Florida Child Support Law

Attorney Howard Iken discusses Florida child support laws



Overview of Child Support

 

When people think about divorces, one of the most common elements people think about is child support. This is understandable because, under Florida law, any divorcing couple that has at least one minor child in common must pay child support. Most divorcing couples in Florida know and understand this general principle; however, exactly how a court goes about calculating child support in Florida is less known. Some divorcing parents may feel upset to learn, for instance, that they are being ordered to pay more support for one child than a coworker or friend was ordered to pay for two or three children.

It might surprise some to learn that the calculation of a child support order is governed entirely by statute. Under the law, the judge actually has very little discretion in setting the amount of support; when the judge does deviate, he or she must make specific findings. Understanding the steps that go into the calculation of child support in any given case can help parents involved in a divorce case estimate the amount of support the court will order. This can take some of the confusion away from a divorce and help the parties budget better.


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How Child Support is Calculated – An Overview

 

Many attorneys and individuals will tell you the calculation of child support is cut and dried.  True, yet not quite true. There are many twists, turns, and strategic considerations in a support case. The basic method of determining support is to take each parent’s net income and compare them to the Guidelines Table contained in Florida chapter 61.  One frequent misconception is that household expenses matter when calculating child support. In fact, the only thing that matters is your gross income – less a very short list of valid deductions. That list includes things such as taxes, personal health insurance, and other child support judgments.

The area where child support calculation gets tricky is the interaction with the number of overnights each parent has with their child.  If either parent has the child (or children) more than 20% of the annual overnights, the child support calculation changes to an alternate formula. That alternate formula substantially reduces the total support. Also, each additional overnight over the initial 20% reduces child support by a calculated amount.  That one fact cases a great deal of fighting between parents over the division of overnights with the children.




Florida Child Support Guidelines

 

While there are several methods by which child support obligations can be calculated, Florida utilizes the “income shares” model. This model assumes that, if the parents remained married, they would use their combined income to raise their children. Therefore, this model takes into account the income of both parents in calculating the obligation amount. That total support amount is then divided between the divorcing parents, so that each parent is responsible for a portion of the total support obligation.

 

The Florida Child Support Guidelines are found at Florida Statute 61.30. This statute sets forth the manner in which child support obligation amounts are to be calculated. If a court follows the guidelines, the child support obligation it arrives at is considered a presumptive amount. This means that courts assume that a child support obligation arrived at through following the guidelines is an appropriate child support obligation amount, and any party that disagrees must present specific facts showing that the obligation amount is not appropriate.

 

The Guidelines allow a judge to deviate from the presumed amount up to 5% in either direction. For example, suppose that two parents are divorcing and the Guidelines provide for a presumptive child support obligation amount of $500.00. Under the Guidelines, the court can enter an obligation amount as low as $475.00 and as high as $525.00. If the court wants to enter an order for an amount that is greater than a 5% difference from the presumptive amount, it must make written findings that set forth why the court believes the presumptive amount is not appropriate. In the example above, if the court wanted to enter an obligation in the amount of $600.00, it would need to make specific written findings that detail why the court felt $600.00 was an appropriate obligation and why $500.00 (the presumptive amount) was not appropriate.

 

Calculation of Gross Income of the Parties

 

The calculation of a child support obligation amount begins with each party completing financial affidavits concerning their individual incomes. These affidavits are then exchanged by the parties, so that each parent knows what the other parent is claiming as income. When a party claims annual income less than $50,000.00, Form 902(b) is used to complete the financial affidavit. If a party claims annual income of $50,000.00 or more, then that party completes Form 902(c).

 

Both forms contain instructions telling each party how to complete the form, including what sort of income to include and what deductions may be claimed. For instance, the forms tell the parties to calculate their “gross” or “pre-tax” income by adding together that party’s:

 

·      Salary and wages;

·      Overtime wages;

·      Bonuses, commissions, allowances, tips;

·      Business income, which includes money received from self-employment, a partnership, a corporation, or independent contracts;

·      Disability benefits;

·      Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements;

·      Reemployment assistance;

·      Unemployment benefits;

·      Social Security benefits;

·      Payments from a pension, retirement plan, or annuity;

·      Interest and dividends;

·      Rental income;

·      Income from royalties, trusts, or estates; and

·      Gains derived from dealings with property.

 

This rather expansive definition of “income” is meant to capture most sources of income.

 

Some less-than-honest parents may think they can lower or eliminate their child support obligation altogether by purposely either lowering their income (taking a pay cut, for instance) or by voluntarily quitting their job. The Guidelines anticipated that some parents might try to do this, and so they allow the court to “impute” income to the underemployed or unemployed spouse. In doing so, the Guidelines instruct the court to treat the underemployed or unemployed spouse as if he or she had a full-time job and was earning a full-time wage. Before a court can do this, the court must find that the underemployment or unemployment is due to a voluntary choice of that parent. In other words, the underemployment or unemployment cannot be the result of:

 

·      A layoff;

·      A department- or company-wide reduction of hours; or

·      Being terminated or let go (unless due to the deliberate, bad behavior of the parent).

 

In addition, the court can impute income if one parent refuses to fill out a financial affidavit. The Guidelines provide very specific instructions to the court regarding how to impute income to a party.

 

Calculation of Net Income of the Parties

       

Once the parties have calculated their gross income, the parties are instructed to deduct certain expenses from their income. The resulting figure (gross income minus permitted deductions) results in a figure known as net income. This net income figure is the figure that will be used to calculate the child support obligation amount. Therefore, the more deductions a parent can claim, the lower that parent’s child support obligation.

Parents are permitted to deduct the following expenses from their gross income:

 

·      Amounts paid for federal, state, or local taxes;

·      Federal insurance contributions or self-employment taxes;

·      Mandatory union dues;

·      Mandatory retirement contributions;

·      Health insurance premiums for persons other than the children;

·      Child support obligations for other children; and

·      Alimony payments.

 

Using the Guidelines Worksheet

 

By now, each party has calculated his or her gross income and has taken away permissible deductions to arrive at a net income figure. The parents’ individual net income figures are combined. The court then consults the Guidelines to determine the obligation amount. In order to do this, the court consults the grid contained in the Guidelines. The court finds the cell that corresponds to the combined net income of the parents and the number of children.

 

For instance, suppose Ted and Amanda completed their affidavits and found they had a combined net income of $3,500.00. With two children, the Guidelines state that the presumptive child support obligation amount is $1,149.00.  If the combined income of Ted and Amanda was only $2,000.00, the child support obligation would decrease to $686.00. However, suppose that Ted and Amanda have a combined net income of $7,000.00 but have only one child. In such a circumstance, the child support obligation would be $1,212.00.

 

The final step of the worksheet requires that the total child support obligation amount be divided between the parties according to their net incomes. To do this, the court will take the total net income of the parties and divide each individual parent’s net income by the total net income. The resulting percentage will then be multiplied by the total child support obligation. For instance, suppose that Ted had net income of $2,000.00 and Amanda had net income of $1,500.00.  As noted above, the presumptive child support obligation is $1,149.00.  To calculate Ted’s part of this obligation, the court would take Ted’s income of $2,000.00 and divide it by the total net income figure of $3,500.00.  This yields a result of 0.571, or 57.1%.  This is then multiplied by the total support obligation amount of $1,149.00. Ted’s portion of the obligation for which he is responsible is $656.57. A similar process would be used to determine Amanda’s precise obligation.

 

It is assumed that the parent with whom the child predominantly resides pays his or her share; thus, the other parent would pay the first parent that portion of the child support obligation that he or she owes. For example, suppose a simple situation in which the total child support obligation is $100.00, split evenly between Ted and Amanda. Suppose further that the child resides primarily with Amanda. Ted will have to pay Amanda $50.00 for child support, but it is assumed that Amanda pays her $50.00 obligation while the child is residing with her. In other words, Amanda would not have to pay Ted $50.00 in child support.

 

Dividing Other Expenses

       

Expenses such as tuition and educational expenses, health care deductibles, and child care expenses can be split between the parties in a similar manner as well. However, sometimes it makes sense for one party to be responsible for a certain expense. For example, suppose Ted’s employer offers health insurance, and the healthcare premium for Ted and his child would be considerably low. In such an instance, the parties can agree to split expenses in some other way. For instance, Ted may agree to cover the health insurance premiums for the child in exchange for Amanda paying the costs of day care.

 

But if the parties cannot agree as to the division or sharing of expenses, the court can divide these expenses between the parties using the same formula used to determine the share of the child support obligation for which each party is responsible. For instance, if the cost of a health care premium for the child is $100.00 per month, the court can assign $57.10 of this obligation to Ted and $42.90 to Amanda.

 

Modification of Child Support Orders

       

Once a child support order has been entered, that obligation continues until the order is modified or until it is terminated on account of the child turning eighteen years old or graduating high school. A modification – or change – of a child support order can be entered by the court if there has been a “substantial and ongoing change in circumstance.” The parent wanting to modify the existing order is responsible for setting forth facts showing that such a change in circumstance exists. Such a change in circumstance can be something such as a parent being laid off or forced to take a lower-paying job, a parent becoming disabled and unable to work, or another sort of change.

 

In order for a court to consider a modification of an existing child support award, the change must be either greater than 15% or $50 of the existing amount (whichever is more).

 

Tax Consequences of Child Support

       

A parent may find themselves ordered to pay both alimony and child support. Unlike periodic alimony payments, which are tax deductible for the obligor spouse and counted as income for the receiving spouse, child support payments are treated differently for tax purposes. Generally speaking, child support payments are not deductible for the paying spouse and are not counted as income for the receiving spouse.

 

At the Law Firm of Ayo and Iken – We Can Help

 

Although child support obligations are governed by statute, Florida Statute 61.30 is complex and contains a number of provisions meant to deal with specific circumstances. Our experienced attorneys can help a parent navigate Florida Statute 61.30 and provide a more accurate estimation of what that parent’s child support obligation will be. The attorney can also ensure the parent’s financial affidavit is completed correctly and that the other parent’s affidavit is likewise completed correctly. Finally, we can examine either parent’s financial situation for a substantial change in circumstance, and can ask the court to enter orders modifying the child support appropriately. While the calculation of child support is not as random or mysterious as some might think, correctly calculating a child support obligation amount is still a complex task.


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I hired Howard Iken as my attorney to handle my divorce case. Not only did he secure a win for me in the eventual divorce trial, he was also successful in having the post divorce trial petitions (4) filed by my ex-husband dismissed. Mr. Iken is very professional and adept at developing strategies that are favorable to his clients. He is organized, thorough, creative and more than willing to go the extra mile. I would highly recommend Mr. Iken’s law firm to anyone seeking legal services.

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  • floridamom

    My ex husband has agreed to turn over custody of our child to me but only if I agree that he doesn’t have to pay child support. If I agree to it, can he still be ordered to pay child support. I am on SSDI and my son receives benefits as well. My ex has my son on medicaid right now due to my son’s major hip problems. Since he is on medicaid, does the state go after him for child support.

    Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      Some judges will not allow a no-child support agreement – and end up ordering support regardless of the text of the agreement. Occasionally some judges will allow it. If you have just signed up for benefits the Florida Dept of Revenue child support enforcement will get involved. If you have been on benefits for a while the DOR may or may not act soon – usually they are very slow.

  • fladad

    As a result of the new 2010 child support guidelines, the 61.30 Florida Statute states:

    (b) The guidelines may provide the basis for proving a substantial change in circumstances upon which a modification of an existing order may be granted. However, the difference between the existing monthly obligation and the amount provided for under the guidelines shall be at least 15 percent or $50, whichever amount is greater, before the court may find that the guidelines provide a substantial change in circumstances.

    I am not sure what this means – my child support amount was set in 2009 – am I eligible for modification under the new guidelines? Does this new law from 2010 constitute a change in circumstance which would trigger modification if the difference is more than 15% or $50? I have my children 38.5% of time. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      That is the way the statute appears to read. However the issue has been fought over in many courts. I have had the experience where a judge ruled there must be other changes (such as income), other than just the change in the statute. But I am sure certain judges will allow a modification. Without knowing more about your situation – I would say it is worth a try.

      • fladad

        I know my ex-wife has had a slight increase in income, but not sure if that in itself would satisfy the $50 or 15% requirement. Not sure I want to roll the dice in front of the judge if he, again, has complete discretion – meaning complete uncertainty for me.

        Thank you very much for your response!

        • HowardIken

          Attorney fees and costs are always something to consider. But if there will not be much of that (or no attorney), a roll of the dice is not much of a risk.

          • fladad

            I appreciate your input, I should certainly look into it. And yes, attorney fees are my greatest concern, considering that the judge could go either way. In my case though, the CS reduction could be very significant under 2010 guidelines, so it is worth looking into. Do you think I should try to find out how my particular judge has ruled on this since 2010?

            Thank you again!

          • HowardIken

            That is a slightly obscure subject and you will need to speak to a lot of different attorneys. If your modification is not supportable, you can always dismiss your modification case immediately after receiving the other side’s financial info.

          • fladad

            I meant I could try to find out how he has ruled since 2010 on whether these new guidelines from 2010 constitute a change of circumstances in itself, as the statute appears to read. Wouldn’t he have to be consistent in the way he rules on that and not change it from case to case? He either allows it or not? Is my logiv wrong? Thank you again.

          • HowardIken

            If you are able to find that out for a certain judge – that would be a good indicator. Trial judges tend to be consistent – but there is no absolute rule on that. Appellate courts are more consistent.

          • fladad

            Great, thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.burt.75 Paul Burt

    Consider, the only definitive federally funded study ever conducted on the subject of child support showed that when employed, men pay between 83 and 91% of all court ordered child support and that they do so without intervention of any kind. But, when these figures became apparent, Wayne Stanton, then head of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in D.C. had the study DISCONTINUED! In fact, Stanton’s office demanded a formal Freedom of Information Act Submission merely to retrieve the study’s data.
    Grasping this, makes it easy to understand the incentive for the State and County Gestapo-like father-hating child support collection tactics; they’re fueled by a ravenous forty+ year pursuit of federal subsidies; it has nothing whatsoever to do with the mythical “best interest of the child“. Quotas the State’s must meet and maintain in their child support collection figures – in order to continue receiving these federal subsidies for their case management and child support collection efforts – are at the heart of the custody disparity and what tax payers remain – for the most part – ignorant of. Not to be lost, we‘re talking about Form 1040 of millions of Americans who unknowingly have supported these cash cows for decades.
    In California alone, we have over 8,000 men paying child support for children that DNA evidence has proven they didn’t father; why? Again, quota! If the Golden State were to emancipate these men from this assigned – not incurred – debt, the State risks losing the $504 million Federal Dollars it is scheduled to receive during the current 2012/2013 fiscal year for its child support collection and case management efforts; this is an annual subsidy, by the way. Not incidentally, these federal funds NEVER make their way into the lives of children of divorce or impoverished kids, instead financing the salaries, medical benefits, paid vacation time, and pensions of those employed by – or retired from – the child support collection industry. In the United States, divorce and custody comprise OVER HALF of all civil litigation, constituting the cash cow of the judiciary, and bringing employment and earnings to a host of public and private officials, including counselors, child support collection agents, mediators, psychologists, law enforcement officers, and countless others in both public and private sectors, all in the name of helping “troubled children”.
    If the court were remotely CLOSE to parity in the granting of primary physical custody, our society – and our children – would be far better off! When more people come to know that in the U.S. virtually every major personal and social pathology can be traced to fatherlessness more than to any other single factor; Violent crime, substance abuse, unwed pregnancy, truancy, suicide, and more, perhaps our society will recover. Until then, know that fatherlessness far surpasses both poverty and race as a predictor of social deviance.

  • What to do….

    My husbands child support order was done when the 3 children were all minors. Now one is 19 and on her own, the second one is 17 and pregnant and will be 18 soon, and the third child is 13. Can he request a modification? And when should that be done.

    Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      I just noticed this old comment. Sorry for the delay. Yes, now is the time to file a modification. The two of you can sign a joint stipulation. You may find it convenient to use an attorney. An attorney could mail it in to the judge for signature.

  • What to do….

    I forgot to add that his ex says she is willing to sign a modification agreement to lower the amount paid to her, I don’t know if there is a form for that, or how do we go about informing the courts.

    thanks again

  • Michael in Milton

    My child support agreement states, I shall pay child support until the minor children reach the age of (18), marry, die, or graduate from high school. My 17 year old daughter has not been in a real high school in 2 years and is now getting ready for her GED. If she gets her GED can I ask the courts to cease her child support payments. Do you feel if any of the following are reached before she is 18 the CD should stop? It shouldn’t be either/or, it should be one or the other correct? Thank you for your time.

    • HowardIken

      Normally you cannot terminate support until the 18th birthday. In your case it definitely would be the 18th birthday.

  • Guest

    My final Judgement states that, “After due consideration of the employment of both parties at this time, the time sharing schedule, and the latest Financial Affidavits filed by the parties, neither the Husband nor the Wife will pay child support to the other”. One year later she has filed for a petition for modifcation of child support. No change “substancial change” has occurred. In her petition she merely states that the child support calculator was not used. Is this something that can modify our Final Judgement?

    • HowardIken

      Normally not. There must be a substantial change of circumstances. You cannot take the same exact situation, recalculate, and modify. That would violate the standards laid out by statute and prior court decisions.

  • TP

    I am currently putting together the documents to request a modification of child support, as well as completing a financial affidavit. Why do you need checking account statements and savings account statements for the last year. Can the amount of your savings and checking affect support modification??

    • HowardIken

      Not directly. But those figures can be used to detect hidden income. Also, that info can be used in a fight for attorney fees. Last – it is required by statute.

  • Th

    I went to court in Florida in1988 for child support in the state of Alabama. I ask for a paternity test and the State of Alabama refused the test, when the child was 3yrs, and it was dismissed without prejudice. The case was then closed by the state of Florida. In 2008 Alabama brought it back up and there was no previous actions taken until 2008. Do they have the right to deny my rights to a paternity test and can it be brought back to court 20 years later, after the child has passed the age of emancipation and is now 27 years old and a grown man? Do I have any rights to fight this and wouldn’t this be a violation of my civil rights? Thanks

    • HowardIken

      If your case was in Florida I would say it is long over – and to forget about it. But I am not admitted to practice in your original state and can not comment on that.

      • Th

        Thanks, but it has been opened and they are enforcing that I pay the child support.

        • HowardIken

          I understand. In Florida you would not be able to go back that far to modify.

          • Th

            So as a father living in Florida, Alabama could not come back 20 years or more later and have Florida enforce child support on this Issue. Do you have a good lawyer you could recommend that would be able to defend me in this case that would not kill my pocket book? Thanks

          • HowardIken

            If you already owe the amount – pursuant to a previous final judgment – the debt is enforceable. But there are many types of defenses. Unfortunately you will need an Alabama attorney. Sorry, no recommendations are available.

  • michael

    hi
    i writing to find if a law was past that state that they can’t suspend my lic for owe just arrears on my child support

    • HowardIken

      No. Sorry. The state is still able to suspend a DL for non-payment of support.

      • michael

        if you no longer owe support because the child turned 18 and all you owe is the arrears amount can they suspend my licence. I do not think i wrote it right earlier. Also can they raise my arrears from one amount too the amount i was paying for support before he turned 18.

        • HowardIken

          If it is the Florida Dept of Revenue Child Support Enforcement you are dealing with, yes – they can still do all of that.

  • Nicole

    I am not married to the father of my child. We have both come to a mutual agreement on child support and I would like to make the agreement legal. How do I get this accomplished prefferably without paying for a lawyer since I’m not in a position to pay one at this time?

    • HowardIken

      You need to file a paternity case in the local court and have a judge sign the agreement. There is no other way to make it enforceable.

  • denise

    My ex husband pays ZERO child support. I make more money than him. I have %70 custody. He earns approx $2000 per month (before taxes and he takes out %10 for his 401K) He pays the children’s insurance (approx $120 per month) I bring home approximately $3900 per month.He does construction “under the table” How does the court “impute income”? for modiification? I have twin 6 year olds.

    • HowardIken

      That is not an automatic process. You must present some proof that would allow the court to impute income. For example, showing his standard of living could not possibly be supported by his documented income.

      • denise

        Thank you. That makes sense. I do have him admitting on video he does side work and I “shouldn’t try to come after the money” and photos of construction debris in his truck…is it all helpful?

        • HowardIken

          Yes. The video would most likely be admissible. Be aware that admission of evidence is a very technical issue. But if you do get everything admitted it would be tremendously valuable.

  • Guest

    why is it when it says applied it doesn’t show in my savings account

  • CSRGPP

    I have a case open with my Ex husband. Its for a dissolutions of Marriage, child support, and custody. Everything was supposed to be a “mutual” agreement until he got up and left the country. He didn’t notify me at all. One day I found out he was in Colombia phone disconnected, left his apartment, quit his job. Now I’m here with no child support, no health insurance for our son and left all responsibilities to me. What can I do at this point. We have a hearing on Sept 26.

    • HowardIken

      You can still go forward with the hearing, get an order, and follow up with an enforcement action. But there is very little chance of recovering money. I assume the state is helping you? They can also file a tax return intercept.

  • elcamino

    Am looking for an attorney who could help me regarding child support that is in arrears. Ex-wife pulled a fast one about 18 years ago. I have supporting documentation showing I was in the home and supporting her and my son upto the age of 9 where at that time she up and took him away with no cause. She applied for and received child support one week after my son was born! She had a PO Box so anything that came regarding child support she hid from me. All I can be told is that the case is to old to investigate, but child support is still after me and I have now lost my license and am not working as I was in a vehicle accident and am going for back surgery next month. Is there anyone out there that can help?

    • HowardIken

      This is a very difficult case. I assume you cannot afford an attorney? Your first option would be to call and apply to legal aid.

  • gopher1

    Does a parent with sole custody (and the other parent has no time sharing rights) relocate a minor child without permission or filing with the court in Florida?

    • HowardIken

      You probably need permission. But under this circumstance permission is likely to happen.

  • Jim

    Hello, I have been divorced for two years, at the time of divorce I agreed to pay child support in excess of the state guidelines. I am financially unable to continue making payments in this amount and would like to know if support modification is an option in my situation. Also is it possible to estimate the attorney fees? Thank You

    • HowardIken

      You normally can modify if your income has changed. We have free consultations, and that is the best time to discuss fees.

  • johnny

    At the tjme of final parenting plan signed by judge mother of child was not working .she has to pay 86.00 dollars a mo.since then she got a goverment making good money. Do I have to go to court or does she just have to tell her new employer I live in florida

    • HowardIken

      Normally a court needs to make any changes.

  • Jennifer

    I am a single mother of 2. During the first child support I was working and splitting custody 50/50. As of August 2012 I have had the children solely with the father taking every other weekend. I have since lost my job and raising children on a bare minimum of 126.00 a month support. I am on state assistance. The father has refused to pay anymore. Is there a way for me to file ‘sans pauper’?

    • HowardIken

      You can always file by yourself. You can file an application with the clerks office to waive the filing fee. Or you can apply to legal aid for help. http://www.floridalegal.org
      You need to modify your parenting plan first.

  • Felicia

    On my parenting plan during my divorce, my ex husband and I agreed that he would have the kids 5 weeks over the summer and 6 nights a month. I have 3 kids and my ex only takes 2 out of the 3 4 nights per month plus, he hasn’t taken the kids over the summer for the 5 weeks like the parenting plan states. Should I take him back to court to have child support adjusted?

    • HowardIken

      You can. The principle is “use it or lose it.” You can get your parenting plan adjusted and also adjust child support to match.

  • George Harris

    My wife and I were divorced in 2007 as I was on my way to prison. I was released in 2011.I had a hard time finding a permanent job because of the felones.I moved to missouri where I have family. I have found work at the minimum wage. I am in arrears and now have a warrant for my arrest in florida. How can I clear this up short of paying all of the arrears, which is not realistic.

    • HowardIken

      You have to reopen the child support case with a Motion to Set Payments on Arrears. During the same hearing the judge most likely will vacate the arrest warrant. We can do that for a flat fee

      • George Harris

        What is the fee for such a motion?

        • HowardIken

          Normally we have a flat fee in the 1,500 range

  • Maria1

    I was divorced in Alabama in 2005. I have moved to Florida in 2007 and since then my ex has not been paying child support. I have two children and both live with me. What steps do i need to take to have the divorce decree filed in Florida?

    • HowardIken

      The decree needs to be “registered or domesticated” and then it becomes the equivalent of a Florida decree. At that point you can hold an enforcement hearing.

      • Maria1

        Ok. Is your office located in Orlando?

        • HowardIken

          Yes. If you fill out the contact form a staff member will set up a free initial consult with an attorney

  • Jane

    I was divorced in 2004. Ex-husband wants another reduction and states he has 73 overnight stays. Does the new statute in 2011 apply? It was previously 146 overnight stays when we divorced. thanks

    • HowardIken

      It does apply. But if he originally had 73 overnights and all that has changed since then is the new law – many judges believe that is an insufficient change to reopen child support for modification. This is a very technical twist of law and you should call us if he files for modification.

  • moving

    If me and my ex mutually agree to cancel child support payments in Florida, how hard is it and what steps needs to be taken? Thanks.

    • HowardIken

      That is a touchy subject. It also depends on whether the Florida Dept of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement is involved. If the support is collected through the Florida State Disbursement Unit there may be more layers of complications. Also, some judges will not allow it. If this is important to both of you – it would be best to have use either draft your paperwork, or represent you for the entire procedure.

  • mickie6680

    In pasco county florida my husband and i split up and a dvi was issued on my husband which he ended up violating and being arrested over it, but the dvi was issued on him in 1999ordering him to pay childsupport in the amount of $85.69 a week, which he paid faithfully up until the first week of august 2005, due to all of a sudden no order requiring him to pay child support due to the dvi order had expired, so since august 2005 up untill 2011 my daughter was supported solely by myself, in 2011 her father got custody of her, am i entitled to anything from 2005 till 2011 beings i raised her completely?

    • HowardIken

      Yes. The arrears for child support would not have been washed out by the new custody order. You can go back to court to enforce or collect the arrears.

  • Wanda Sanchez

    My ex husband was paying child support until 7 months ago when he stop, but my child support order was in New York he lives in New Jersey. Child support office here in osceola are of no help too me what is my next step in trying too collect.

    • HowardIken

      If Child Support Enforcement will not take it, you must hire private counsel. We can register the order as a Florida order. They we can enforce the arrears.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    My girlfriend just had a mediation to modify her child support arrangements in Volusia County. The mediation went not so well. Her attorney and the mediator were encouraging her to accept what was being offered by the ex husband as being a good and fair offer. The mediator, was agreed to by both attorneys and we come to find out that he is not even certified. The mediator was highly unprofessional – making comments about my girlfriend’s political leanings (He brought it up not her, asking who she voted for and she ignored it, refusing to respond), her gender
    (“you probably weren’t a good wife, that’s why he divorced you”), her autistic child (“yeah yeah, every kid has problems”), and about her not being “bright enough to grasp what he was saying” … all in front of HER attorney who said nothing. She wound up getting $150/month child support (up from $0) but had to relinquish the tax write off for the child every other year. When she wanted to walk out of the mediation, she was told it would cost her $10,000 to pursue it through the courts.

    Is there anything that can be done to reopen this matter, it seems to me, the issues of the mediator and her own attorney clearly impacted the outcome. Oh, and the mediator and her ex-husband had a prior business relationship before the mediation, but her attorney said it was not a reason to object to the mediator.

    Any advice is helpful. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      It would be incredibly difficult and expensive to contest on those grounds. I am not saying it is impossible – but it would certainly not be easy.

  • Lou

    This is complicated. My husband and I have been married for 22 years. He also has an ex-wife and 3 adult children, their ages are 34, 31 and 28. He got behind in child support about 6 years ago as he had a hard time finding work. When he was un-employed they took child support from that and also any income tax refund would go to the ex-wife. I would always file injured spouse forms. He finally got a full time job and is working now about one year with the same company. Now mind you he is not making the same salary as he was making when he divorced the ex-wife. We went back to court last year in New Jersey with an attorney from there and the judge said that the original order will stand. which is $1400.00 a month, and it will go through probation. So they are garnishing his pay.
    My husband is 60 years old and I am much older than him, 73. We both have a hard time with taking care of our health and we both have heart conditions. There are medical bills piling up and prescriptions we can’t afford to get. I have to weigh out buying food or medication at times.
    He knows he owes the arrears and is not trying to dodge his obligation, and because the children are all adults now, can he get the arrears to be adjusted or is there something else to be done in this case.
    Any advise is helpful. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      This sounds like the law of New Jersey will govern. I cannot comment on that state’s law because I am admitted only in Florida. But if the situation were in Florida – arrears would be very difficult to adjust. The law of Florida does not normally support that.

  • honest question

    on November 19 1975 my ex husband was ordered to pay 40.00 a week through the broward county clerk of courts I never received a payment through the courts but did receive three or four weeks from their father im told that a court order never expires from the courts on child support how can I still collect it

    • HowardIken

      You are correct. Child support arrears normally do not expire. You must reopen the original case for an enforcement hearing. The exact steps are beyond the scope of his quick answer forum.

  • jusst asking

    My ex wife was ordered to but never paid child support, she owes around $19,000. This court ordered child support was during the time Florida has custodial parent laws,and I was the custodial parent. She works and lives with her rich boyfriend. They go on vacation and cruises all the time, yet she doesnt pay me a cent. Now she wants to take me to court to adjust the time sharing so that I end up paying her. Is there anything I can do about that?

    • HowardIken

      Just because she files for a modification does not mean she will get it. There are two sides to every case.

  • GoodBrevardDad

    Hi,im in brevard,me and my wife have been separated for 4 years,We came to an agreement on our own and we are about to get a divorce.I give her $300 every month.She does not want me to have to go threw the courts and pay threw the state.Is that possible?

    • HowardIken

      Not possible. You must file a court case and get a final judgment to dissolve your marriage.

  • Rhonda

    Does child support have a priority over a judgement in florida

    • HowardIken

      There is no legally imposed priority.

  • jacinc2

    My name is Juan Alonso Jr. I had filed for modification of child support pro-se in Janurary 2014. I had an unfortunate turn in my life, my daughter got sick with cancer in February 2014 and passed away in April 2014. I asked for a telephonic hearing and was told that I could not do my case over the phone or without an attorney. I am currently taking care of my daughter’s affairs and asked the General Master for at least 90 days to work with.

    I have no job now because my FMLA was given to me on February 7th and expired on May 2nd, 2014 so I can’t afford an attorney to represent me in court. Please, I do need legitimate help with this. I don’t know what to do or who to talk to for any help. As you see my money is very limited now until I can get another job, which won’t happen until I return to Florida and seems like it is going to take more than the time I asked for, unless I get some attorney help.

    I do have an address in Florida, but am residing currently in the state of Wyoming.

    I don’t know what I can do. In my modification all I am asking is to stop CS on my two older kids (23,21) and to be considered for credit on over payment of child support that is in excess of 30K dollars.

    Where can I get help..??? ??? ???

    Sincerely,

    Juan Alonso jr.

  • Mrs.Woods

    My husband’s ex placed him on child support after he got into a car accident, and received a large settlement. He wasn’t aware of her placing him on child support until a large amount of arrears started to acquire. He began to pay, then he lost his job. They suspended his license. Now the case is closed, and he has over 30,000 in arrears. What can he do? Can he file a motion to have them removed/reduced? We are afraid that this affect his credit and go into collections. Thank you. We reside in Tampa, Fl.

    • HowardIken

      You cannot get rid of arrears. But you can establish a reasonable repayment plan for the arrears. You also can modify support downward. A judge can reinstate a drivers license.

  • David

    Hello . My wife left me and said she wanted a divorce. Our 13 year old son is with her. She claims I owe her back child support from when she left me 9 months ago, despite not having filed yet.

    • HowardIken

      That may be true. The obligation of child support normally begins at physical separation.

  • phoebe

    HI, if my ex has been given me money inconsistently and some months paid some months skipped a payment but some mothns payments were higher is there such an adjustment to be in place? Also if my daughter spent a school year and summer with him, was he still obligated to pay the childsupport as agreement was that i was the primary care provider/?

    • HowardIken

      Yes and no. It depends on the wording of your judgment.

  • Troy

    Hello, I am the custodial parent of two boys, and would like to know how to go about gaining full custody. My sons have recently told me of some physical and verbal abuse from my ex-wife’s live in boyfriend.

    • HowardIken

      Yes, you can file to modify parenting. It is never a cake walk but the law contains a mechanism for modification.

  • Nancy

    Hi there, I was wondering what I needed to do if my ex doesn’t bring the kids back at the time he is supposed to? He has abused this rule in the past many times. I try to contact him via phone and he never responds to my texts, or he blocks me. He is a drug addict and has a suspended license; non-payment of child support. Is it ok to call the non-emergency line for the concern of the children? Is it ok to not let the kids see their dad because he is a poor communicator? I don’t feel safe leaving my kids with him because he doesn’t communicate. Another quick question, while I’m here….can I at some point stop taking the kids to their dads house because of non-payment? I just can’t find the means no longer to drive there and back every time (120 miles round trip). It is financial draining.

    • HowardIken

      You cannot link child support to parenting time. The statutes are clear on that. But if you have some proof of drugs and unsafe driving, you can withhold time pending a court hearing. You can enforce rights in a Motion for Contempt hearing – within your prior case number.

  • Mike

    on May 19, 2014, I received a motion for contempt enforcement on child support arrears, I do acknowledge I am behind and I am currently pro se, filing a motion to modify, as well as a blank motion for payment of credit. However, I did not realize that I had 20 days to respond with an answer until today. I do have hand written receipts, by my ex wife, signed by her and notarized, showing that in 2004 I paid her @3,300.00 cash before I was aware that she had it changed to be paid thru the state of Florida. It is obviously way past my 20 days to respond but my question is, will the magistrate that is appointed to hear the motion of contempt on July 10, 2014 allow me to respond in person and acknowledge the debt but make note of the possible payment of credit that I filed as well as the motion of modification. Up until the farming season of 2011/12, I farmed all of my adult life and made a great living, unfortunately, I am still in court over the debt and have retained a bankruptcy attorney. I lost both vehicles and have legal notes and bills totaling $280,00.00+. I am not asking for a modification because of this debt but because I am working and earning an income of 65% less than 11 years ago when my child support was set. I may be seeking out legal help if I feel this situation is growing out of control and would also like to know the price of a consultation as well as a retainer. Thank you

    • HowardIken

      Consultation is free. We can discuss retainers in person. You cannot modify child support by motion. Yes, the Magistrate will take evidence of a prior lump sum payment and give you credit if the evidence is convincing. The rule for contempt motions: you cannot be held in contempt if you lack the ability to comply with the prior order.

  • Kristi

    Hi I am curious to know how I should handle my situation. I had a divorce and child support order set in April 2011. My ex husband was ordered to pay $448 monthly for our 3 children. This was based on both incomes and time share. He since has not saw nor spoke to children ( his choice, I have tried) since July 2011. I know his income has increased since then, and I am currently unemployed because I am going to focus on my own business and finish my degree. I filled out and sent in a modification this week with the department of revenue. I am only concerned that if they try to order higher support due to no overnight stays that he will try to just come back, our children do not know him they were 5,7 and 9 when he disappeared. What should I do to prevent him from just coming back in. He would only do it to prevent having to pay more.I know this would be detrimental on the kids and do not want to see them suffer like they did on his first disappearing act. Emotionally it tore them apart, I can not allow them to hurt like that, it took a year to cope with and now they are happy and adjusted. How do I prevent this.

    • HowardIken

      You need to file for modification of the parenting plan. “Use it or lose it.” That is the underlying principle.

  • Lorene Stunson Hill

    My son has a hearing schedule for later this month in Volusia county. He has been making regular payments )money I give him) lately including this month but not always in the past. He has arrears. The mother of his child stalks him and will not let him have a personal life. If she discovers he has a female friend she runs to court and cries for money. Over the years we have paid numerous purges. Now that he pays regularly she still got angry, is harrassing the young lady he is dating and ran to court, got a hearing scheduled and is demanding $1,000 we don’t have (my son is unemployed). Will he go to jail? He has a career opportunity coming up July 27 and jail will cause him to lose it.

    • HowardIken

      Normally someone will never be sent to jail if they do not have the capability to comply with the order.

  • Jennifer

    The attorney for my ex has filed a motion to stop his child support garnishment due to my daughter graduating on June 6th of this year. He is currently 5500 in arrearage. My question is will the judge agree to stop tthe garnishment now or allow it to continue until the arrearage is paid off and will the current amount being deducted stay the same?

    • HowardIken

      You need to appear and represent your position on the issue. Nothing is a given.

  • Misty

    My boyfriend used to pay child support through Florida to his ex and son, who both lived in the state. Then he moved to Oregon, so payments were made through their child support program. We recently moved to Maryland, so Oregon informed him they are no longer handling his case. However, when he called the Florida Child Support Enforcement service to find out who would be handling his case from now on, they told him his case had been closed. His ex apparently no longer lives in FL. They told him his balance was $0, but what happens to the arrears he owed? I assumed he would still have to pay them, but if so, who is he supposed to make payments to now that FL has closed the case?

    • HowardIken

      Not enough info here to give an answer. He can always pay direct to the mom and keep good records.

      • Misty

        And if neither he nor the state of FL have any current contact information for her? I don’t see any way he could make payments in this situation. I just want to make sure there won’t be legal or financial ramifications that could crop up in the future because at one point he owed back child support.

  • melissa

    when my ex husband and I divorced 8 years ago, we arranged a 50/50 custody agreement without child support as we both earned a similar amount of money. I have one child who has not spent any length of time at her fathers in 2 years, by her choice, and another child who now wishes to have no visitation. They are now 14 and 16. Do I have any right to apply for child support? The children live with me full time.

  • Sam

    My husband and I have been married for 5 years and together for 10. He has a daughter from his previous marriage that is now 12 years old and she lives with her mother in FL. We moved a little over 3 years ago but when we lived in FL she was with us on the weekends and for the whole summer. Now she is only with us for 6-8 weeks in the summer, I pay for her to fly here and for her expenses while she is here (necessities, summer camp etc.). My husband has had some severe difficulty obtaining employment over the years and is now taking advantage of an education benefit that is offered by my employer to finish his degree and become more marketable in the workforce so I am the only source of income for our family and we have two children together and one on the way. He is behind $17k in his child support but was recently approved for modification to lower the amount. His ex is pushing the issue and knows that he is not working so any money that he owes or she gets will come from me and take away from my children. I want to figure out a way to support him, because the last thing I need is for him to go to jail behind this debt, but I don’t want this to permanently effect my income. What advice do you have? Should we seek legal counsel?

    • HowardIken

      It is always best to have an attorney. There is really not enough info here to give answers. But if he has a good, solid track record of seeking employment and can prove it – he is in a good position to get a modification.

  • Jill

    My son’s ex-girlfriend (pregnant at that time) moved from Florida to another state taking with her his 3 year old daughter. Since that time he has been paying child support for both girls, has had no visitation and has not been allowed to claim either child on his tax return. He got behind on support at one point due to a break in employment so now also pays arrears. His older daughter is now 19 and hasn’t lived with her mother for well over a year. What steps does he need to take to stop the child support for the 19 year old and can his ex be charged with any kind of fraud for accepting money for a “child” not living with her at the time she took the checks? Also, the 16 year old is now pregnant. If she were to marry the father of her child, does this have any bearing on my son paying her mother child support or can he cease paying her support at that time? Can he petition the court for a hearing to present his case without using an attorney? Concerning the arrearage……has he just “lost” the amount he has paid since his daughter turned 18 or would the court consider any of the past child support paid since her 18th birthday to go toward any arrearage owed?

    • HowardIken

      You never need an attorney to file a case. But it is always a good idea to have one. In your case an attorney is highly recommended. There are many questions raised by your comment. For example – Florida may not be the correct state to file. You may end up with an expensive mess with a self help attempt.

      • Jill

        Why would he file in another state? This was all done in Brevard County. Wouldn’t she have to come back to Florida to contest anything? From what I’ve read, once the child reaches 18 years of age, child support would stop.

  • Mark

    My daughter is 18 and still attending high school. Can I give the payments directly to her until she graduates? Live in Florida and no payments in arrears.

    • HowardIken

      You should continue to pay support to the mother. You may not get credit for support payments if you switch to your daughter.

      • Stacie

        My son’s father wants to modify (lower)the child support he pays because my son is now in kindergarten. he is asking me how much I pay in day care. Can he just modify or change the amount of child support he sends me?

        • HowardIken

          If day care was incorporated into child support and you are no longer paying for daycare, it should be changed.

        • HowardIken

          Not if there is an order. He must go through the proper steps to modify.

  • Kitty

    Does the State of Florida allow child support to expire if it is not paid?

    • HowardIken

      Normally no. There are some defenses against payment if a really long period of time has elapsed. But generally child support arrears never expire.

  • Kitty

    On my question below I should have specified that I have a 14 year old judgment that has never been paid to me for owed child support. I live In Texas, her father lives in Florida.

    • HowardIken

      My answer still stands. In general child support arrears do not expire.

  • katrina

    Hi,I had been getting child support from my daughters father but now 4 weeks in arrears. Payments were from wage garnishment . I have just found out that he has left the job and may have a new emplyer, does he have to inform child support and do I have to do anything ?

    • HowardIken

      You must get a new Income Withholding Order signed by the court

  • Jackie

    My boyfriend is currently incarcerated on a non support charge , it’s 1000$ to get him out but he hasn’t has a job in a couple years, how can we lower the non support charge ?

    • HowardIken

      That can possibly be done in a short Motion hearing in court.

  • Terry

    I have an issue with my son’s mother she lives in South Carolina with my son. She moved there when she was pregnant we were never married.I have been paying child support through the state of Florida for 15 years then one day I get a letter in the mail saying my case has been dropped. I called her and she explained “I took you off because we can handle things between ourselves”. I found out she applied for government housing and that the child support income was hurting her from getting through. I have been paying faithfully through bank transfers to her account every two weeks; ever since keeping my transfer records as proof. My son spent a year with me in Florida and she hasn’t paid me any support and now she has convinced him to go back to Carolina only so she can start getting support again. My sons mother hasn’t worked in 5 years and soon as he got back she started threatening me with support through the state just because I told her I will not pay her support until the summer is over and school starts back. He will be 18 in October and finishes school in 2015, and now she’s threatening to file for support until he reaches 21 while he attends college. I cannot afford this and I have a daughter and an aging mother to look after enough is enough. Can she file for this beyond the age of 18? and is she liable for the time the kid stayed with me?

    • HowardIken

      SC law will govern this situation. I cannot tell you what that law contains. Under Florida law the CS would not extend through 2015.

  • Kim

    I have 2 step children that live in Florida with there mom.We get the girls summers ,and holidays. My problem right now is the girls have told me they have been beat with a belt by the aunt and uncle and the uncle says hes going to start using a hammer next .The mom leaves them alot with them goes out . The grandmother lives there also along with 3 other children from 2 different fathers.Also the mom and grandmother slap them in the face.I called DSS in Flo. they said Im sorry there is nothing we can do ,we allow corpal punishment here in this state.She said not unless there is bruises or open skin there is nothing we can do.My husband and I tried to talk to the mom she was rude denied all of it and demanded they be home 2 wks before school.Normally she lets us keep them untill few days before but now that shes mad she will go right by the papers.We all don’t want to send them home scared this will continue.Dss here in SC said nothing they can do out of there hands because they live fulltime in FL.

    • HowardIken

      If child protective services does not see any issue, your only recourse is through the family law courts. A private attorney can address this situation in the court where the original custody order was established.

  • Oliver

    Can my ex take me back to court for child support after he graduates from high school ?

    • HowardIken

      For arrears – yes. For enforcement of already owed support – yes. To terminate child support – yes. But not to increase child support. All assuming the child is at least 18.

  • ken

    Hello,my daughter turns 18 on July 29th,already graduated high school & will be attending college out of state next month.Is there anything I have to do to stop child support from coming out of my check or does it cancel automatically in the system? I am in Florida & no arrears,fees or any other money owed.

    • HowardIken

      If the Income Withholding Order is more than 3 or 4 years old – it probably does not have an expiration. If that is the case you will need to go back to court. Or if the Dept of Revenue is involved you can file a request through their office.

  • James

    child support from New York- Florida is where I live they are involved also My children are all adults live outside the home I pay arrears on my support $700.00 a month I am on SSD since 2009 I have 2 child supports the other gets $290.00 a month I live off of $500.00 month just got a letter from DCF of florida suspended my DL for non payment of support how is this possible when it is deducted from SSD every month and how can I get the state of florida out of this child support involvement because my children are all over the age of 21 and live in New York help please

    • HowardIken

      There is not enough here for me to answer that. It depends on which state originated the support order. Also – child support can be garnished from SSD. That also applies to arrears.

      • James

        have no problem paying my arrears way to much but that is New York for you, the original order was from New York but every year DCF of Florida wants to suspend my DL for non payment of support doesn’t the DCF @ IRS all the same can’t they see my records from SSD and see that I pay my support another question how can I modify my arrears Social Security tell me I am paying way to much in support of adult children, also my ex wife owns her own business in New York when we legally separated in 1989 gave her the company, she cries broke all the time this case is crazy because both my children where incarcerated while in her care and my son was put in Foster care for about a year by her and she stilled collected support was that legal also don’t believe my arrears is correct by New York should I find an attorney to help me I can’t travel on dyalisis and now just had leg amputated need legal advice I’m under proverty level in Florida @ New York after support is paid for a year I make a little over $5000.00 a year she makes over $140,000 a year

        • HowardIken

          If the original order is from NY – then that is the only place you can modify or get certain other types of relief. It sounds like Florida is only enforcing the order.

  • Diane Gregory

    My son’s ex girlfriend got pregnant when he came home on leave in December, they are no longer together. My question is this, can they draw up and agreement and noterize it and it be binding, or do they NEED an attorney?

    • Diane Gregory

      We live in Florida

      • HowardIken

        A notarized agreement is not enforceable. I assume you want an enforceable custody and parenting plan? That can only be done through court.

        • Diane Gregory

          because of his Military career, he wont even see the child. She “trapped” him and as soon as she got pregnant, she broke it off with him and she went back to her ex-boyfriend who is a loser, drug abuser and just not a good person, but thats here nor there. He is 19, she is 21 in December. I am just devastated at this but this is real life. All I can hope for is that the child proves to not be his but the date of birth is right on to him being home for Christmas. Thank you for your response.

  • lauren aldridge

    If I want to have child support modified from original agreement, do I have to have alawyer and go to court or can this be done by filling out paperwork with the court house? I live in Volusia county.

    • HowardIken

      You never, ever NEED a lawyer. But it is always strongly recommended. The courthouse personnel will not give you legal advice.

  • tuse

    My daughter has been pr-se and for at least two years has been battling with her ex and his lawyer—who likes to play dirty pool it seems. Two years ago, he remarried, then apparently filed something with child support that delayed and reduced her payments. Suddenly her payments were nearly cut in half, and they began “holding” a portion while the case was in review. She couldn’t obtain any documentation from them, other than he claimed there was an overpayment.. She knew that there could be no supporting documentation provided for overpayment, and in fact he had over 5k in past due support. When trying to resolve this, she was told that the only way she could find out what he was claiming, was to file her own request for review. She was also told when she was eligible to file for a modification, but most importantly was trying to get her support back on track, including the arrears that was due. Soon after her inquiries about why she wasn’t receiving her full amount of child support, my grandson’s father’s lawyer filed an exparte case in another county where jurisdiction was not held but where the father resides.This dragged on for months and my daughter had to fight pro-se, from another county, on her own. This caused her so much stress, loss of time at work, etc. His lawyer lied to the courts stating she had no knowledge of prior jurisdiction in another county even though she attended every hearing for the last four years in that jurisdiction and had just recently attended a hearing where my daughter was requesting a change of venue so she could get the help she needs for her children. She and children live in Pasco, ex lives in Lauderdale and case is in Brevard county. It was denied. ) After the exparte case was finally dismissed with prejudice and after months of fighting it, my daughter tried to follow up with child support about her inquiries only to find out that the lawyer informed child support in Brevard that the case was in Broward (exparte that was never granted) which resulted in child support closing her case for review, enforcement and modification. I assume all this was done in an attempt to delay. It can be proven that she flat out lied to the courts. My daughter could not afford a lawyer but she spent hundreds of hours fighting that exparte and trying to enforce her daycare and support, causing her a great deal of stress. It’s been years and now, the youngest is starting school but dad was never forced to pay that daycare or his arrears. Everyone passes the buck, child support says the courts have to handle it, the courts say child support has to handle it. Come to find out, because it is a title iv-d case, she has to rely on child support enforcement to handle her case.. Does this include daycare and any contempt for refusal to pay? It got so bad at one point, I wrote the Governor’s office just to get someone assigned to her case that wasn’t a customer service rep who would give her a different answer every time she called in. Additionally, in her final order it stated that he would get to claim the children but ONLY if he was current in support. Because there was an arrears, she claimed the kids and he filed to hold her in contempt. She was not found in contempt but the judge said she had to sign some paper of relief for IRS. She is appealing that and on the judge’s recommendation, has filed a request to modify that, as he couldn’t see why it was given to him in the first place and found it to be “odd.”

    Questions: Is there any relief for damages through the Bar or the courts to prevent and punish his attorney for filing false information with various courts and also with child support? Is the father equally as responsible for allowing his lawyer to file these false lawsuits and information, knowing it was untrue? If a modification is ever awarded, should it be retroactive to her original request date (prior to the ex’s lawyer providing false info to child support?) Also, who is really responsible for enforcing daycare, the courts or child support? He has blatantly refused for years or to pay his portion of daycare, causing my daughter to have to actually leave corporate America and find a more “family friendly job” (like cleaning other people’s toilets) so her schedule is more flexible and to ensure that her disposable income is more “disposable” for other things other than paying 100% of daycare. (Thanks for allowing the rant)

    • HowardIken

      You have a big can of worms here. You are getting into areas I will not comment on. I will have to leave this as a “rant.” Another person may want to comment.

      • tuse

        Thanks so much for your response. I completely understand why some lawyers may be sensitive when ethics are called into question. Unfortunately it’s a huge part of the problem with this case, hence the reason for me to hire the right lawyer who will step in with the big guns so she won’t be bullied anymore. Happily, I was able to do so today while obtaining some very concise answers to my “rant.”

  • LR

    My husband is filing a petition to modify the current parenting plan with his ex-wife. Both his ex-wife and he agree that he should become the residential parent. If the residence of the child is changed, will the courts automatically issue an order to stop my husband’s child support payments, or will he have to additionally file for a modification of child support (which falls under another filing fee)? We do not wish to seek child support from the mother, but we do not wish to continue to pay her, as the child is living with us now.

    • HowardIken

      Normally a petition to modify parenting would include a decision / adjustment of child support

  • Keith

    My drivers license was recently suspended for delinquent payments on arrears. I filed an emergency reinstate motion and the judge granted it. I have $9,000 in SSD payments made to the child over the last 4 years that has been paid in addition to my monthly $343 that I was still paying myself for said child, meanwhile my monthly obligation is only $240. SSD stopped Jan. 2014 and I haven’t paid anything since because I thought all the $9,000 extra paid in gave me a credit balance. I didn’t know you had to file paperwork to get the check being sent directly to the child credited over to child support. It was being sent directly by disability by garnishing the $343 from my disability check. The courts say I’m $2,200 delinquent and in order for all my payments to be credited to that balance the Judge told me I have to file a motion. I have all the paperwork to prove every payment. What motion do I file and in which court? Is it civil court or domestic relations?

    • HowardIken

      You file a motion in the exact same family law case.

  • TL

    The child support case was permanently closed because of a medical condition. If he goes back to work, how does the child support case get reopened? Will it just automatically reopen based on his SSN now actively working? Or do I need to file a petition to reopen the case?

    • HowardIken

      There is nothing automatic about child support. Yes, someone needs to actively reopen the case.

  • apa

    My 13 year old son receives a check from his fathers dissibility. His father works as well and seems tonot be truly dissabled. He also buys cars and fixes them on the side. He never sees my child or helps out in any way. He has dui arrest aswell as othere arrest. He ended up in the family home because of a great atorney and I was left to fend for my son and I. Its been a true struggle. Can I receive child support from him? Even if I already receive a supplement ssi check for my son?

    • HowardIken

      The check your son receives due to the father’s disability check acts as a credit against his obligation. For example, lets say child support is $100 per month. And lets say the child receives $50 per month as a disability check. The $50 would act as a credit against the $100 obligation. The father would need to pay the difference, or $50 per month.

      • Apa

        Thank you for your response, I actually had a hearing today in front of the judge. I explained all the expense that I had and the check my son receives is not enouff, to no avail, he ended up not having to even help with after school care or lunches or anything. He ended up with the home and everything in it while my son and I continue to struggle to make ends meet. I explained that he works as well and also fixes and sales cars and rents part of the home out for half of his mortgage payment. I’m exhausted from this ongoing situation. I have no attorney and he has one of the best in town. It’s very sad when a woman or man is left with full responsibility and the so called lying diabled parent gets off Scott free. I struggled through years of abuse and finally got my son and I free away from him and now I face this monster in the court year after year. A child deserves a mom and dad who love them enouff to both make sacrifices, how ever I think florida is a horrible state to try and get any help. If your a poor struggling mom with no representation your bad icky doomed. Thank you for responding and offering to help me understand the way this works. I feel defeated and frustrated with the court here in north florida. So many moms walked out in tears, it’s devistating to watch your child grow in poverty when he don’t deserve it and it’s very sad how it can be allowed. Makes me feel like it’s still truly a mans world unless your wealthey enouff to afford a attorney.

  • bridget

    my boyfriend received modification for child support today because his ex is now unemployed due to being fired by the sheriff’s office for being arrested for dui. she was collecting unemployment, but it just ran out. she receives $800 in food stamps and $400 in subsidiary payments, but put 0 income on her financial affidavit. are these benefits she received not considered income?

    • HowardIken

      They should be. But sometimes that falls through the cracks when you do not have an attorney.

  • kb

    What can I do to convince a Hearing Officer to enforce support order? DOR case, they are silent during hearing. Been to court several times when NCP contests Notice of Delinquency. Hearing officer sets it aside. Notice is correct, NCP just claims unable to pay and provides weak proof of medical condition and unable to work. I provided proof he lied to court and they continue to let him slide.

    • HowardIken

      You must prove the other party has the “ability to pay.” That burden of proof is on you. Sometimes that sort of proof is harder than it looks.

      • kb

        I have proof NCP was in well publicized accident and should expect a large settlement. I’m asking the court for a lien so we can go after the insurance proceeds. I have some other info via social media. I am hesitant to disclose source because info may stop. That info shows some lavish spending at a time “where there was no money for support.”

        • kb

          Just thinking on this, shouldn’t the burden of proof be on the parent that is delinquent? They should be able to prove why they CANT pay, especially if they haven’t filed for a modifcaton.

          • HowardIken

            If you want to impose severe consequences – you have the burden.

  • Jah See

    I am current paying child support to my child’s mother (one child) from New York, via the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, and I’m completely up to date. I have no problem with it. However, my child’s mother complained she wasn’t receiving it, and went to Florida’s department of Child Support Enforcement at the beginning of the month to inquire about the matter. Today, I received a letter from Florida’s Child Support Enforcement department stating they have DIRECTLY mailed my employer a notice for wage garnishment, which I believe is an action taken OUTSIDE the rules & guidelines of the UIFSA ruling. Florida claims I owe arrears, but all my payments to the enforcing state, New York, satisfied all my requirements, including arrears. I believe Florida’s Child Support enforcement department is being lazy, and is chasing me for payments; thinking I’m a dupe and easier to simply rob, than communicating with New York’s CSE department. How can I bring this dishonest action by Florida’s CSE department to a halt, effectively stopping it?

    • HowardIken

      You can file a Motion to Correct Disbursement Unit Totals, and hold a hearing. You must have proper documentation and proof.

      • Jah See

        Thank you for your reply. This will certainly be a great help.

  • Jamie Miller

    I am currently supposed to receive child support from my ex-husband however he has not paid since it was court ordered. I am wanting to take him to court for abandonment because he has not seen her in almost three years and he has not spoken to her on the phone in almost a year. If I win my case for his abandonment, will I then loose the ability to still receive child support from him?

    • HowardIken

      I am not sure what you mean. There is no such thing as an abandonment case. Unless you are referring to termination of parental rights. That is not an easy thing to do.

  • Callie Sloan

    my husband’s son is 18 and high functioning autistic. He is a senior and will graduate 2015. He will turn 19 soon, my husband has always taken care of his son in every way but his mom thinks of him as her meal ticket. He has joint custody supposed to be 50/50 but we have him more than 70% of the time. His son will be going to college which we have a FL college fund for, he is capable of taking care of himself and holding a job. Can his mom take my husband back to court for support because of his disability?

    • HowardIken

      Only if he is not capable of functioning as an adult – and a prior court judgment recognized that specific fact. This does not sound like that sort of situation. If he is going to be 19 before high school graduation, support terminates as of the 18th birthday. If graduation is before 19, child support terminates at graduation.

      • Callie Sloan

        Thank you so much for your reply!

  • Johnny Dykes

    My daughter turned 18 in January of this yr and graduated in June. I was told that my order which was done by a General Master MS. Diane Misiak didn’t state the amount of reduction or the new amount to be paid so therefore my order will not be reduced until the youngest has turned 18. so this means ill pay on my daughter til shes 22 and my middle til hes 20. It says in the order there is to be reduction but not what it is.Very discouraging what do i do?i called Tallahassee and they all tell me the same thing no reduction on top i pay the medical which is suppose to be covered by her as well… what do i do?

    • HowardIken

      You need to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify. If you do everything correctly you will see a reduction. Unfortunately this is not an automatic process. An attorney would be best.

  • kay

    I have appreciated your responses so far, so have another question. In calculating support my son would have to pay, both attorneys (his and hers) keep using his gross pay. Is that right? He now pays her support, the house payment and a car payment. Need the divorce to be over hoping he won’t have to pay so much. She, I’m guessing is choosing not to work yet has put the 2 year old in daycare?? Should he have to pay more support for a stay at home mom to put her child in daycare? Thank you so much!!

    • HowardIken

      House and car payments are not valid deductions from gross. Daycare should not be incorporated into the calculations if that parent does not work. The statutes specify “employment related daycare” Staying at home is not employment related.

  • Oscar

    I currently pay child support for my two kids from a previous relationship. At the moment I’m having problems with my current wife who I have 2 kids with as well. She is talking about filing for child support for our 2 kids. Is she able to do that will we are still married but living separately? If my wife does file for child support, will the child support for my two other kids with my ex be affected? Would the state honor a modification on the first child support case to reduce the amount I pay to help me support my 2 kids with my current wife? Thanks in advance.

    • HowardIken

      Yes, there is a Florida provision for child support in absence of a divorce. The order for the previous children will have the effect of reducing support for support orders on later children.

  • bee

    I was divorced in late 2006. My ex husband was ordered to pay 393.57 per month, paid directly to me. My ex husband was given 3 days and nights out of the week with our son. I never received even 1 payment. My ex husband was the sole provider, and I could not afford an attorney. I did attempt to make the relationship work several different times, as I really had nowhere to go. I had a daughter prior to the marriage, and both kids and myself were forced to move in with my mother. My ex did not sell the house as ordered, did not allow me to take any of the property that I was awarded in the divorce. I went to school and became a law enforcement officer, which I have been doing for 3 years now. I have been trying to rebuild a life for the kids and myself, but was forced to start from zero, as my ex did not adhere to any of the orders given by a judge during the divorce. My son is now 11 years old. Is it far too late to attempt getting child support?

    • HowardIken

      Definitely not too late. Court orders can be enforced. On the house, enforcement depends on the language of the last order. Child support is almost never waived. You need to file a Motion for Contempt and hold a hearing. If he has the ability to pay and is willfully refusing to pay, the court has a range of remedies that include incarceration.

  • Kim

    My ex and I have been divorced for 14 years, our children are currently ages 19 and 21. Our divorce papers read that he can claim the children on his taxes odd years – both kids have July birthdays at which time he stopped paying child support the day they turned 18. Fast forward to this week – I received a letter from his attorney trying to strong arm me into signing an IRS form allowing him to claim the kids for 2011 and 2013 (the year they each turned 18). He still owes me $6000.00 in arrears as he was conveniently unemployed until 3 months before our son turned 18. How is this possible that he can continue to come after me? Can I win this fight? I feel this is harassment as he seems to take me to court every 3 or 4 years over something…

    • HowardIken

      Many courts will not enforce that tax clause if the other party is delinquent on child support.

  • Alexa Pitre

    I’ve been divorced for over a yr now and in divorce paper i get no support but he can still visit..he has NOT seen our daughter since day of divorce. Is there some kind of law that will make him lose his visitation rights since he isnt using it??what can i do??

    • HowardIken

      No, nothing automatic. But his failure to spend time parenting can be used as a reason to modify the parenting plan.

  • jp

    I just got out of 2 years federal prison sentence, I had a court order to pay before I went in but wasn’t able to make that obligation while being incarcerated I got out two months ago to find out there was a warrant for my arrest of not paying a court order I live in SC but my court order is in Fla I owe $20,000 Ive made a small payment since I’ve been out. But when I turn myself in or they serve the warrant what will happen? Will they extradite me will they try me here in south Carolina will they sentence to jail time or allow me to make some payment arrangements. And modify my support. What can I expect to happen I have a 8 year old daughter and a 11 year old son with autism my wife is unable to work because she says home to take care of my son. I work a very low paying job since I just got out of prison I just to the first job I found I only make about 1200 a month but my child support is almost $350 a month I could only afford to make a hundred payment since I’ve been out. ???? What can I expect to happen so I can prepare my family

    • HowardIken

      You really need to try to save money for an attorney. I doubt you would be extradited for child support. But you may go through a bad experience. In Florida, incarceration is not an option if you did not have the ability to comply with the order. Obviously the court does not know your status. You need to get an attorney and schedule a hearing on the matter.

  • NGSG

    To stop the child support that I receive on my oldest since she’s 18 now do I need to fill out the financial affidavit on the forms for me & my X We are only lower the pymts from $150 to $75 a week.

    • HowardIken

      You need to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify.

  • Laurette Moore

    I have been court ordered for all most 3 years in being able to see my son 3 hours a week with supervision. Child Services where involved and I fought the case at the beginning with my divorce lawyer. What do I need to do to have the visitation removed so no one has to be around or I can at least leave the house with him. He is a non verbal autistic 11 year old boy and I have TBI after a major car accident. Please help with this question!

    • HowardIken

      Sorry, this is a really complex question that would require a reading of prior orders.

  • catnapper

    My daughter is currently in arrears for child support for about $30,000 for the past 4 years in Florida. She has never had the ability to pay as she was always a full time mom. In the past 4 years she has earned a degree on line but has not been able to secure employment mostly due to her drivers license being suspended because of the child support arrears and she also has another child she is raising alone. She lives in my home and her ex lives in his parents home although he has a good job. She currently has an open case where she is seeking to regain custody of her three children ages 15, 11 and 9. What is the best way to go about taking care of this child support when you don’t have the ability to pay? Thank you for any help you can give.

    • HowardIken

      She does have the duty to get a job – any type of job. But normally a judge (in a properly set hearing) will reinstate a drivers license to allow someone a chance to seek employment.

  • Sophie

    My husband owes his ex back child support. The case was closed by the state of Florida. We now have custody of his son. He is 16. My question. Does the courts use what he owes as a credit to the ex and once that’s used then she pays for support? or do they see the case as brand new because his case was closed?

    • HowardIken

      It depends if the parenting case, and the support case are under two separate case numbers. I suspect that is the situation here. If so, a hearing needs to be scheduled in the child support case to correct the numbers. But as an answer to your question: normally the credit will apply against an ongoing support obligation.

  • dee

    my husband wants to do a child support agreement by getting a letter notarized to pay me 300, do i have to bring him to court if he doesn’t comply, isn’t it better if i just go through the child support system, and have them do what they need to do if he doesn’t pay, instead of me dealing with the court and dealing with him. the way things are going we cannot even have a conversation.

  • Dee

    my husband wants to do a child support agreement by getting a letter notarized to pay me 300, do i have to bring him to court if he doesn’t comply, isn’t it better if i just go through the child support system, and have them do what they need to do if he doesn’t pay, instead of me dealing with the court and dealing with him. the way things are going we cannot even have a conversation.

    • HowardIken

      A notarized letter is just about nothing. You really need to file a court case to have the support amount enforceable.

      • Dee

        the people that are helping me file for divorce sttd a notarized letter with the set amount will be submitted with the divorce papers , she is stating if he fails and doesn’t pay i could just go with divorce papers and letter to child support office and have him added to child support, is this correct, what do you advice me to do. if i go through child support and forget about the notarized letter they wll have him pay me nothing because he is not working, hes on workers comp and i make more money than him. i just need to know will the notarized letter submitted to the court with divoce is enforceable?

        • HowardIken

          It sounds like you are getting bad advice from a non-lawyer. You need a legal professional to look things over first.

  • kay

    When calculating what support my son will pay, the attorneys are using gross pay not net pay. Is it suppose to be done with gross pay? Thank you!

    • HowardIken

      You start with gross pay, but then deduct valid taxes and certain other expenses. So the most correct answer is to use net pay.

  • Cele

    I will be taken to court again for child support modification – what happens if I don’t turn in a financial affidavit ?

    • Cele

      HE CLAIMS HE CAN’T CONTINUE TO PAY…

      • HowardIken

        You must turn in a financial affidavit. The consequences are whatever the judge decides.

  • angel

    my children’s father was order to pay child support he is currently well over a thousand dollars in back support because he refuses to pay and jumps from state to state i recently found out where is and that he has a current opened c.p,s case in the state he lives in now is there anyway i can use this information to find a physical address????

    • HowardIken

      No. Those types of cases are strictly confidential. But the Florida Dept of Revenue may be able to intercept his tax refunds in the future.

  • sam

    I am ordered to pay child support and for a few months I didnt pay. Now I am back to paying and have been for months now. But DOR filed a Motion for Contempt from when I wasnt making the payments. Also while I wasnt making the payments another state was taking the support out of my pay checks but sending me the money. What can happen when I go to court? Is there anything I can do before the hearing? Should I file any documents?

    • HowardIken

      You can hire an attorney :-) Other than that, it is difficult to say without knowing anything about the case. The judge has a wide range of things that can be done: from incarceration, to an ordered sale of personal items.

  • kmac

    My daughter is 27 and is disabled and has been since birth. Can she seek support from her father..he stopped when she was 18. he was in default at time of divorce and it was mentioned in court orders but never came to court.

    • HowardIken

      It depends whether the prior court documents properly referenced the disability.

      • kmac

        it did. and stated in reference to a florida statute but i couldnt get him back into court..and i already paid for a divorce in default because he is in Massachusetts and refused to fill out any papaerwork

        • HowardIken

          If this is important to you – I would suggest you use an attorney. This is not a simple situation.

  • Das

    In 2009, my mother and I paid my brother’s ex wife a lump sum to settle his all of his arrearages. She actually came to us asking for the settlement. The children were both adults at the time of the settlement. She emailed us a scanned notarized letter to the DOR closing the case. I believe the same letter was given to the Clerk of Court to release my brothers license at the time. The ex wife keeps come mg back to us for money, and threatens to reopen the case if we won’t give it to her. Can she do this….can she reopen after we settled? I know she contacted the Clerk of Court, and they still show arrearages due. I confused about why it wasn’t zeroed out, and closed based on the letter.

    • HowardIken

      A letter is not enough. There needs to be a court order. Depending on the language of the letter – this may be a problem that can be permanently fixed by the proper action.

  • Just Me2

    Ex has filed to stop paying child support on oldest child (who turned 18) but has also filed to abate all child support. (we have another child). He is 50k in arrears. DOR will not help. I need to answer. What do I file to request arrears payment be set and to deny the abatement. Is that a response and a motion? Thank you!

    • HowardIken

      Sorry. But most situations are unique and there is no generic answer.

  • rhonda knight

    my daugther left the man who she has been with for the last four years she left two of the kids with him and toke the last child since she thinks it could be the other mans she has not seen the other two kids in two weeks are even called.one of the kids is not even his son but he has rasied him since he eas 3 months.

    • HowardIken

      What is your question ?

  • Bonnie

    our divorce and child support was in broward county fl, in 2000. my daughter and I moved at that time to Illinois. during the last 14 years my ex has paid of and on child support. he filed child support in pasco county and always said the divorce was moved to pasco. I found out last month the the judge tossed the divorce out of pasco and tex the divorce is still in broward. does this mean that broward still has the child support?

    • HowardIken

      That would be the default – yes.

  • lee

    Im a mom of three one of whom is disabled. I am the sole provideryfor my children they live with me. Im trying to get information about obtaining child support from my kids father. What forms I need what do I have to do. And northern of us has custody is that gonna be a problem.? I never was married to my kids father. He has been asking to see the kids and I refused I also had a case against him for stalking had a restraining order too. I just need help

    • HowardIken

      You may want to seek assistance from the Florida Dept of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division. We cannot specify forms on this website.

  • Stacy Pullman

    I have 3 children. While waiting for a final order of custody, I quit my job and gave birth to my third child. My 3rd was born with problems and is now on ssi. The court found in favor of dad and gave custody of my 2nd to his dad, I was ordered to pay support. I haven’t paid anything and he has now filed contempt for non-payment. Oh ya, I get child support for my first child.

    Without a job, having to stay home with my 3rd, can the court find me in contempt?

    • HowardIken

      The basic requirement for a finding of contempt is that you: a. willfully refused to obey the order and b. you have the ability to comply with the order. It sounds like both are not satisfied.

      • Stacy

        What if he finds out that I’ve been spending money, on like birthday party bounce houses, going to a theme park, karate for my oldest child… that sort of thing. My parents help pay my bills, aside from the ssdi and child support i get. So, i won’t get in trouble? And i can continue to not pay?

        • HowardIken

          I would never give that kind of advice on this forum. That sort of guidance and analysis is only done in-person, to clients that retain us. I do not know enough about your case to go further on this issue.

          • Stacy

            I get it. Sorry. I should make sure he don’t know. Thank you for the insight

  • Brigitte

    I am a single mother of one child, never married the father, he has signed the birth certificate, and I have an open child support case. The father has not paid anything and has not contacted his child. My question is, I need to get a passport for my child and he hasn’t responded to fill out the forms to give consent, is there a way I can get full custody or how can I get a passport without his consent. I am not even sure where he is, it’s not like he contacts his child or pays anything.

    • HowardIken

      You need to file a paternity case to establish your respective rights. A judge can respond to a properly filed motion to allow issuance of a passport, and the resulting order would be followed by the US Dept of State

      • Brigitte

        Thank you I appreciate your advise

  • John

    My son is 18 now and in the divorce agreement I only have to pay until he is 18 how do I file to remove him from child support

    • HowardIken

      If you do not pay through the state disbursement unit – then just stop paying. Otherwise you must file a Supplemental Petition.

  • Carrie

    I am a single mom of 2 boys. There has never been a child support order. I have gone through child support enforcement since 2004 and I have not gotten anywhere with them. I gave them my boys father’s information (all that I had) he lives out of state. I feel because I am not on welfare I am not a priority with the state. They have no reason to seek childsupport fory my boys because the state is not paying me money that the state can collect from my boys father. Can I sue the state for back childsupport and then the state can go after the father.

    • HowardIken

      I am not aware of any situation where the state was liable for support.

  • Jodi

    I have majority time sharing with my daughter in Littleton, CO however in December of 2013 she turned 18 and chose to move out of my house and back to her mothers. She then registered back in high school to graduate in FL and now I am being billed for medical costs, am I liable for these charges?

    • HowardIken

      We would need to review your final judgment.

  • Lisa Lawrence

    My husband has a 17 year old daughter whom he found out about in 2006 when the original order for Paternity and Child support was issued. The child will be 18 in July of 2015 has since had her own child and no longer lives with the mother. The mother has filed a Modification asking for more support this case is managed by the State of Florida DOR my question is, since the child no longer lives with the mother is he still required to pay child support and if so to whom?

    • HowardIken

      If she is living independently, with child – I would say child support should terminate. But the DOR is not one to listen to reason.

  • bridget

    ORDER SETTING TRIAL DATE AND ORDER OF REFERRAL TO MAGISTRATE – 12/16/14 1:30PM
    for modification of parenting plans and child support. i now have more overnights and my ex is getting a raise which will lower my support. however she has orchestrated her raise to not occur until after our court date tuesday. what is my best recourse; fill out the child support with what she makes now and my increased overnights (one week on and one week off) and then reopen the case yet once again when her raise comes in or can we just add the raise in early?

    • HowardIken

      You can argue the raise will happen in a couple of days. It is relevant evidence.