalties under the Tariff Act of 1930 and criminal penalties for drug and immigration offenses.

If you have more questions about the Border Patrol or have been charged by CBP of an immigration violation, you should talk to an experienced immigration attorney.

Related Resources:


The crucial mistake many make after a car accident

You take selfies all the time, but not everyone thinks to take car accident photos and this can be one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make in this situation. Here is a step by step guide for what you should do after a car accident. Don’t forget to call Tijjani Law as we can help you navigate this complicated landscape.

This is another in our series on car accident claims. Many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.

If you’ve been in a car accident, you should do everything you can to document what happened. But that’s not the whole story. There are a few things you’ll want to take care of first, and many things you’ll need to take care of after.

Here’s what you need to know about taking pictures of your car accident:

First Things First

Before you attempt to be the Ansel Adams of car accidents, check on the other drivers and passengers. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is OK, and request medical attention for anyone who is hurt.

And if it is a serious accident, you should report the accident to local police or highway patrol. They may be needed to handle any impact on traffic, coordinate medical personnel and/or tow trucks, and they will also document the accident in their own report.

Get Snappy

One of the great things about smart phones (if you have one) is they all have cameras and, depending on their memory capacity, can allow you to take as many photos as you want. Plus, you can see right away whether the shot is good or not. So take as many photos of the car accident as you can.

Photos of the scene will be essential to your car insurance claim. Clearly you want to focus on the immediate damage to the car, but there are a few other things you may want to aim your camera at:

  • Personal injuries
  • Damage to surrounding property
  • Layout of the street or intersection
  • Nearby street signs or highway markers

Your photos may be used to prove you weren’t at fault for the accident, and could ultimately determine how much you could get in a claim settlement.

What Else?

Your photos won’t tell the whole story of the accident, and there’s other evidence that can help during a car accident investigation. You’ll also want to gather insurance and contact information for everyone involved in the accident. (Taking photos of insurance cards can help.) And you’ll want to talk to anyone who witnessed the accident, record what they saw, and gather their contact information as well.

Getting into a car accident is scary. But what happens afterwards doesn’t have to be. If you’ve been in a serious car accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney today – he or she will be able to answer all of your questions, often for free.

Related Resources:


You’ve been in an accident….now what?

It can be hugely disorienting. It can be traumatic. It can change your life when you get into a car accident. When these big moments happen we are never prepared. There are so many questions as you replay the scene a thousand times in your head. Just know that there are a few things that could save you if you do them right after an accident. One of them is calling our trained professionals at Tijjani Law.

This is another in our series on car accident claims. Many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are?This series can help.

It’s normally the first or second question that pops up after a car accident, right after “Is everyone OK?” Before you’re even exchanging insurance information, you’re wondering whether you need to alert the police or highway patrol so they can file an accident report.

Maybe if you’ve just gotten a love tap at a stop sign you and the other driver (or your respective insurance companies) can sort out the details. But if there’s any dispute about what happened, or if anyone has been injured, you’re probably better off filing a police report. Here’s why:

Documenting the Scene

Memories fade; recollections vary; and details get misremembered. But an accurate police report, documenting the evidence gathered just after an accident, can preserve the facts of the case in a way that a person’s mind may not.

If the other driver later disputes who ran which stop sign, the police report can contain pictures or drawings of the position of the cars; if they contest the damage to vehicles, the report can attest to how extensive the collision was; and if they say no one was hurt, the report may contain interviews with everyone involved at the time.

These details may not seem important at the time, when calling the police sounds like a time-consuming hassle, but a police report can become crucial if your car accident claim ever goes to court.

Determining Fault

One of the biggest factors in a car accident claim is determining who was at fault for the accident. And one of the biggest tools in proving fault in a car accident is the police report. That’s why it’s not only important to make sure a police report is filed after your accident, but to make sure it’s accurate — read and review the accident report and request any revisions if need be.

While it is possible to file an injury claim without a police report, it may be more difficult to win your case without one. Depending on your state laws, you will need to prove someone else was at fault for your injuries, or at least more at fault than you were. And a good police report is often step one in proving fault in a car accident claim.

As such, it is one of the documents you’ll want to show your attorney after the accident. And yes, if you’ve been injured in a car accident you should absolutely contact an experienced car accident attorney. Most attorneys are happy to consult with you about your case for free.

Related Resources:


How to sue for pain and suffering

When you get into an accident, you are scared, potentially hurt and worried about the future as you are now out a mode of transportation and most likely have to miss work, therefore not allowing you to make an income and take care of your responsibilities and family. This is the definition of pain and suffering. Here’s how you can get compensated for that.

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you know you may be able to get reimbursed for hospital and medical bills. But what if those injuries were severe enough to cause you ongoing pain and suffering? For example, what if you are confined to a hospital or your home for an extended amount of time? What if your injuries damaged your marriage or other relationships? And what if, even after medical treatment, you’ll still suffer from soreness, aches, or discomfort?

Pain and suffering, legally speaking, is generally defined as mental or physical distress for which you can recover damages in a personal injury case. So how do you make a pain and suffering injury claim in a car accident case, how hurt do you have to be, and how do you prove it?

Making a Pain and Suffering Claim

The process of claiming pain and suffering after a car accident could depend on where you live. Not all states treat pain and suffering claims the same way: some states allow juries to assume some level of pain and suffering; some require more specific levels of proof; and some may put caps on how much a plaintiff can receive to compensate for pain and suffering. All of these factors will affect how you make your claim.

Your specific injuries may also affect a pain suffering claim. For instance, if you suffer from chronic migraines after a serious head injury, your claim may look different than someone who has anxiety attacks at large intersections after getting T-boned.

Pain and Suffering Injuries

Courts will generally consider several factors when determining pain and suffering liability:

  • The Type of Injury: Serious brain injuries, those that result in long-term debilitation, or those that cause constant pain are more likely to require compensation.
  • The Severity of the Pain Suffered: The level of pain at the time of the accident, and the extent to which pain or mental anguish continues afterwards can be considered.
  • The Prognosis for Future Pain: This factor can take into account the victim’s age as well as the degree of certainty with which the future pain and suffering can be diagnosed.

Proving Pain and Suffering

Providing legal proof of pain and suffering will depend largely on the exact nature of the injuries. Demonstrating limited mobility or physical functioning is different from proving anxiety or panic attacks. Medical records and doctors’ reports are a good start, but you may also need expert witnesses to testify regarding your condition.

A good lawyer will know how to make a compelling pain and suffering claim. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

Related Resources:


Why worker’s comp is harder than many realize

If you’ve been injured in an accident that is no fault of your own while you’re on the job site, there are various programs that are available for you at that time. It can however be very difficult to reap the benefits that you deserve from these programs. NPR did a segment which highlighted this very problem. For a free consultation, contact Tijjani Law today.

Workers’ compensation is federally mandated and administered by states, but some employers may opt out if they have an alternate plan. When that happens, it can be more difficult for individuals hurt on the job to get compensation for their medical claims, as was highlighted in a feature on National Public Radio.

The story revealed the difficulties of Rachel Jenkins, 33, who was injured caring for a disabled man and denied benefits by her Oklahoma employer’s private plan. Jenkins and others sued the state and employers over certain provisions in the Oklahoma workers’ compensation opt-out plan. This week, Jenkins settled her claim with the company, reports NPR.

Questionable Provisions

The reason Jenkins’ claim is a matter of national interest is because it is instructive, uncovering something important about the impact of individual provisions. ResCare, the company Jenkins worked for, required employees who were injured to report their claim within 24 hours.

Jenkins was three hours late. Her claim was denied based on this tardiness, which she blamed on the medication taken after injury. The settlement follows a ruling by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, which declared the state’s opt-out system unconstitutional and is being challenged in the state Supreme Court.

Jenkins will be compensated for her injury. But the lessons of the case remain important to all, from individual workers to state legislators. Workers pay into the public insurance fund, or if their employers opt out, into a private one. We may think little of it when we are healthy, but after an injury every little provision does make a difference, and unreasonable requirements strain individuals’ lives.

“I went through hell, a whole lot of pain where I was in tears,” Jenkins told NPR last year. “I was just thinking . ‘How am I going to take care of my kids?'”


If you are injured at work and concerned about your ability to recover compensation for time off and medical expenses, speak to an attorney. Many lawyers consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to discuss your claim.

Related Resources:


If you’ve been hurt at work read this now!

Many people suffer from work related injuries but they do nothing about getting benefits or compensation from their place of employment because they either do not realize that they can or they think it is way too hard to realistically accomplish this. It is possible to get the benefits that you deserve. Call Tijjani Law for additional information.

Was Your Injury Work Related?

Just in case the name of the system does not make it clear, the first thing you must know is that workers’ compensation’s only for work-related injuries. While you may be unable to work because you injured yourself skiing on vacation, you absolutely cannot seek compensation for an injury that does not stem from your employment.

Generally speaking you can be compensated for injuries that occur at work. But if you were doing something that violates company policy, or were impaired at the time of injury, you may risk denial of benefits although you have paid into the system.

First Steps

Assuming your injury does stem from your work, the first thing you must do is let your employer know about it. If your injury developed slowly, let your employer know about it as soon as you suspect that it is was caused by your work.

Next, you file a claim. But the process is not the same in every state. The labor insurance system is administered by the individual states and each one has its own rules.

How to Find What You Need

Your state’s Department of Labor website will have information about applicable workers’ compensation laws. For example, in California the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Workers’ Compensation administers and monitors claims. The division has several different units and the website provides general information for workers and directs them to claim forms.

Remember that you only need to fill out the employee section of the form. Next, you give the meployer forms for completion. Once the employer has submitted the necessary forms for the claim, the state has a limited to review it and issue benefits or a denial (about 14 days in California).

Talk to a Lawyer

If your workers’ compensation claim was denied or you are concerned that it might be, speak to a lawyer. You don’t necessarily need an attorney to make a cliam, but having one can certainly help you more easily navigate the system.

Many workers’ compensation attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to discuss your claim. Get guidance.

Related Resources: