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Judge Halbrooks: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Too Poor For Court Costs But Can Pay Child Support

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Michael Volpe

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This is not the first time Judge Flaskamps-Halbrooks has ruled on matters related to Grazzini-Rucki.

In September 2012, Grazzini-Rucki was ordered out of her home, out of the state, and ordered not to contact anyone she knew.

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Months after a Minnesota Appeal’s Court Judge ruled that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was capable of paying nearly $1,000 per month in child support, the same judge ruled that paying several hundred dollars in her ex-husband’s court costs would be too burdensome.

On December 1, 2017, Minnesota Appeal’s Court Judge Jill Flaskamps Halbrooks ruled that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki paying for David Rucki’s court costs.

“Although David Rucki prevailed on appeal, it appears that allowance of the claimed costs and disbursements would cause financial hardship, in light of the district court’s determination that appellant (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki) is entitled to proceed in forma pauperis.”

When someone receives in forma pauperis status, they are deemed to poor to afford an attorney.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been represented in her divorce since early 2013 by Michelle MacDonald, who has worked pro-bono since receiving a $5,000 payment at the beginning of the case.

The same Judge, Jill Flaskamps-Halbrooks, ruled in September 2017 that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki had the ability to pay her ex-husband $975 per month in child support, despite Grazzini-Rucki being convicted of six felonies, homeless, and unemployed.

“Grazzini-Rucki asserts that she had no ability to pay child support because her employment with the airline was ‘in flux’ and that the CSM made ‘vague, generalized and conclusory findings’ that did not justify imputing income under Minn. Stat. § 518A.32, subd. 1.5 But these assertions misconstrue the record, particularly the evidence admitted during the September 2016 hearing. The CSM found that after Grazzini-Rucki was released from jail, she submitted a document in March 2016 that stated that she currently worked as a flight attendant Grazzini-Rucki testified, and the CSM acknowledged, that her status of employment was unknown at the time of the September 2016 hearing. But Grazzini-Rucki did not provide any evidence that her employment status had changed or that her employment had been terminated after March 2016.” Judge Flaskamps-Halbrooks asserted in her August ruling, when she confirmed that an earlier ruling ordering Grazzini-Rucki to pay her ex-husband $975 per month was appropriate.

After Judge Flaskamps-Halbrooks ruled in his favor in the child support appeal, his attorney, Lisa Elliott, filed to recoup his court costs.

Elliott did not respond to an email for comment.

David Rucki was granted child support even though he already received 100% of a multi-million-dollar estate which included numerous homes, classic cars, and the entirety of a thriving trucking business. More

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TS Radio: A trip through Illinois Divorce Court with Mark Hexum

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TS RAdio
Join us live January 8th, 2016 at 6:00 pm CST!

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Child support enforcement $499 for every $1 for visitation

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Corrupt CT
Bringing corruption to a whole new level.

Robert Franklin, Esq.  (Original post, 2012)

Note: This article from 2012 is extremely relevant to day as most states are engaging in a system of “stacking” where child support payments made are held in suspension accounts and then added to the cumulative amount reported to the federal government as “collected child support”.  The result?  A massive overpayment that increases the dollar for dollar matching funding for every dollar collected in child support. 
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“Then there’s the fact that Washington pays states 66 cents for every dollar of €0-administrative costs they incur in squeezing non-custodial parents. That of course means that the more money you spend in administrative costs, the more you get from the feds.

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The United States government spends over $499 for child support enforcement for every $1 it spends to enforce access and visitation by non-custodial parents. Thais the news from a document entitled Payments to States for Child Support Enforcement and Family Support Programs issued by the filescacoaaliDepartment of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. It’s a breakdown of expenditures for various programs in the recent past and budgeted for the near future. Here’s a link to the document which is an real eye-opener.

First the good news. The Office of Child Support Enforcement knows that keeping fathers involved in their children’s lives is good for all concerned, particularly the kids. It also knows that non-custodial fathers are a lot more likely to pay the child support they owe when mothers don’t obstruct access to their children.

The proposal also requires states to establish access and visitation responsibilities in all initial child support orders. The proposal also would encourage states to undertake activities that would support access and visitation. Implementing domestic violence safeguards is a critical component of this new state responsibility. These services will not only improve parent-child relationships and outcomes for children, but they also will result in improved collections. Research shows that when fathers are engaged in the lives of their children, they are more likely to meet their financial obligations. This creates a double win for children an engaged parent and more financial security.

Great. So when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, what do they do? The actual expenditures for 2010, the most recent year for which those figures are available, were $4,993,417,000 for child support enforcement including incentive payments to states and $10,000,000 for access and visitation support. Now, don’t blame the administrative agency for those radically unequal expenditures; the $10 million allocated for access and visitation is capped at that number by law. That’s right, our elected representatives in Washington refuse to spend more than that to promote children”s relationships with their fathers.

Back in 2010, I posted this piece on the respective expenditures by the State of Texas for child support enforcement and visitation. Back then, Attorney General Gregg Abbott was crowing about having received a $500,000 grant from Washington for access and visitation support, so I tried to figure out how much the state spent on support enforcement. My quick-and-dirty figuring suggested the figure was about $257 million. I was wrong. The figures in the DHHS (updated to 2012) document for expenditures for each state show that in fact, Texas received a whopping $378 million for child support enforcement versus just $702,000 for access and visitation. That’s about in line with the 499:1 national ratio.

And, as I said in my piece two years ago, if you’re trying to figure the relative values assigned by our current system of custody and support to custodial and non-custodial parents, that 499:1 ratio is about as good a measure as their is.

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Child Support: States Stack the Books for Profit

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strip bannernew-logo25  Out of fear of retaliation by CSR in Georgia, Arkansas and Texas, the numerous contributors to this article wish to remain anonymous.

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“The child support recovery system routinely stops the transfer of tens of thousands of dollars each month, paid by parents, holding those funds indefinitely and with out explanation. The result is that the paying parent is sent letters informing them that they will have their drivers license taken, along with their vehicle and will be jailed. These letters originate from the very same offices that have received the child support payments on behalf of the parent, but who have, intentionally refused to transfer the funds to the families they were meant for.

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In several states, the pursuit of federal kickbacks for agencies involved in child support recovery has resulted in the offering of employees bonuses for generating more child support collections, even if those collections are based on false allegations and as a result of withholding child support funds paid into the system. More

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