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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Child support dispute between Dean McDermott and ex-wife

Tennessee fans of entertainer Dean McDermott and his wife Tori Spelling may have heard that McDermott is in a dispute over child support with his ex-wife Mary Jo Eustace. The two have an 18-year-old son together.

On March 9, there was a hearing about the case in a Los Angeles courtroom where McDermott was found in contempt of court on eight counts, one for each payment in child support that he had missed. He was read his Miranda rights and told that he would be jailed if he did not pay Eustace half of the thousands of dollars he owed her by March 13.

McDermott had claimed in court that he had been struggling financially. He had stopped his child support payments the previous October. The judge gave McDermott and Eustace the opportunity to negotiate, and Eustace dropped the complaint. However, sources said that she might refile.

Child support is calculated by looking at a parent's income although other extenuating factors are taken into account such as the parent's other financial obligations. People who cannot keep up with their child support should not simply stop paying because there could be severe consequences including jail time. Instead, if they suffer a job loss or another change in circumstances that makes it impossible for them to fulfill their child support obligations, they should return to court to ask for a modification of the order. Having a legally-binding child support agreement is important because parents who are owed support can go through their local office of child support enforcement to have payments enforced. For example, the other parent's wages could be garnished.

Source: FOX News, "Dean McDermott may face jail time if he doesn't pay child support", March 10, 2017

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