New Tennessee Family Law Blog
Al Frazier of Kennedy & Brown has started a promising new blog called Tennessee Family and Probate Law. Al has already posted some substantive and informative commentary. Most interesting to me are posts on two recent family law decisions by the Court of Appeals.
Sinor v. Barr clarifies that criminal contempt for willful failure to pay child support must be treated like other criminal charges -- you must prove the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The court held (at least by implication) that a court cannot shift the burden of proof to the accused by presuming an ability to pay.
Lichtenwalter v. Lichtenwalter emphasizes that the primary beneficiaries of child support orders are children, not parents. Therefore, a parent cannot waive another parent's child support obligations, and private agreements to modify child support are not enforceable. One interesting twist is that this case was decided after the children had all reached the age of majority. The court held that this fact did not relieve the father of his obligation to pay child support arrearage. And the court held that the arrearage should be paid to the children because they should have been the primary beneficiaries of the payments.
To read Al's comments on these cases, visit his blog.