Question asked on Dec 06th, 2016

Q: In 3 years, ex has paid orig CS/SS support, but not the increased amount ordered by judge due to dishonest FDF. Recently, he has not paid and support in several months. He’s in contempt in many areas. He hasn’t seen kids in 2yrs, only taken them 5% of visitation in 3 years, health ins off/on, doesn’t pay half med and extracurriculars. Has 6 traffic bench warrants +1 fr family court, not paid joint debts, judgments, refuses to give addresses when moved(NV, CA, AZ). He wouldn’t sign for kids passports to bury my dad (out of country). I have had to stop music and swim lessons due to inconsistency. This unreliable, irresponsible, uncooperative behavior prevents me from making legal decisions for, health, school, personal, etc and limits kids and disrupts their stability. I have an arrears case with DA, but I want to file for sole legal. Is this enough for a good sole legal custody case? Will sole legal close DA case for child support? Is including no visitation advisable?

A:  You may be confusing some aspects of physical custody with legal custody — and they are different, as explained here.  To answer your specific question, no, an award of sole legal will not stop child support.  It is unclear whether your situation is “good enough” for sole legal (such decisions are very fact-intensive).  Other observations:  You can get an order for one-party (you) ability to obtain and renew passports.  Child support is reviewable on changed circumstances, or every 3 years, or to correct mistakes/fraud in an FDF, at any time.  There are things that can be done to collect arrearages, and the D.A., while free, is notoriously slow, inefficient, and does not properly compute interest and penalties.  See here and here.

You may want to consider consulting with a family law specialist who can advise you on all aspects of collections, and possibly modifying the existing custody and support orders.

Marshal S. Willick