In any child support case, it is important if you are the parent with support obligation to contest aggressively through proper legal channels any overstatement of the amount of money you owe. For one Miami father, that recently meant going to the Third District Court of Appeal to contest a ruling that he owed seven and one-half years of child support based upon a temporary domestic violence injunction. The father was able to get that support arrearage reduced from 7.5 years down to just one year because the injunction expired after one year and the law doesn’t allow imposition of support based upon expired injunctions. If you find yourself, like this father, facing a claim that you owe a massive support arrearage, take action by retaining a skilled South Florida family law attorney to handle your case.
To understand what this case can mean for you, it helps to study the timeline. In August 2007, a trial court issued a “temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence with minor children” against K.C. As part of that case, the court ordered K.C., the father, to pay $351 every other week in child support to the mother, B.G..
Many years later, K.C. and B.G. were back in court, this time on a paternity action. At the conclusion of this case, the court decided that the temporary injunction was still in effect in March 2015, and that the father owed more than $28,000 in back child support for the preceding seven and one-half years.
The father appealed and he won. His argument was that the injunction expired in August 2008, so he could not possibly owe more than one year’s worth of back child support. The mother, in support of what the trial court ordered, argued that the law requires, in instances where a domestic violence injunction is issued, that child support continue until a paternity order is created by the court.
The mother’s argument did not succeed because of the nature of the injunction she received. The statutory section upon which she based her argument was one that applied to permanent injunctions. However, temporary injunctions are different. The domestic violence injunction statute does not have provision for the continuation of child support based on a temporary injunction. Even if the mother had obtained a permanent injunction, the father must still not have owed 7.5 years of back child support, as the statute allows (but does not require) courts to order that support. Instead the “trial court has the discretion to tailor the domestic violence injunction to give more or less relief based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.”
In K.C. and B.G.’s case, the court ordered that the injunction (and the child support) continue for one year “or until the final judgment for protection, if entered, is served.” There was no dispute that no final judgment of protection ever came into existence. Therefore, that meant the injunction expired in August 2008 and all of the arrearages based upon the period from Agust 2008 to March 2015 were improperly assessed based upon an expired injunction, which the law does not allow..
Whether you are involved in a dispute over child support, alimony or some other aspect of family law, consult the skilled South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Our attorneys are here to help. We have been providing clients with the effective representation they need for many years. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
What Happens to My Florida Child Support Obligation When One of My Children Moves in With Me?, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2018
What You Need to Prove in Order to Count Your Business Losses in Your Florida Child Support Calculation, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2018