Florida Child Support Myths
Even though a lot of people pay or receive child support in Florida, there are still a lot of misconceptions about these kinds of payments. These myths can cloud the topic and make it difficult for separating or divorcing parents to get a handle on what their financial obligations towards their children will be upon divorce. We’ve included a few of the most common misconceptions regarding child support in Florida.
Myth 1: Failing to Pay Child Support Can Result in a Loss of Custody
When people think about the consequences of failing to pay child support, they often assume that doing so comes with a corresponding loss of visitation rights. This, however, isn’t the case. Parental rights to visitation don’t hinge on child support obligations, so just because a parent misses one or more payments doesn’t mean that he or she can’t see the child anymore. There are, however, other serious consequences for failing to pay child support, like fines, wage garnishment, contempt of court proceedings, and even jail time.
Myth 2: Child Support Obligations Automatically Pause During Periods of Unemployment
While it may seem logical to think that when a parent loses his or her job, then that person isn’t required to pay child support, this actually isn’t the case. A parent’s obligation to pay child support doesn’t go away on its own. If the paying parent loses his or her job then it is that person’s responsibility to seek a modification of the child support order. When faced with these petitions, courts have a few different options, including:
- Temporarily pausing the child support obligation while the paying parent looks for work;
- Temporarily reducing the amount of child support owed; or
- Declining to modify the order.
When filing this petition, a parent will need clear evidence of a current inability to make payments, or risk facing sanctions from the court.
Myth 3: Child Support Automatically Ends when a Child Turns 18
Child support doesn’t actually end until the child in question graduates high school, so even if he or she turns 18 years old, that child will still be entitled to financial support until he or she turns 19 or graduates, whichever comes first. Similarly, if a parent missed earlier child support payments and has yet to pay them back, those payments won’t disappear just because a child turns 18, as the paying parent will still owe those payments. It’s also possible that a child support obligation will never end. This could be the case if a child is disabled and unable to be financially self-sustaining. In these situations, a parent ordered to pay child support could be required to continue doing so well into the child’s adulthood.
Do You Have Questions About Child Support?
If you have a question concerning your legal obligation to pay child support, or your former spouse is refusing to make regular payments, we want to hear from you. By scheduling a consultation with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., we can help resolve your questions and concerns as soon as possible. Call us at 954-945-7591 to get started today.