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The Difficulties of Determining Child Support

Written by on November 24, 2014

Divorces are increasingly common in the United States: reports show that 50% of all marriages entered into today will end in separation, a fact bolstered by the 46,523 divorces that are filed each week in the U.S. But as difficult as the decision to separate is, it is often nothing in comparison to the legal process that follows: over the course of a divorce, former spouses are faced with the challenges of organizing and dividing a number of details from their relationship. This is especially true if the couple has children: child custody and child support are two highly contentious issues that almost always require the services of divorce lawyers or family law attorneys to decide peacefully. If an equal and agreeable settlement is not reached, the situation can be catastrophic for both parents, as well as their children.

Take Terry Turnage, for example: this 50-year-old father from Tennessee was recently jailed in Forrest City, Arkansas after being accused of failing to make his court-ordered child support payments. What makes Turnage unique is that he has at least 26 children with 15 different women in either Memphis or Forrest City. Three of those women, located in Arkansas, are currently pressing the charges against him.

One of these former partners, Miesha Davis, claims that Turnage was ordered to pay her $60 a week in child support to help care for their two-year-old child. However, she says he has failed to make any payments to her and the other two women associated with the lawsuit. This is especially egregious because of the lavish lifestyle Turnage displays on social media: while he reportedly told a judge that he was penniless, Turnage frequently posts pictures of his luxury cars and cash. For a recent birthday, he even claimed to be enjoying a $250 bottle of Hennessy at a two-day event that drew 700 people. This lifestyle is apparently made possible by his career in the club business, which requires him to alternate time between Forrest City and Memphis. Turnage does not appear to have custody of any of his children, which isn’t unusual: studies show that 82% of women want to be the custodial parent in the event of a separation.

But while Turnage will likely make a great story for Davis’s divorce attorneys to share, most child support cases rarely feature such a clear-cut villain: while the court’s intention is to ensure that the couple’s children will be financially supported, child support attorneys must help their clients strike a balance between the welfare of the child and the parent who will be making the payments. If child support attorneys fail to distribute sufficient money to the children and custodial parents, the children might be placed in a precarious situation. However, if the child support attorneys overestimate what the non-custodial parent can pay, they can drive him or her into destitution. For this reason, it is important that parents undergoing the divorce process hire a divorce law firm who can negotiate with their former partner to yield a mutually-beneficial situation.

Turnage is currently in the Forrest City jail, where he is being held on a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court in December.

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