Articles Posted in Child Support

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With the recent breach and data leak regarding approximately 32 million subscribers to the “married dating” website Ashley Madison, many married couples have likely been facing difficult situations as news of possible infidelity became exposed. It would not be surprising, in fact, if numerous couples end up in divorce court over a leaked Ashley Madison subscription. This leads to the common question: What role, if any, does a spouse’s adulterous behavior play in a subsequent divorce case?

Questions of Fault

In Florida, you must file for divorce on a “no-fault” basis, which means that no specific reason–such as adultery–can be given for the divorce. Insteading of blaming one spouse, all divorces are based on the assertion that the marriage is irretrievably broken. For this reason, adultery has no effect specifically on basic questions of fault in a divorce.


Though adultery cannot be considered for fault purposes, it can be considered when the family court is making other determinations, such as whether to award alimony. However, the court cannot award alimony simply as a punishment for a cheating spouse. Instead, the court must further find that the adultery affected the non-cheating spouse’s need for financial support.

Child Custody Determinations

In addition to alimony determinations, a court may consider infidelity as a factor in deciding how to award physical and legal custody. For example, courts regularly examine the moral fitness of each parent when deciding what type of custody arrangement will be in the best interests of the child. Adultery, especially flagrant or particularly scandalous behavior, may lead the court to doubt the moral fitness of the spouse who cheated and may influence a decision to limit custody or timesharing if the court believes the affair had an adverse effect on the child’s well-being.

Division of Property

Florida law requires division of marital property to be equitable and fair based on the particular circumstances of the spouses. If the court finds that the unfaithful spouse spent marital assets on an affair that otherwise would have been divided, the court can award the other spouse more assets and property. Similarly, if the cheating spouse incurred debts to pay for an affair, the court may find that those debts are the sole responsibility of that spouse instead of dividing the debt balances between the two parties.

Call a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for Help

As you can see, adultery can play a role in a divorce case. If you suspect that your spouse has been unfaithful or if your spouse has accused you of adultery, it may cause a number of potential complications throughout the divorce process. It is important that you have the representation of an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer and keep your lawyer fully informed regarding any possible issues or accusations that may arise during your divorce. Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton understands how to face such issues head-on with your best interests in mind. Call our office today at 954-229-1660 to talk about your case for free.

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Situations change and individuals can go through unexpected periods of financial downturn. Losing your job, having a medical emergency in your household, and many other similar events can make it difficult to cover your bills. In such times, you may also struggle to make your court-ordered child support payments.

The court orders a certain amount of child support based on your situation at the time of the ruling, and the courts do not attempt to anticipate your future financial circumstances. Therefore, if you lose income or your other expenses increase, it is understandable that paying child support may become challenging or even impossible in the future. Unfortunately, failing to pay child support can have serious consequences in Florida, but you have legal options to try to make your child support more manageable to avoid these consequences.

Possible Actions Against You

The Florida Department of Revenue has a Child Support Enforcement team that can take various actions if you are not making your payments on time. This department can take the following actions against you:

  • Wage or bank account garnishments
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Suspension of a professional or business license
  • Interception of your tax refund
  • Interception of any lottery winnings over $600
  • Withholding of a certain amount from worker’s compensation or unemployment benefits
  • Liens on your personal property
  • Reporting the late payments to your credit bureau
  • Disallowing you from receiving a passport
  • Requesting that the civil court enforces the order and hold you in contempt if you do not comply
  • Seeking assistance from the Office of the Inspector General to impose fines and/or jail time

Child Support Modifications

Fortunately, you have other options when you cannot pay your child support than simply facing the above consequences. If you have had a substantial change in circumstances, Florida law allows you to petition to court to modify the amount of support ordered in light of the change. This will require you and the other parent to go back into court, however, and the other parent will have the opportunity to argue that the support should not be lowered. Additionally, you should note that, if you have quit your job or are underemployed by your own choice, the court will likely not approve a modification. However, if your new circumstances are beyond your control, you will likely be eligible for a modification so that you can resume making payments.

Call an Experienced Boca Raton Child Support Attorney to Discuss Your Situation

If you realize that you cannot afford to pay your full child support payments, you should never simply stop paying and ignore the situation, as that can result in serious, often irreversible consequences. Instead, your first call should be to a qualified family lawyer who can help you explore your options for making your payments more manageable. Attorney Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton understands Florida laws and how to best apply them to your situation to protect your best interests. Please call our office for assistance at 954-229-1660 to learn how we can assist you.

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Many people who must pay child support mistakenly believe that their payments should only ever be used to pay for a child’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Though child support laws intend for the support payments to contribute to basic necessities, the Florida family courts have busy schedules and do not generally have the time to monitor how parents are spending their child support payments. Therefore, in reality, child support funds may go toward supporting many more aspects of a child’s life.

It is generally up the custodial parent receiving the child support how to best put the child support payments to use. Some parents may use these funds specifically for the needs of the child, while others may combine child support payments with household earnings in order to pay rent, utilities, or make purchases for the entire family. The following are common parts of a child’s life that child support may cover.


Child support payments may go toward tuition, uniforms, or other costs. Even if the child attends public school, support payments may help cover lunch money, books, school supplies, and more.


Children need to be transported to school, activities, visits with the non-custodial parent, and other appointments in a safe and secure manner. Therefore, a parent may use child support to cover fuel, car insurance, car maintenance, and more.


If neither parent is able to stay home with the child on a regular basis, it makes sense that child support would contribute toward the costs of daycare centers, babysitters, nannies, or other childcare arrangements.

Medical expenses

Child support is often used to pay for any out-of-pocket medical expenses including deductibles, co-pays, special medications or treatments, or any bills that exceed the limits of insurance coverage.


Parents often use child support to pay for technology and activities that are age-appropriate for the child’s entertainment. These may include iPods, computers, gaming consoles, or trips to the amusement park or a movie theater.

Extracurricular Activities

The costs of sports programs, camps and other activities are generally shared between parents in Florida. The parents must usually come to an agreement on how these extra costs will be handled as part of their parenting plan. If they cannot reach an agreement, a family court may order each parent to pay a certain percentage.

The only time a custodial parent’s use of child support may come into question is if the other parent suspects the child’s basic needs are being neglected or that the receiving parent is engaging in some type of criminal or wrongful activity with the child support funds. If a parent suspects that any such situation is occurring, he or she may request that a court or child support agency review how the child support was being used and monitor future use of the funds. Misuse of funds may lead to a modification of a child support order or of child custody arrangements.

If you have any questions regarding child support or any other family law issues, please call the Boca Raton office of experienced family law attorney Alan R. Burton for assistance today.

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Florida child support laws include a specific formula by which to calculate child support orders. The formula takes into account factors such as the number of children at issue, each parent’s income, expenses, costs of child care, costs of the child’s healthcare, any special needs of a child, and more. These calculations are meant to cover the basic necessities of the child. Generally, a court is expected to follow the guidelines for child support, however the court does have a limited amount of discretion to stray from the guidelines if it finds the circumstances justify such a decision. In most situations, however, the court may only deviate from the set formula by five percent.

Good Fortune Child Support

There are some circumstances under which a court may divert more substantially from the child support formulas and order child support amounts that cover more than just a child’s basic needs. This is referred to in Florida as “good fortune” child support, and is often awarded in cases in which one parent is particularly affluent. Courts have determined that children of such parents deserve to benefit from that parent’s wealth and success, especially since they would enjoy such benefits if the parents were married.

Benefits from a wealthy parent may include private education, travel opportunities, amenities, or other special activities that are above and beyond basic necessities. Additionally, higher child support payments may help establish savings and trusts for the children of a wealthy parent, even if they reside primarily with the other parent. However, there are limitations to good fortune child support awards. A court will limit its order to an amount that supports an appropriate lifestyle for the child, and will not require a wealthy parent pay an unnecessarily excessive amount simply because they can. For example, if a child already has all of his or her special expenses adequately covered, a court will not continue to increase the child support just because a parent’s wealth increases.

The following is an example of a case in which a court may be warranted in ordering good fortune child support. Tramar Lacel Dillard is a popular rapper commonly known as “Flo Rida,” and he has an estimated net worth of $30 million. Recently, model Natasha Georgette Williams established via a court ordered paternity test that Flo Rida is the father of her newborn son. Williams has filed suit in Florida requesting good fortune child support based on the rapper’s significant net worth and success. The court has yet to rule on that request, however, though it seems like it may be an appropriate case for such support.

Contact a Boca Raton Child Support Attorney for Assistance

If you are seeking good fortune child support for your child or are facing any other type of child support determination, it is imperative to have a family law attorney handling your case who understands how child support laws in Florida operate. If you have any family law matter, please do not hesitate to call experienced lawyer Alan R. Burton at (954) 229-1660 or (954) 295-9222 today for assistance.

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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.
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.
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 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.