Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Court Dismisses Religious Group's Challenge To Support Order

In Christ's Household of Faith v. Ramsey County, (D MN, May 18, 2009), a Minnesota federal district court dismissed a number of federal challenges to a state court's order that a religious group, Christ's Household of Faith, as a "payor of funds" send child support and spousal maintenance payments (including arrearages) to the Ramsey County (MN) Department of Community Services for Patricia Rooney who had been awarded the amounts in her divorce proceeding. Michael Rooney, Patricia's former husband who had originally been ordered to pay the amounts, was a member of Household of Faith whose members give up most of their property, live communally and merely receive a small stipend of less than $100 per month. In the 20 years since the Rooneys divorce, the parties have been involved in numerous lawsuits challenging state determinations of the value of Michael's services to CHOF and CHOF's liability to pay the child support owed by Michael. The court dismissed the challenges under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine that calls for dismissal of cases in which federal district courts are called on to review and reject a state court judgment. Yesterday's Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on the decision.