In mid-September, a Florida man pleaded guilty to owing over $90,000 in child support. He hadn’t made a single payment since 2012, at which time he already owed over $60,000 in Florida child support. He now faces up to two years in jail and a $250,000 fine. What’s more, in addition to the jail time and hefty fine, he still must pay the $90,000 in overdue child support.
While this man is an extreme case, the lesson should be clear: Florida law expects support orders to be followed.
Here is a little about how the child support system works, including how child support is determined.
Once parents have gone their separate ways, child support is required if a child support order has been filed.
Florida views child support as a right every child has to ensure the child is consistently provided for. Whether it is shelter, food, clothing, or any other necessities, the state of Florida holds the child’s needs as paramount.
This court order specifies the amount and type of child support the parents need to provide for the children. Under the child support order, there are many benefits included, such as: the amount of child support required to be paid, paternity benefits (where the father gets legal rights in cases where the mother wasn’t married at time of the child’s birth), and medical insurance plans. Any medical costs that are not covered under medical insurance plans are also included in the benefits.
There are two different ways to get a child support order in the state of Florida: administrative and judicial. For the administrative route, parents avoid a court hearing by determining the type of support and amount with an official. The judicial process requires a court hearing for a judge to evaluate financial information; after which, he will then inform the parents of his decision on the amount and type of support to be included in the order.
After the type and amount of child support has been determined, it is quite easy to make and receive payments, using the Florida Department of Revenue’s website. Payments can even be made by cash, check, in person or by mail. If a payment can’t be made due to circumstantial changes, Florida allows for modifications to the child support order be filed.
In any case, it is important to have a knowledgeable, experienced attorney by your side through child support cases. Counsel will help you correctly file orders, modifications, and clue you in on where you are at in the process.