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Consequences of Not Paying Florida Child Support

If a court orders you to pay child support, I have two words for you: Pay It.  Child support is taken so seriously by the Florida and federal government that it is one of the few types of debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, and it can be enforced against you no matter which state in this country you live in or move to.

The Florida Statutes and Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure provide several consequences of not paying support.

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Modifying Florida Alimony

Now that Senate Bill 718 on alimony reform has been vetoed by Florida Governor Rick Scott, many Tampa Bay residents are wondering whether there is any way to modify or terminate their alimony obligations.  The answer, in many cases, may be yes.

Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes states that most types of alimony may be modified or terminated when there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the receiving spouse’s need for alimony or the paying spouse’s ability to pay. Case law tells us that a “substantial change in circumstances” means a change that was unanticipated at the time the alimony was ordered by the Court, and a change that is permanent, involuntary, and material. Examples of substantial changes in circumstance that may justify upward or downward modification include health issues, long-term unemployment, a big raise, or a large inheritance.

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Mandatory Disclosure in Florida Family Law Cases

The Florida Supreme Court provides the following commentary on Mandatory Disclosure in Florida family law cases:

Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires each party in a dissolution of marriage to exchange certain information and documents, and file a Family Law Financial Affidavit, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(b) or (c). Failure to make this required disclosure within the time required by the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure may allow the court to dismiss the case or to refuse to consider the pleadings of the party failing to comply. This requirement also must be met in other family law cases, except adoptions, simplified dissolutions of marriage, enforcement proceedings, contempt proceedings, and proceedings for injunctions for domestic or repeat violence. The Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.932, lists the documents that must be given to the other party. For more information see rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, and the instructions to the Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.932.

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Steps for Paying Florida Child Support Online – One Time Payments

The folks at the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court have made a pamphlet available explaining how to make one time child support payments online.  Below you will find the steps:

  1. Go to www.myfloridacounty.com;
  2. Click on “Pay Child Support & View Payment History;”
  3. Click “Pay Child Support Online;”
  4. On the “Add Case” screen, enter the Case Number to which the payment is being applied.  If making payments on multiple cases, each case should be added before proceeding to the next screen.  You have two options to enter the Case Number:  Read more

Pew Report Observes Non-Resident Fathers

A recent report conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographics Trends project makes some interesting findings:

  • “Absent” or “non-resident” fathers are defined as those that do no live with their children;
  • The number of children not living with their father has doubled from 1960 to 2010;
  • Four in ten non-resident fathers communicate with their children several times a week, while one in five spend time with their children more than once a week;
  • One in three non-resident fathers report that they talk or exchange e-mail with their children less than once a month; and
  • Twenty-seven percent of absent fathers say they have not seen the children at all in the past year.

In Florida, generally speaking, each parent has a right to spend time with his or her children, and each parent has a responsibility to contribute financially to the child’s support.  If there is a court order pertaining to child custody, these rights and responsibilities can usually be enforced by contempt.

If you have questions regarding paternity or child custody and you wish to speak with a Florida family law lawyer, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our online form.

Family Law News: U.S. Congressman in Court over Back Child Support

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) will be in a family court because he has failed to pay ordered child support.  His former wife claims that the congressman is in arrears of $117,000.00, including interest, for the parties’ three children.  The Sun-Times also reports that Representative Walsh admits not paying the ordered child support, but did so based on an agreement with his former wife:

Walsh said he had a “verbal agreement” with his ex-wife allowing him to stop paying child support because his income had fallen, hers had gone up, and the children were living with him as much as with her.

[Ms. Laura Walsh’s attorney] Coladarci said [Rep.] Walsh should have gone to court to modify the judge’s order regarding child support if he felt he couldn’t afford the payments because the court order is an obligation to the couple’s children, not to his ex-wife.

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When Is Permanent Alimony Not Permanent? When There Has Been A Substantial Change In Circumstances.

When a judge orders a spouse to pay permanent periodic alimony, he or she may feel resigned to a lifetime of indebtedness to the one person he or she is trying to forget about. It’s that word, “permanent,” that seems so…well…permanent. But, believe it or not, Florida law has contemplated that there are times when permanent alimony may no longer be appropriate (or when the amount of alimony may be reduced).

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What is a General Magistrate?

If you have a family law case in Florida, your matter may be referred to a general magistrate under Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.490.  But what is a general magistrate?

A general magistrate is simply an attorney appointed by the Court with the power to (i) conduct a hearing and (ii) make a recommendation to the judge on how a particular pleading or issue should be ruled on.  General magistrates keep the keep the family law system moving by taking some of the load off of the judges’ busy schedules.  In Hillsborough County, general magistrates are most commonly utilized in post-judgment cases (e.g., modification of a child support or alimony order).

If you have questions regarding a post-judgment or other family law matter and you are seeking to retain an attorney in Tampa Bay, you can schedule a consultation by calling The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.

Video: Paying Child Support Online

The following video from the Florida Association of Clerks of the Court discusses how parents and others can make child support payments online through http://www.myfloridaclerks.com:

I recommend utilizing the online portal as a way to keep track of your child support payments in case the other party claims that you have not been fulfilling your support obligation and initiates an enforcement action.  It is also important to have evidence, such as a printout from myfloridaclerks.com, to show you are current on payments in case you are attempting to modify your child support obligation.

If you have questions regarding child support and are looking to retain a Florida Child Support Lawyer, you can schedule a consultation by calling The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or by filling out our contact form.

Hillsborough County – New Child Custody Proceedings Administrative Order

Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) recently entered a new administrative order that pertains to child custody proceedings.  Below is a summary of AO S-2011-014:

  1. For Chapter 751 Proceedings (Temporary Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family):
    1. Uncontested and Contested Proceedings:  Petitions for temporary custody of a minor child by an extended family member (i.e., grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.) must be written and signed under oath, and filed with the clerk of the court.  The case will be assigned to the Family Law/Domestic Relations Division.  An executed Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement (“UCCJEA”) Affidavit must be included with the petition.  If the petition is being filed with the parents’ permission, written, signed, and notarized consents must be provided, unless the parents provide their consents in open court.  If a petitioner is alleging that a parent has abandoned a child, the petitioner must have evidence of abandonment.
    2. Pending Dependency Proceedings:  If a dependency case is pending when a petition for temporary custody has been filed, the Family Law judge may transfer the petition to the Juvenile Dependency Division. Read more