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Ford v. Snowden

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

September 22, 2016

FASHON FORD, Appellant,
v.
DARYL B. SNOWDEN Appellee,

          Argued March 6, 2014

          Decided September 25, 2015 [*]

         Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Family Division (PCS-2553-06) (Hon. Milton C. Lee, Jr., Trial Judge)

          Diane Weinroth for appellant.

          Daryl B. Snowden, pro se.

          John 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 appellant.

          Irvin 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.

         ORDER

         On 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

         ORDERED that the motion to publish the memorandum opinion and judgment is granted, and that the decision be reissued as a published opinion forthwith.

          PER CURIAM.

         Appellant, 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[1] 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.[2] For the reasons stated below, we affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

         I.

         Daryl 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.[3] 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 ...


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