LAWYERS WEEKLY

Publication: LAWYERS WEEKLY
Published: November 15, 2010

Judge: Father must continue child support payments
Dad tried to modify deal after taking daughter in; Defense verdict

A father of a teenage daughter filed a complaint for modification of child support, alleging that payments to the child's mother should be terminated based on the daughter's residence with him from January through August of her senior year of high school and her imminent departure for college.

The father further contended that the mother should pay child support to him and pay more of the family's health insurance premium.

The judge determined that the father's child support payments should not be terminated, that the mother was not obligated to pay any child support, and that the father should continue to contribute the same amount toward the employee portion of the family health insurance through the mother's employer.

The judge found that the father was often absent from the condo in which he resided with his teenage daughter as he traveled to New York for three- to four-day stretches several times per month. The daughter also traveled with others and was not in the father's care for extended periods of time. The father never notified the mother of his absences or his leaving the daughter unsupervised.

The mother had housed the daughter for long periods of time and had played the primary role in the girl's college search before she went to live with her father. After the move, the mother continued to play a regular and significant role in her daughter's life, making and taking her to appointments, attending school events and paying her bills.

The judge ruled that the marginal increase in the father's care of their daughter was not a material change of circumstances warranting modification of the child support agreement.
Action: Parent & child
Injuries alleged: Inappropriate child support agreement
Case name: Sedgwick v. Marshall
Court/case no.: Middlesex Probate & Family Court, No. 05D-3426-DVI
Jury and/or judge: Dorothy M. Gibson
Amount: $0 (defense verdict)
Date: Aug. 9, 2010
Attorney: Hindell S. Grossman, Grossman & Associates, Newton (for the defendant)