Articles Tagged with Florida child support

Published on:

Child support obligations, on the one hand, and the failure to fulfill them, on the other, are among the biggest sources of conflict and resentment among divorced couples. Florida has laws to protect the rights of the parent ordered to pay child support and the one who receives child support payments on behalf of the children. The laws surrounding the enforcement of child support orders and the measures that Florida family courts can take to collect late child support payments are popularly known as the Deadbeat Dad Law, although this is something of a misnomer. First, not all parents who are required to pay child support are men. Second, not everyone who falls behind on child support payments does so as a means of intentionally evading parental responsibility. Except in the direst financial circumstances, Florida courts hold parents to the responsibility to provide financial support for their biological and adopted children. Thus, it is much easier to fall behind on child support obligations than it is for a court to absolve you of responsibility for them.

The Lengths to Which Courts can Go to Collect Child Support Payments

The court system can go to great lengths to collect overdue child support payments. These are some of the ways that courts can take money from you and apply it to child support if you do not pay:

  • Garnishing wages
  • Seeking bank accounts
  • Selling assets from your estate (even death cannot get you out of the obligation to pay child support)
  • Additionally, the court can impose the following non-financial punishments for failure to pay child support:
  • Contempt of court
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Suspension of passport

Continue reading

Published on:

The statistic that half of Americans could not come up with $400 in an emergency without borrowing is certainly alarming, but it is hardly surprising. Debt and financial hardship are huge problems in the United States. For many Americans, every paycheck means picking and choosing which bills to pay on time this pay period. It is easier to get relief from some debts than others. Many people see bankruptcy as their only option to start their financial situations over with a clean slate, but bankruptcy does not erase all your financial obligations. One financial obligation you are still responsible for, even if you file for bankruptcy, is child support.

What You do and do Not Owe After Filing for Bankruptcy in Florida

Bankruptcy can free you from many of your debts. Debts that are “discharged” during bankruptcy are no longer your responsibility to pay. It does not, however, free you of all your financial obligations. With car loans and home mortgage loans, the car or house is collateral, meaning the lender can repossess it if you do not pay. If you declare bankruptcy, the lender can no longer pursue you for payments, but they can take back your car or house that is securing the loan.

Some debts, however, are non-dischargeable, which means that you still owe them even if you declare bankruptcy. Many non-dischargeable debts are obligations imposed on the debtor by a ruling in court. The following debts are non-dischargeable according to Florida bankruptcy laws: Continue reading

Published on:

Child support is supposed to cover a child’s basic needs, such as food and shelter. What about educational expenses, though? Education is hardly a luxury; school attendance has been mandatory for American children for well over a century. Providing for a child’s education is an important aspect of parenting. Thus, Florida parenting plans include provisions about which parent is responsible for making various decisions related to the children’s education. What happens when parents divorce while their children are enrolled in private school?

The Children’s Best Interest

Every question related to a parenting plan is, at its core, about the best interest of the children.  Education is one aspect of child-rearing about which parents are likely to have strong opinions.  Some parents feel that sending children to a private school, even if it requires great financial sacrifice on the parents’ part, is the only way to ensure that the children study in a safe environment where teachers are genuinely invested in the children’s success. Others feel that private school tuition is an unnecessary expense and that parents could help their children more simply by saving money to help them with college tuition and other expenses related to early adulthood. The education issue is a perfect example of why parenting plans are individualized and not one size fits all. Continue reading

Published on:

For some people, complaining about money is a hobby, and some even elevate it to the status of a high art. While they might get a kick out of grousing about the prices of items on restaurant menus or in the supermarket, it is understood that they ultimately have a choice about which items they buy. What really ruffles people’s feathers are fees that they are legally required to pay.  Even generally cheerful people grumble about taxes and parking tickets. Child support is another financial obligation that people often feel is imposed on them against their will. It is not hard to find divorced parents who, given the opportunity, will go on at length about how much better their financial situation would be if they did not have to pay child support. Even people who would never complain out loud might secretly wish that there were a way to be legally exempt from paying child support. In fact, there are several ways, but most of them involve circumstances you would not wish for yourself.

The Child Support That Most People Have to Pay

Florida has standard child support guidelines. The main criteria determining how much you must pay are your net income and the number of children you must support. Judges usually follow the child support guidelines closely. In fact, when a judge orders a child support amount that differs from the amount determined by the guidelines by more than 5%, the judge must file a written statement explaining why he or she decided on this new amount. Continue reading

Published on:

Florida’s tradition of family law acknowledges that there is more than one way to be a father.  The child’s biological father is not necessarily the child’s legal father. In fact, when establishing paternity, the courts do not always order DNA paternity tests. Sometimes a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity is all you need. Things get more complicated when it comes to matters of child support, however. Is the biological father always the one who should pay child support for the child? The answer, according to Florida case law, is that it depends, and not always in the ways you would expect. The decision in the Parker v. Parker case will surprise many people, but the reasons behind the decision reveal a lot about what it means to be a father in Florida.

The Facts of the Parker v. Parker Case

Parker v. Parker made news as the case in which a Florida court ordered a man to continue to pay child support for his ex-wife’s son even after a DNA test proved that he was not the child’s biological father.  When Richard Parker and his wife Margaret initiated their divorce, their son was more than a year old. The court ordered Richard to pay $1,200 per month in child support.  Richard fell behind on the child support payments, and the court tried to enforce payment of them. Richard responded by expressing doubt that he was the child’s biological father, as Margaret had been unfaithful to him during the marriage.  Even after the family underwent DNA testing, and the results showed the Richard was not the biological father, the court required him to continue paying child support. Why would a court order a man to pay child support for a child of whom he was not the biological father and whom he did not adopt? Continue reading

Published on:

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.