Articles Posted in Child Support

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Determining the requirement for and amount of child support and/or spousal support is an important part of many Florida divorces. The amount of income the paying spouse earns is highly important to these determinations, as it helps show their ability to pay a certain amount. Unfortunately, many soon-to-be former spouses use certain methods to lower the amount of income they earn or to misrepresent their earning power in order to avoid orders of high amounts of child or spousal support.
Specifically, many spouses develop “RAIDS,” a term commonly used in family law that stands for “Recently Acquired Income Deficiency Syndrome.” RAIDS occurs when a high-earning spouse suddenly reports a decrease in income, thereby expecting lower support requirements. Depending on their employment situation, spouses may have different methods of achieving this deceptive goal.

Salaried Spouses

The most common way for spouses receiving a salary or hourly wages to hide income is to suddenly decrease overtime hours. Regular overtime can substantially increase earning potential. If a spouse declines to work overtime for a period of time prior to a divorce, their paystubs will clearly reflect less income. Such spouses often return to their regular overtime hours and income immediately following a court ruling.
Salaried spouses may also renegotiate their contracts to temporarily receive some of their income as additional benefits, expense reimbursement, or some other form of compensation not readily identifiable as income on a paystub.

Commission-Paid Spouses

Spouses who work as salespeople and receive much or all of their income in the form of commissions may also develop RAIDS. This is often achieved in one of the following ways, among others:
· Not selling up to their full potential for a period of time;
· Continuing to make sales, but delaying the finalization of sales (and payment of commission) until after the divorce is final; and
· Having a fellow salesman take credit and receive commission for a sale, and then pay the spouse the commission in cash that you are unaware exists.

Self-Employed Spouses

It is perhaps easiest for self-employed spouses to significantly reduce or hide income. First, many self- employed individuals often transact in cash for at least some of their business deals, and they may easily hide this income by simply not reporting it to the IRS on their taxes. At that point, you may have to look to personal logbooks or other records of cash sales to prove that income. Additionally, self-employed individuals may substantially increase their business expenses, which works to lower their overall “income” on their tax returns.
These are only some examples of how spouses can use RAIDS to reduce the amount of support they are ordered to pay. An experienced Boca Raton family law attorney knows how to examine tax returns, pay statements, and other financial documents to identify RAIDS and make an argument to the court in favor of the child or spousal support that you truly deserve. If you are facing a divorce, do not hesitate to call the office of Alan R. Burton as soon as possible for assistance with your case.

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If you have custody of your children following a divorce, chances are good that the Florida family court ordered your former spouse to pay you a certain amount of child support per month. Getting the order for child support is only the first step, however, as many parents unfortunately fail to make their required monthly payments. Raising children without the proper financial support is very challenging and can often hurt your kids. For this reason, there are different ways in Florida to enforce child support orders to make sure you get the support you and your children deserve.

Ways to Collect Child Support

There is no statute of limitations for child support actions in Florida, which means you may try to collect unpaid child support even many years after the payments were due. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you enforce child support orders and receive any overdue amount.
There are different ways that child support may be obtained, including the following:
· Wage garnishment;
· Seizure of federal tax refunds;
· Garnishment of unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits;
· Seizure of lottery winnings;
· Liens against houses, cars, or other property;
· Suspension of their driver’s license, professional license, or passport;
· Holding the parent in contempt of court, which could mean up to 179 days in jail; and
· Criminal charges and penalties, including jail time or probation.
Seeking your unpaid child support usually requires the assistance of the courts, therefore you should always contact an experienced Florida family law attorney for assistance in getting the amount you are owed.

Preventing Modification of Child Support Orders

If your child’s parent is not paying, he or she may try to claim that they cannot afford the payments due to their personal and professional circumstances. They may try to ask the court to lower the amount of required monthly child support by having the original order modified. However, Florida law states that a court may only modify a child support if the parent can show a substantial change in circumstances. This means that small changes in their lives will not be enough to have an order modified. If the other parent is trying to get the child support payments lowered and has not, in fact, experienced a substantial change in circumstances, an attorney can help you fight against the modification in court.
On the other hand, if you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances that means you need to increase the amount of monthly support you receive, an attorney can help you present your case to the court.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton

Parents have a duty to financially support their children and there should be no excuse for missing child support payments. If you are owed money for child support, you should not have to simply accept it and you should take action. Experienced attorney Alan R. Burton is dedicated to helping parents receive the support they deserve, so please contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to see how we can help you.

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Paying child support in a timely fashion is important; not only is it important to the well being of your children, it is also important to your continuing freedom.

Although the Florida Constitution prohibits one from being imprisoned for a debt, the constitution will not protect you from being imprisoned as a result of non payment of your child support.

Although the Florida Constitution does provide safeguards for unlawful imprisonmement, if it is determined that the refusal to pay is willful, you most likely will be incarcerated for a period of time until something towards the child support arrears has been paid.

The local and national news is full of stories that deal with amnesty programs and other plans which are designed for and to encourage delinquent obligors to come forward with their child support payments.

However, these programs should not be considered as weakness or being lax on the part of the state enforcement divisions for the collection of child support. For example, Waynesboro, N.C. man was recently “brought down” by police tasers as he attempted to flee from police on a felony warrant for non-payment of child support. He is currently being held with no bond.777968_alcatraz.jpg

Some people will employ any means possible to avoid their child support obligations. Outside of Atlanta, a former government employee had his paychecks altered in order to avoid showing an increase in his income, which would ultimately lead to paying a smaller amount of child support.

This indiscretion on his part has ultimately landed him with a felony indictment for forgery, a first degree felony. Read the complete story about Freddie Ashmon, Jr.

The easiest way to not run afoul with the law is to pay your child support.

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A modification of child support, or alimony as well, is based upon an unforseen, involuntary, permanent and substantial change in circumstances. Florida statute 61.14 provides the statutory basis for a modification of child support and alimony.

If the court, after entertaining a petition for modification of support, either upward or downward, finds that there was a change in circumstances, or the financial position of either party has changed, the court can enter an order, retroactive to the date of filing the petition, granting the modification.

Often times it takes a considerable amount of time to have a matter scheduled for hearing before the court. The length of time varies between the particular judge and the courthouse in which the petition is pending.
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This is the rational behind the rule that petitions , if granted, are retroactive back to the date of filing. There is one important exception to this rule. If a parent seeks an upward modification of child support when the obligor is not exercising the agreed upon time sharing, the modification of that particular support obligation is retroactive to the date when the obligor first stopped adhering to the agreed upon time sharing schedule.

Terrell Owens, a well known player in the NFL
, was recently seeking a reduction of his child support obligations. His claim was based upon his current state of financial affairs. His efforts to reduce his support obligations would most likely have been successful, but for the fact that he most recently signed a new contract with the Seattle Seahawks for a reported sum of $1,000,000.00.

The case of Terrell Owens illustrates the point well. In order to obtain financial relief, there must be a certain degree of permanency in the change of one’s financial picture, not merely a temporary one.

If you have circumstances that you believe would warrant either an increase or decrease in your support obligations, you can call the law office of Alan R. Burton anytime. With over thirty years of experience in family law matters, Mr. Burton is well qualified to assist you with your questions. He maintains offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Feel free to call him today. He will be available to discuss your case.

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The payment and collection of child support in Florida as well as around the country is not always an easy process. Its surprising to see all the stories in the media today, which deal with individuals in the “public eye” who are not paying their child support.

For example, the gold medal champion, Gabby Douglas, made a recent announcement at the Olympics, that her father was a “deadbeat dad”,who neglected his responsibilities. This story was recently reported in the New York Post.

This is just one of the many stories I have come across this week, all of which deal with either celebrities or prominent sports figures who, for one reason or another, seem intent on neglecting their most important resources…their children.
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Former NFL star Warren Sapp reportedly filed bankruptcy recently, where it was disclosed by Mail Online that he owed substantial child support to four different women.

We are all familiar with the Michael Jackson story, but are not as familiar with all of the collateral stories, until now. Randy Jackson is embroiled in litigation with his family over the Michael Jackson estate. It may not be a coincident that he allegedly owes over $500,000.00 in back child support.

These figures obviously represent the accumulation of child support arrears, over an extended period of time. If you are the recipient of child support, the lesson to be learned here is to act fast. Don’t sit back waiting for a miracle……be proactive, and “nip the problem in the bud” before it becomes an impossible situation to ever rectify.

As an attorney with an active divorce practice in Boca Raton, Florida, and all surrounding areas, including Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, with over thirty years of experience, I can implement a strategy for collecting child support payments which are due and collecting child support arrears.

Don’t let this problem escalate to astronomical numbers and act today!

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Over the years, I have had the opportunity to discuss child support issues with many parents. A frequent question that often arises is whether one parent has the right to waive the receipt of child support from the other parent?

The answer to this question is simple, NO! There are scores of cases in Florida which clearly state that the entitlement to child support is a right that belongs to the child, not to the parent, and the parent has absolutely no right to waive receipt of those funds.

What about the situation when a father proclaims his desire not to have any part in the child’s life, in exchange for a release of his child support obligation. Will this work to release the father from his obligation? Again, the same answer, NO.

I recently read an article dealing with individuals in the “public eye,” which dealt with this very issue of waiving the obligation to pay child support, and I find it contrary to law. This of course would be the story of Kate and Jon, which is all over the internet. Kate has publicly indicated that she has released Jon from his child support obligation. It was reported in a story in the Star magazine. There will be more to this story in the future. Most likely an agreement is in place for a temporary abatement of support, but certainly not the total eradication of support for all those kids. Stay tuned.

The payment of child support is not discretionary, it is mandatory. The payment of child support is a joint obligation of both parents. The Florida Child Support Guidelines are based upon this concept, so that each parent bears their proportionate share of the expense to raise their children.

Further information on this subject, as well as on other issues, can be found on my website at www.alanburtonlaw.com. With over 30 years of experience, I am well qualified to answer and address any and all of your concerns with family law issues of any kind, including divorce, annulment, paternity and child support issues.

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Child support is designed to cover the basic necessities of life for a minor child, such as food, clothing and shelter.

Every state has “Child Support Guidelines in place, and Florida is not excluded. Florida Statute 61.30 deals with the support of minor children, and includes the child support guidelines adopted by the Florida legislature.

A compilation of various statistics regarding child support was recently reported in an article found at Ebony.com. As an example, the story indicates that child support is paid primarily by men, 85% to be precise. This is indicative of the mother generally being responsible for raising the children.

There are a host of penalties that one could suffer by not paying child support, including wage garnishments, seizures of property, loss of driving privileges, and jail time.

Take a moment to check out the article, with its other statistical information. It i informative.

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Is anyone exempt from paying child support? The answer is clearly NO. Each parent has a responsibility to support their children, not just one parent.1380007_one_dollar.jpg

This is even true if one parent is wealthy, and the other parent is down and out. Remember the television show, Jon & Kate plus 8? This situation exemplifies the example that both parents owe a duty of support.

In a recent news story published in “RealityTea” about child support, Jon Gosselin confessed that he was having difficulty sustaining himself, let alone all of his children.

Keep following this story. Mr. Gosselin will soon learn that regardless of the fact that his ex-wife has money or not, he has a responsibility to his children as well. Remember, “it takes two to tango.”

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Child support payments for a child in Florida is an extremely protected right. The state of Florida has imposed significant penalties against those who choose not to pay child support, including the loss of driving privileges, the loss of professional and other business licenses, and the loss of freedom..

Prior to the imposition of penalties for non payment of child support, the court must conduct an evidentiary hearing, and provide the non paying parent with an opportunity to explain why the support is not being paid. If the court determines that the non payment has in fact been willful, the parent will be found in contempt, and the next step for the court to consider becomes the penalties to be imposed.

If a determination is made by the court that the non paying parent has either cash or other assets available to pay towards the support owed, that then becomes the “purge payment”. The purge payment is the amount necessary to be released from jail, if the judge determines that is the appropriate sanction.

Loss of driving privileges is also possible, until such time as child support becomes current.

An experienced divorce lawyer, who frequently deals with child support, can work with you on these most important issues. It is often times best to deal with non payment of child support issues early on as these matters tend to “snowball” rapidly.

Florida Statute 61.30 governs the provisions and amounts of child support to be paid, based upon the combined earnings of the parents.

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The payment and collection of child support in the state of Florida often times can become a frustrating process. On the surface, the receipt of child support payments should be a straightforward matter.

The most effective remedy for the collection of child support is to invoke the contempt powers of the court. What exactly do we mean by invoking this process in the court system?

Initially there must be a court order which directs the obligor to pay a certain amount of child support, usually on a monthly basis. If the support payments become delinquent, the recipient has the right to bring the obligor (payor) before the judge, and to seek incarceration.

Having someone put in jail for non payment of support is not the easiest thing to do. First, the recipient of the child support, or alimony, must first prove to the court that the payor had the present ability to pay the court ordered support, and that the payor willfully refused to pay his child support or alimony.

Once this step is proven, you then need to demonstrate to the court that the person responsible for the payment of child support or alimony has the ability to either pay the full amount of the delinquency or a portion thereof. Once that amount has been established, it becomes the “purge” payment, and the payor can be sent off to jail until he pays the purge amount.

More often than not, the judge will usually give the payor a few days or up to a week to pay the purge amount, and if it isn’t paid within the required time, then jail would be appropriate.

The payor would remain in jail until such time as the purge is paid.

A simple straightforward analysis of this process is found in the case of Ramirez v. Ramirez, 4D11-3818 (April 4, 2012).