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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Even More About Virtual Visitation

I know, I know, enough about virtual visitation already. Here's the thing: the AP has a story today about virtual visitation. And it contains some new (to me) information.

First, it provides a full picture of the status of virtual visitation legislation: Utah has a virtual visitation law; Wisconsin will have a law when the governor signs it; and the Illinois, Missouri, and Virginia legislatures are considering virtual visitation bills.

Second, the story contains some interesting arguments in favor of virtual visitation. Of course the story repeats the old argument that virtual visitation can't replace the real thing. But it also asserts that virtual visitation can help spouses get along by removing fear or uncertainty that a child is being monitored or manipulated. Also, a better connected parent is more likely to pay child support.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

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.