In Florida divorce proceedings that involve children, family court uses a standard formula to determine child support, with the expectation that both parents are going to adhere to the schedule of payments. No parent should have to shoulder an unreasonable financial obligation and each has the right to request a modification of terms if his or her financial situation changes. Even so, more than half are not paying the full child support they owe, according to the last U.S. Census Report.
Data from the 2012 Current Population Survey shows the following:
- The average support payment was $500 per month
- Only 43.4 percent of custodial parents received the full amount
- Nearly 25 percent received no payments
- Unpaid child support totaled $14 billion
Divorced parents who were younger and less educated were less likely to make scheduled payments. Non-custodial parents who had no contact with the child were among the worst offenders, with only 30 percent meeting their child support obligations.
If your ex is not making full, timely support payments, you should consult a reputable family law attorney about your rights. A skilled lawyer can advise you about effective strategies for collecting the child support you are owed, whether this entails modifying the agreement or requesting a court intervention. In cases where the noncustodial parent is willfully withholding child support or misrepresenting financial circumstances to avoid paying, the court may issue a contempt order. The Florida Department of Revenue has the authority to take the amount owed from wages or income tax refunds, and they can also take punitive actions such as suspending a driver’s license or denying a passport renewal.
Whenever possible, Florida family courts want both parents to maintain emotional ties and fulfill their financial responsibilities to their child after a divorce. A skilled family law attorney can help you meet these goals while protecting the legal rights of your family.