Articles Posted in Child Support

In Florida divorce actions, the courts will typically issue judgments of dissolution establishing the parties’ rights and obligations with regard to disputed issues like child custody, spousal and child support, and property division. If a court fails to adequately demonstrate the reasoning behind its decision or neglects to take into consideration key evidence, either party may be able to pursue an appeal. In a recent Florida opinion issued in a divorce action, the court explained the grounds for challenging a final judgment of dissolution. If you intend to end your marriage, it is smart to speak with a Miami divorce attorney regarding what measures you can take to protect your rights.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced. During the final hearing, the trial court orally explained its findings on the record. The court subsequently issued a final judgment of dissolution, defining rights and obligations with regard to alimony, timesharing and custody rights, and relocation. The husband then appealed, arguing several points of error. Specifically, he challenged the adequacy of the record on appeal, particularly regarding affidavits related to financial situations, which he failed to include. Additionally, he disputed the start date for child support payments, as the trial court set it before the child’s residency with him ended.

Grounds for Challenging a Final Judgment of Dissolution

On appeal, the court largely affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that while the final dissolution judgment did not precisely adhere to the criteria outlined in the Florida Statutes, the trial court provided oral findings during the final hearing to justify its rulings on relocation, alimony, and timesharing. Further, the court found these findings were backed by ample evidence presented during the proceedings, indicating that the decisions were well-supported despite not aligning perfectly with statutory parameters. Continue reading ›

In Florida, parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their children. Typically, this obligation ends at eighteen. If a parent did not provide financial support for their child while the child was a minor, however, their co-parent may be able to recover retroactive support, even after the child has reached the age of majority. This was illustrated in a recent Florida opinion in which the court explained that the statute does not limit the right to recover retroactive support to parents of minor children. If you have questions about child support, it is smart to meet with a Miami child support attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Setting of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father had two children together. The Department of Revenue initiated a case to establish paternity and establish child support for their children. The Administrative Law Judge conducted a video proceeding, where the parties stipulated paternity, and it was acknowledged that both children had resided solely with the mother.

Reportedly, during the hearing, the Judge expressed uncertainty regarding awarding child support to the older child, who had turned eighteen before the service of the Department of Revenue’s petition. The court ultimately concluded that the older child was no longer a ‘child’ and, therefore, the court lacked statutory authorization for retroactive child support. The Department of Revenue appealed. Continue reading ›

Florida law dictates that parents must support their children financially. As such, in many instances in which parents share custody of a child, the Florida courts will order one parent to pay the other child support. In recognition of the fact that circumstances often change over time, the law permits parties to request modifications to child support orders as well. As discussed in a recent opinion delivered in a Florida child support case, such a request should be granted if the requesting party demonstrates a substantial and lasting change in their financial situation. If you need assistance with a child support dispute, it is wise to contact a Miami child support attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Setting

Reportedly, the parties were married in 2004 and had two children during their marriage. After ten years of marriage, they divorced. The final judgment of dissolution incorporated the parties’ parenting plan and marital settlement agreement, which stipulated, in part, that neither party would be obligated to pay child support because they had equal timesharing and similar incomes at the time of the agreement.

Allegedly, in 2018, the wife filed a petition for modification, alleging a substantial decrease in her income since the final judgment, making it impossible for her to afford their children’s needs. She further asserted that the husband’s income had substantially increased since the divorce and asked the trial court to modify the judgment to require the Former Husband to pay child support following the statutory guidelines. The court denied her request, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida child support cases, it is unfortunately not uncommon for the parent obligated to pay support to fail to uphold their duties. If they do, they can be held in contempt. The party seeking a contempt order and arrearages must act in a timely manner, however, otherwise, they may be precluded from recovering the amounts owed due to the defense of laches. In a recent Florida child support case, the court provided a valuable overview of the affirmative defense of laches, ultimately determining that it did not apply. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is in your best interest to meet with a Miami child support attorney to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties divorced in 1994, and the former husband was ordered to pay child support until their child was emancipated in 2005. However, in 1995, the former husband ceased paying child support through the disbursement unit, citing job loss, and instead paid the former wife $100 weekly, with a promise to resume full payments when he found employment. Unfortunately, he never did.

Allegedly, a Judgment/Certificate of Delinquency was filed but expired in 2016. In 2017, the former wife initiated a motion for contempt, which the general magistrate deemed “premature.” The magistrate instructed the former wife to file a motion to determine the child support arrearage, but she never did. Two years later, the former husband passed away, leaving his entire estate to his long-term girlfriend, who subsequently also passed away. Following these events, the former wife filed an independent action to collect the owed amount, totaling $282,070.64. Continue reading ›

In divorce actions involving children, it is not uncommon for the parties to come to an agreement regarding custody and child support. In most instances, such agreements are enforceable, and a party that fails to abide by the terms of their agreement may be held in contempt. As discussed in a recent Florida case in which the court affirmed a contempt ruling against a party that paid child support via unauthorized means, strict compliance is often required. If you are considering filing for divorce and you have minor children, you should consult a Miami child support attorney to determine your potential rights and obligations.

Case Background

It is alleged that the husband and the wife divorced; during their dissolution proceedings, they entered into a settlement agreement that required the husband to channel his child support payments through the state disbursement unit. However, following a motion for contempt and enforcement by the wife, a court order decreed that the husband would only receive credit for payments made through the disbursement unit.

It is reported that despite this, the husband persisted in making direct payments directly to his ex-spouse. This recalcitrant behavior prompted another motion for contempt/enforcement by the wife, culminating in a subsequent order that denied the husband credit for the direct payments and imposed a $33,000 purge. The husband then appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida child support cases, the courts typically refer to statutory guidelines to determine what constitutes an appropriate obligation. While the courts are permitted to deviate from the guidelines, if they do so, they generally must demonstrate that the deviation is warranted. In a recent Florida opinion issued in a child support matter, the court discussed what constitutes appropriate grounds for a deviation. If you have questions about what steps you can take to protect your interests in a child support case, it is advisable to speak with a Miami child support attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the mother filed a lawsuit seeking to establish sought to ascertain paternity. She also requested child support and other relief. The father responded pro se to the petition but did not file a counterpetition. After a DNA test confirmed the father’s biological paternity, the trial court issued a final judgment establishing his legal and biological paternity and ordered him to pay child support. The mother appealed on the grounds that the child support obligation was less than half of the amount recommended under the statutory guidelines.

Deviation from Child Support Guidelines

On appeal, the court reversed the child support ruling, noting that the trial court did not cite sufficient reasons for deviation. While the child support guidelines are clearly rebuttable, if a court deviates more than five percent from them, it must set forth either in writing or on the record why an award that aligned with the guideline amount would be inappropriate or unjust. Continue reading ›

Under Florida law, parents have a duty to provide financial support for their children. In the context of custody cases, this obligation is often the impetus for imposing a child support obligation. The courts determine what constitutes an appropriate amount of child support by analyzing numerous factors, including each parent’s income. If a parent is willfully underemployed, however, the courts may impute income to them. In a recent Florida case in which the court ultimately reversed the trial court ruling, the court discussed the grounds for imputing income to a parent. If you have questions about your rights with regard to child support, it is in your best interest to speak to a Miami child support lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the mother and the father divorced in 2014. During their divorce, they agreed to a marital settlement and parenting plan; pursuant to the plan, the mother had the majority of timesharing with the couple’s two children and home-schooled them. In 2019, the husband filed a petition to modify the timesharing and child support, seeking equal timesharing and claiming that the mother was voluntarily underemployed. He argued that modifying the timesharing would allow her to work more hours and increase her income.

Allegedly, following a hearing, a magistrate recommended modifying the timesharing to be more equal, ending the home-schooling arrangement, and imputing additional income to the mother. The mother filed exceptions to the recommendation, and the trial court largely adopted the report but granted her exception regarding the imputation of income and remanded the issue for further consideration. Following subsequent hearings, the magistrate again recommended imputing additional income to the mother, claiming she voluntarily cut her work hours in half and had not shown effort in finding alternative employment. The trial court adopted the report and recommendation. The mother then appealed. Continue reading ›

Co-parents frequently disagree as to how parental rights and obligations should be divided. Thus, the courts will typically issue orders delineating each parent’s duties. If a party fails to uphold the terms of a child custody or support order, they may be found in contempt. As discussed in a recent Florida child support case, however, the courts generally will not hold a party in contempt unless they find they willfully disregarded a court order. If you are involved in a dispute over child support, it is smart to talk to a Miami child support lawyer about your options.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that in 2017, a magistrate entered a report and recommendations to establish paternity and parental responsibility for a minor child, including a parenting plan and child support obligations. Among other things, the plan required the father to pay 70% of the child’s educational expenses and 50% of the cost of the child’s extracurricular activities. In 2018, the mother filed a motion for contempt and enforcement, alleging that the father failed to pay extracurricular expenses and private school tuition. The parties returned to court in 2019, and the magistrate determined that the father was not obligated to pay for private school tuition as an “educational” expense and that the father was not in contempt for extracurricular activity expenses. The mother dismissed her objections to the magistrate’s report and recommendations.

Allegedly, in 2020, the mother filed an amended motion for contempt, alleging that the father failed to pay child support and various expenses owed under the original final judgment and a subsequent stipulated order. Specifically, the mother alleged that the father was in contempt for failing to pay 70% of the tutoring expenses. The trial court conducted a hearing where it was established that the tutoring was provided by a privately-owned tutoring company that offered after-school educational programs. The court found the father in contempt for failing to pay his share of tutoring expenses, which the court concluded were educational expenses. The court also ordered the father to pay for the mother’s attorney’s fees and costs. The father appealed. Continue reading ›

Income is one of the numerous factors the Florida courts consider when determining obligations and rights with regard to child support. Unfortunately, parties will sometimes attempt to inappropriately alter support obligations by refusing to obtain gainful employment. In such instances, pursuant to the Florida child support guidelines, the courts can impute income to them. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida child support case in which the court found that the trial court erred in failing to consider the wife’s earning potential based on her recent employment. If you have questions about child support, it is prudent to meet with a Miami child support lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the parties married in Michigan and had two minor children. They each filed petitions for dissolution in 2019; the husband in Michigan and the wife in Florida. They were divorced in Florida, and the court merged and incorporated their confidential settlement agreement into the final judgment of the divorce. While the agreement contained provisions regarding child support, the court crossed out those sections, and they were not part of the final judgment.

Reportedly, the parties then determined that Florida was the proper jurisdiction for child support and child custody issues between the parties. The wife then filed a motion to establish temporary child support. The husband moved to dismiss the motion in light of the settlement agreement. The court issued an order directing the husband to pay almost $3,000 per month in support. It also imputed income to the wife at the level of minimum wage. The husband appealed on numerous grounds. Continue reading ›

In many Florida divorces, the parties will draft a marital settlement agreement that sets forth the terms of the dissolution of their marriage. Such agreements are contracts and, like any other contract, are enforceable by the courts. The courts will typically look at the terms of the agreement to determine each party’s rights and obligations; when the terms of a marital settlement agreement are ambiguous, though, the court may need to consider outside evidence, as discussed in a recent Florida ruling issued in a divorce action. If you or your spouse intend to seek a divorce, it is wise to speak to a Miami divorce lawyer about what measures you can take to protect your rights.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married and had two minor children during their marriage. They subsequently divorced, and the trial court entered a final dissolution judgment in 2001. The court orally entered the parties’ marital settlement agreement into the record and incorporated it as part of the final judgment. The judgment contained a provision related to child support that stated each party would pay half of each child’s college expenses.

Allegedly, the wife moved for enforcement of the judgment, arguing that the husband refused to pay half of the children’s college expenses. The husband sought discovery, but the wife objected to all of his requests. The husband filed a response in opposition to the wife’s motion, arguing that the phrase “college expenses” was latently ambiguous and, therefore, the court should consider parol evidence to determine the intent of the agreement. The trial court did not permit such evidence and entered a judgment against the husband. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›