“Pointless” Child Support Court Case Prompts Prosecutorial Changes
Zephyrhills, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 19, 2013 - A Florida man falsely accused of owing child support has won a decisive legal victory.
Tony Schehtman, a businessman living in Miami, became involved in a lengthy dispute when his ex-wife accused him of failing to pay $3,632.25 in child support. A Miami-Dade judge recently brought a dramatic end to the case, calling prosecutors' actions “reprehensible” and “irresponsible” and ordering them to pay Schehtman's legal fees.
Zephyrhills divorce lawyer Marcie Baker, who is not involved in the case, commented, “When a marriage ends badly, it is not uncommon to see jaded ex-spouses attempt to embroil each other in petty lawsuits. Fortunately, cases like this, in which unfounded litigation drags on far too long, are the exception. It helps to have an experienced and aggressive family law attorney on your side.”
Judge Pedro Echarte said in his order that although Schehtman had provided proof he was current on his child support payments, prosecutors failed to dismiss the wife's claim. Instead, they dragged out legal proceedings for months and restricted his international travel. Echarte characterized the proceedings as “pointless litigation.”
The State Attorney's Office will not appeal the order.
In December 2010, Schehtman's ex-wife, Lina Maya-Schehtman, filed a sworn affidavit with the State Attorney's Office saying her ex-husband owed her unpaid child support.
Judge Echarte later found that Schehtman filed documents proving the affidavit was incorrect. Nevertheless, prosecutors “certified” the delinquent payments and reported them to the Florida Department of Revenue, which enforces child support payments.
Any non-custodial parent who owes over $2500 in child support is reported to federal authorities, who notify the U.S. State Department, where the delinquent payer's passport is frozen.
Schehtman, who travels internationally for work as CEO of a marketing firm, says he did not know his passport was frozen until he attempted to renew it. He was then unable to perform his work duties for months, according to his lawyer.
The State Attorney's Office will change its internal policy because of the case, it said. A sworn affidavit will no longer be sufficient to trigger the reporting of unpaid child support to Tallahassee. Instead, a court order must instruct them to do so.
Marcie Baker is a partner in the firm of Alston & Baker, P. A. To contact a Zephyrhills Social Security lawyer, Zephyrhills accident attorney, or Zephyrhills divorce lawyer, visit http://www.alstonbakerlaw.com.
Alston & Baker, P.A.
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Zephyrhills, Florida 33542
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