Are There any Valid Reasons for Failing to Pay Child Support?
Dividing assets, determining whether a party should pay alimony, and deciding who gets the family home can make the divorce process both complicated and emotional. Unfortunately, these issues are only compounded when a couple is unable to come to an agreement about child custody, or when one party refuses or is unable to pay child support. Although there are a number of legal reasons for failing to pay child support, there are many more invalid reasons, so if you are unable to pay child support or if you ex-spouse is refusing to pay as ordered, it is critical to speak with an experienced child support attorney who can explain your parental rights and obligations and advise you going forward.
The Importance of Paying Child Support
When a couple gets divorced in Florida, the non-custodial parent will typically be required to pay child support to the custodial parent, who is granted a larger portion of time-sharing or parental responsibility. The exact amount that a parent must pay in child support is determined using the Income Shares Model, which requires courts to take a series of factors into account, including salary and how many children a person has. In most cases, those who are ordered to pay child support must do so or they risk serious penalties, including fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time. In many cases, courts also have discretion to order that payments be withheld directly from a person’s paycheck.
What to do When You Can’t Pay Child Support
It is extremely difficult to avoid paying child support, but it isn’t impossible, as courts permit parents to avoid paying support when:
- Both of a child’s parents agree that neither will be required to pay or accept child support;
- A significant change in circumstances has occurred, such as a job loss, imprisonment, a child turns 18 years old, the custodial parent passes away, or there is a major change in custody; or
- A parent has had his or her parental rights terminated or the child is adopted.
A parent is only permitted to stop paying child support in these specific circumstances. Otherwise, he or she risks being penalized by the court, so if you recently lost your job or have undergone another significant life change, you should speak with an attorney about petitioning the court for a modification of your child support order, as this is the best way to avoid fines, wage garnishment, and license suspension.
Call an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Child Support Attorney About Your Case Today
If you are unable to meet your child support obligations or your ex-spouse is refusing to pay child support as ordered by the court, you need the advice of an experienced family law attorney who can explain your legal options. To speak with an attorney about your own support-related questions or concerns, please call dedicated and compassionate Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591. And remember, initial consultations are conducted free of charge!