Recently in Civil contempt Category

August 1, 2012

Not paying child support may be hazardous to your freedom

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.

January 5, 2011

Civil contempt in divorce proceedings for non payment of child support

sad boy desktop.jpgFailing to pay a court ordered child support obligation can land the non complying parent in jail. However, there are certain procedures that must be followed before incarceration can occur.

An order of civil contempt for failure to pay child support requires findings of wilful failure to pay ordered amounts. If incarceration is to be orderd as a result of finding wilful contempt, the court must then make the affirmative finding that the contemnor possessses the present ability to comply with the purge. Miller v. Murrah, 14 So.3d 1019 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009); Brown v. Brown, 658 So.2d 627 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995).

The key too these cases requires that an order be in writing, and that these findings must be clearly set forth in the order. Alan R. Burton, Esq. is well qualified to assist you in preparation of appropriate orders for this purpose.

Todd Alan Grant was successful in securing his release from custody after having been jailed for non-payment of support. In his case, there was never a written order entered, and he was promptly released. Grant v. Department of Revenue on behalf of Heather R. Kopp, 27 So.3d 190 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010).

Rafael Carbonell had much the same luck as Mr. Grant. He was also incarcerated for non-payment of support, but upon filing an appeal, he was also promptly released. The order which had him jailed failed to make the specific affirmative finding that he had the present ability to comply with the purge amount as set by the court. Carbonell v. Department of Revenue on Behalf of Deydry Capella, 30 So.3d 664 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010).

If in fact there is wilful noncompliance with a child support order, it is incumbent upon the trial judge to be meticulous in his or her findings. The order directing incarceration must be carefully drafted if it is to withstand any subsequent attack.