March 6, 2014
Decided September 25, 2015 [*]
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Family
Division (PCS-2553-06) (Hon. Milton C. Lee, Jr., Trial Judge)
Weinroth for appellant.
B. Snowden, pro se.
C. Keeney, Jr., with whom Jennifer Mezey, Stephanie Troyer,
and Karen S Smith, were on the brief for amicus curiae, The
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, in support of
B. Nathan, Attorney General for the District of Columbia at
the time the brief was filed, with whom Todd S Kim, Solicitor
General, Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, and
Donna M. Murasky, Senior Assistant Attorney General, were on
the brief for amicus curiae, the District of Columbia.
BEFORE: Washington, Chief Judge; McLeese, Associate Judge;
and King, Senior Judge.
consideration of the motion, filed by appellant Fashon Ford,
to publish this court's September 25, 2015, memorandum
opinion and judgment, regarding the above-referenced matter,
and no opposition having been filed, it is
that the motion to publish the memorandum opinion and
judgment is granted, and that the decision be reissued as a
published opinion forthwith.
Fashon Ford ("Ms. Ford"), challenges the trial
court's order denying her the opportunity to seek child
support from appellee, Daryl B. Snowden ("Mr.
Snowden"), for the period of time during which Ms. Ford
was receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
("TANF") benefits. Ms. Ford contends that the trial
court erred in holding that the government had waived her
right to seek such relief by failing to prosecute the action
on her behalf. In addition, she argues that the trial court
erred in failing to apply a rebuttable presumption in favor
of retroactive child support for the nineteen
months prior to the filing of her petition for
support, and that the trial judge improperly considered a
"private agreement" between Ms. Ford and Mr.
Snowden in calculating child support payments. For the reasons
stated below, we affirm in part and reverse and remand in
B. Snowden, Jr. was born on May 1, 2006. On June 21, 2006,
Ms. Ford filed a "Petition to Establish Paternity and/or
Provide Support" through the District of Columbia Office
of the Attorney General ("OAG") in order to seek
court-ordered child support from Mr. Snowden. On November 16,
2006, the trial court dismissed the petition without
prejudice because the government informed the court that Ms.
Ford requested the petition be dismissed upon the parties
reaching a private agreement. Ms. Ford began receiving TANF on
or about February 2007. The OAG filed a motion to reinstate
the support petition on December 3, 2007. When service was
finally effected on February 27, 2010, a DNA test was ordered
at Mr. Snowden's request; however, he did not submit
samples until ordered ...