The attorney who is a mother to a child with autism, whose parents split the money after their divorce, is now facing a court fight to have child support payments reversed.
Elizabeth “Etta” Sommers says she was able to file a complaint in December 2017 with the Louisiana Office of Child Support Services (OCSS), saying her child support arrearage and the child’s lack of attendance contributed to her child’s developmental delays.
But after more than a year of back and forth, the Louisiana attorney filed a motion Friday for a judge to reverse her initial order to reinstate child support to the child, which was set to be paid in January 2018.
Etta’s attorney, Scott Pfeffer, filed the motion to reverse the initial order and also sought the return of child support paid in December.
Etta’s attorneys argued in court papers that the initial decree was “unreasonable” and “arbitrary” and ordered the court to take into account “several factors, including the fact that Etta was disabled, her mental and physical health, the needs of the child and the financial resources of the State of Louisiana.”
The case was one of a number of child-support cases in the state where Etta and her husband, Charles, have argued for their support to be restored.
Charles and Etta have fought for more than 10 years in court, arguing that Ettas child support needs to be reallocated based on their child’s age, the severity of the support issues, the length of the stay, and the nature of their relationship.
In court documents, Charles Ettars attorneys said the support ordered by the Louisiana court was based on “a statistical calculation based on the child support payment that is less than the average monthly income of the parent and the average amount of income the child receives from the taxpayer.”
Ettas attorneys also argued that the Louisiana order was arbitrary because they believed the child was not a full-time student and did not meet the definition of “active” in the Louisiana child support guidelines.
They also argued Etta “failed to demonstrate that the child had an impairment that would have prevented her from performing the services she requested.”
The court documents also stated that Etto was in a wheelchair and her “mental and physical functioning is impaired by her mental retardation.”
Charles Ettar’s attorney said Etta suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and had not received adequate treatment for them.
The attorney for the Sommer family, Michael Travolta, said the family’s lawyers had “no choice” but to file the motion for a new order.
He said the Sompers had “a history of fighting and having to pay child support in order to get back on track.”
Travoltas attorneys had argued that Charles Etta should not be considered disabled because Etta had been able to work since she was 5 years old.
The family’s attorney argued that Eottas disability was a result of a medical condition, not her disability.
Charles Etta is currently serving life without parole for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident that killed an 11-year-old boy.
Charles Etto is serving life in prison for killing his wife, Etta, and three of their children.
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