Marcia Zug on Sharpe v. Sharpe and Child Support Modifications


It is easy to presume that maximizing child support is in a child’s best interest, but as the above cases demonstrate, there are exceptions. When the benefits of modification outweigh the negatives, modification should be permitted. This is true for all child support cases, but especially those pertaining to American Indian families. When considering modification requests made by Indian obligors, family courts must be particularly sensitive to the effects of income imputation on individual Native families as well as the effects of imputation on their tribes more broadly. If the benefit of modification relates to the child’s or the parent’s unique status as a member of a federally recognized tribe, this fact should be given substantial, perhaps even decisive, weight in the court’s modification decision. As discussed in Part I, courts applying the strict rule test have permitted modification when it benefits the child or the greater community. Supporting native subsistence lifestyles does both.

Sharpe v. Sharpe is here.

Alaska Native Subsistence Act Proposes Co-Management Structure That Includes Tribal Leaders to Replace Current Federal/State Management Structure

The Alaska Native Subsistence Co-Management Demonstration Act of 2014 proposes a new co-management structure in the Ahtna region. The new structure would include tribal officials in the management of the land and resources, replacing the current dual federal and state management structure.

The House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs will hold a hearing on the Act March 14, 2014, 11:00 am (EST). The hearing will be available online here.

AFN has released an overview video to explain some of the complexities of protecting subsistence rights  and the strength of co-management here.

Ahtna, Inc. has also released a video here.

Article here.