Sixth District Court of Appeals orders attorney to pay support

By Angela Underwood | Jun 2, 2017

A former marriage set the precedent for a recent ruling between a California couple in a child support dispute.

SAN JOSE— A former marriage set the precedent for a recent ruling between a California couple in a child support dispute. 

In a May 23 ruling made by Presiding Justice Conrad L. Rushing and associate justices Eugene M. Premo and Franklin D. Elia, the California Sixth District Court of Appeal denied attorney and appellant Linda Yi-Tai Shao to modify child support payments that she alleged violated her due process rights between her ex-husband Tsan-Kuen Wang, who was awarded equitable child support credits pursuant to the 1989 case Marriage of Trainotti.

Raising eight arguments in appeal, “the bulk of which, deal with her claim that the child support order violated her due process rights,” according to the order, Shao has fought hard for her rights since the couple separated in 2005 after 18 years of marriage. According to the California attorney, who claimed that she was not properly served by the Department of Child and Family Support Services (DCFSS) on the matter, she has been wronged.

But the DCFSS feels differently and "asserts that Shao’s remaining arguments are meritless or were waived for failure to assert them in the lower court.” On behalf of Wang, who had sole custody of his children since a 2010 emergency screening, the DCFSS set forth with proceedings in 2012 regarding the child support to which Shao responded with an income and expense declaration in 2013 that presented her usual monthly wages.

During review of financial records, the DCFSS said Wang was eligible to equitable Trainotti credits when he had sole custody of the children but continued to pay Shao for support. The court declared that as of December 2012 Wang’s child support obligation would be $0, and the father was entitled to equitable Trainotti credits from mid-August 2012 through November 2012. 

Arguing violation of her due process rights, Shao’s fight ended when the California Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided the child support directive was supported by satisfactory proof.  

“The record shows that the trial court relied on both parties’ declarations of income and expenses, as well as actual timeshare percentages as they existed at the time of the hearing, prior to modifying child support,” the court said in its decision, which further notes that Shao did not “categorize the motions she believes should have been considered or demonstrate how those motions were properly before the trial court at the time.”

Shao charged the California Sixth District Court of Appeals should declare "the trial court’s refusing to adjudicate for more than three years as a violation to her due process rights," according to the order. 

But the attorney was deemed misunderstood again.

"Shao’s arguments about unheard child support motions are unintelligible and are unrelated to the modification order on appeal,” the court said in its decision, noting that the change in child support was well supported by significant evidence.  

“We find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying child support in this case,” the court held.

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