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When Is It Too Late to File for or Modify Child Support?

In just about every divorce involving children, some child support arrangements will be made. But not every divorce is the same, and not all go as planned. And even if a child support agreement seems perfect at the time, circumstances can change.

Whatever the reason, you may find yourself trying to file a child support agreement, enforce or modify an existing one, or end your current child support obligations. But when is it too late? Here's a look.

Too Late to Create?

It's generally never too late to create a child support agreement. While most arrangements are negotiated during the divorce process, there's nothing that can prohibit exes from handling other issues first and hammering out child support later. You will want to be careful about waiting too long, though, because child support determinations are often made with each party's financial situations in mind, and the sooner those arrangements are made, the more accurate they can be and the sooner you'll receive the money (or, conversely, the sooner you'll know what you need to budget).

There are two ways you can go about creating child support arrangements: you can either go to family court and request a child support order from a judge (which may require multiple hearings, filings, and financial evidence), or you and your ex can negotiate a child support agreement on your own. Even if you come to your own agreement, however, you'll want to file it with the court, so it will be enforceable against both parties.

Too Late to Modify?

Child support agreements are not always set in stone, and as personal circumstances change, the amount a parent must pay or is owed can change as well. Obviously, these kind of life changes don't occur on a specific timeline, so there are no hard deadlines for child support modifications. Some child support agreements may have clauses that invite both parties to renegotiate payments at certain intervals -- otherwise you'll need to request a child support modification from the court or your ex. Courts will normally modify a child support order if there is a substantial change in your or your child's circumstances, so requests should be made as soon as possible after those changes.

Too Late to Collect?

Everyone wants to know when child support obligations end. Generally speaking, it's when the child turns the age of majority in your state, usually 18. But some states tie child support to high school graduation, and some child support agreements can cover college tuition as well. It's important for both parties to know, however, that it's never too late to collect back child support payments. While a child turning 18 may end child support obligations going forward, if a parent missed payments before the child turned 18, they are still on the hook for those payments.

States and the federal government are pretty serious when it comes to enforcing child support orders and non-payment can result in seized or revoked driver's licenses, passports, wages, tax refunds, or even jail time. Enforcement measures can continue after the child turns 18, although states may have varying statutes on the time a parent has to collect after the child turns 18.

Child support issues are often complicated, both legally and emotionally. If you have questions regarding child support obligations, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

By Christopher Coble, Esq.

Nike Sued for Gender Discrimination After Self Correcting

A recent class action lawsuit filed against Nike alleges the company has discriminated against its employees by failing to pay, promote, and treat women equally. The plaintiffs are alleging that Nike demeaned and devalued women employees.

The lawsuit comes nearly a month after the company announced that it would be giving roughly 10 percent of its employees pay raises, which according to a CNBC, and any casual observer for that matter, was done to remedy the past discrimination and mistreatment of women employees that was revealed within the last year.

Remedial Measures Don't Provide a Remedy

Law students coast-to-coast are taught in torts that remedial measures are not evidence of liability. However, like most everyone knows, no one fixes nothing that isn't broken. And as lawyers, when a company takes drastic actions to fix past problems, you know there are likely a few cracked eggs that have a good case, particularly as Nike waited nearly a decade to comply with the law (the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed in 2009).

Notably, in March of this year, brand president Trevor Edwards and vice president Jayme Martin both resigned over "behavioral issues that are inconsistent with Nike's values." In today's world of #MeToo and #TimesUp, that's pretty much code for sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The complaint, filed by two former employees, alleges that:

  • "Women's career trajectories are blunted because they are marginalized and passed over for promotions."
  • "Nike judges women more harshly than men, which means lower salaries, smaller bonuses, and fewer stock options....Male bad behavior is rarely penalized."

The suit claims that the company failed to handle sexual harassment complaints, and routinely denied women opportunities.

Shoot!

For companies trying to remedy past business practices that violate the law, it's might be best to heed the advice of Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez, from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: If you're going to do something, do it, don't talk about it first (especially if there's exposure).

George Khoury, Esq.

Apple Sued Over Siri's Commands -- Again

 

Apple gets sued all the time -- at least twice last month over Siri's voice commands.

In the latest lawsuit, a company is suing Apple over its patent for a "hands-free, voice-operated remote control transmitter" that is used to control appliances. In plain language, that would be Siri.

Apple fans are calling the plaintiff a "patent troll," although that name is reserved for those who buy patents just to sue over them. As for SpeakWare, it's a case of if it walks and talks like a duck it's a troll.

Patent Trolls

The company is fairly new, and appears to be in the litigation business. It registered as a corporation in California a year ago, and it has already sued Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft.

Its patent was issued in 2002, so yeah, SpeakWare didn't invent anything but the lawsuits. In the case against Apple, it claims infringement by iPhone 6, HomePod, and sixth generation iPad.

Those devices implement HomeKit programs that can talk to household appliances. So when you tell Siri to turn on the lights, it's apparently a patent violation, too.

Siri has been in trouble before -- and not for her sassy comebacks. Last month, a different patent troll sued Apple for violating a patent for "Speech Recognition and Transcript Among Users Having Heterogeneous Protocols."

Dense Language

9to5Mac called Advanced Voice Recognition Systems another patent troll suing over Apple's iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, HomePod operating systems.

"The patent itself is written in the usual dense language you expect with such applications, but doesn't appear to have much bearing on Siri," Ben Lovejoy wrote.

It's more of the same, according to the critics. Patent trolls make broad claims, hoping a piece of the patent will stick.

When it comes to tech giants like Apple, that piece could turn out to be pretty big.

By William Vogeler, Esq.

Las Vegas Shooting Venue Owner Sues Victims to Avoid Mass Shooting Liability

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 17, 2018 2:05 PM

 

Normally after a mass shooting (and how awful is it that there is a 'normally' attached to 'mass shooting'), victims and their families are the ones that file lawsuits-- against the shooter, the gun-maker, the police, or the owner of the location. But in the wake of the horrific shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas last year, the tables appear to have been turned.

MGM Resorts International, which owns Mandalay Bay and the concert venue where the victims were gunned down, has filed federal lawsuitsasking judges to declare the resort company free from any liability in the shooting. Why the reversal?

Federal Terrorism Protection

While the lawsuits are technically filed against over 1,000 shooting victims, MGM is not seeking any damages. Instead, the company is asking federal judges to declare it immune from lawsuits under a 2002 statute that provides liability protection to companies that use "anti-terrorism" technology or services that can "help prevent and respond to mass violence."

MGM hired Contemporary Services Corporation to provide security for the Route 91 Harvest festival, and is arguing that, because the company's services had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security for "protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction," that immunity should extend to MGM and its subsidiaries.

Incompetence and Immunity

It does seem ironic that the MGM is using its employment of an ultimately ineffective security company as a way to preemptively block victims' lawsuits and avoid liability. Stephen Paddock stayed at the Mandalay Bay resort for several days before he opened fire on festivalgoers last October, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more.

The suits filed by MGM name over 800 defendants in California, and more than 200 in Nevada, many of whom have threatened to sue or have already filed injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the company in state court. "No MGM Party attempted to commit, knowingly participated in, aided, abetted, committed, or participated in any conspiracy to commit any act of terrorism," the federal lawsuits claim.

If successful, MGM could bar any current or future litigation based on the shooting. "The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. "Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing."

But Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, who has represented several of the victims, called the legal maneuvering a "blatant display of judge shopping" that "quite frankly verges on unethical." "I've never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It's just really sad that they would stoop to this level."