Temporary relief is a common issue. Frequently we have clients that need immediate resolutions prior to a final order in their case, such as child support. Temporary motions are frequently filed with the Court to provide parties with some relief while their case is still pending.
If you lose your job in Florida and there is a child support order in place ordering you to pay child support, you MUST file for a modification of child support. If you do not file for a modification you will likely be held in contempt of Court for failure to pay and you will still owe the FULL amount due even if you were unemployed or earning less during that time. Child support is largely based on the income of the 2 parents, see our previous article for more information. So, by way of example, let's say you, as the Father are paying $800 / month in child support and that figure was Ordered by a Court at a time that you were earning $4000 / month. In November you lose your job - involuntarily, for now fault of your own.
We discussed in other blog articles how child-support is calculated in Florida. Basically, Child Support is an algebra formula that takes into consideration both parents and, childcare costs, healthcare costs, and the number of overnights that each parent legally has pursuant to a court order. One of the elements that gets litigated, or comes into question when we are trying to figure out child-support is what exactly each person's income is. When people own their own business, work multiple jobs, or have sources of income that are not standard W-2 employee salaries or hourly wages, figuring out what someone's income is to get challenging. One of the places that gets confusing is one of the parents is receiving SSI or SSDI.
The law in Florida has, until recently, been that incarnation is deemed voluntary on the part of the incarnated parent and therefore not a basis for modification of child support. However, the Obama administration may change that as soon as 2017 by reclassify incarceration as "involuntary". This may give incarcerated parents new options in terms of protecting themselves from exiting jail with extremely high child support arrears, which theoretically could end them back in jail and at best leaves these parents with insurmountable debt that they likely can never pay off. It also can leave these parents with a suspended driver's license and a revoked passport.
Reaching an agreement in a DOR Child Support case is no easy task. When a person, typically, but not always a mother, obtains assistance from the State of Florida in obtaining or enforcing child support she actually assigns her right of child support to the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR). Sometimes she does this voluntarily, meaning she contacts the State in hopes of getting them to assist her, and sometimes she gets their assistance whether she wants it or not. This happens when she attempts to get food stamps or cash assistance from the State of Florida, who, in return, says we will help but only if you allow us to go after the Father of the child for child support on your behalf. Sometimes the mother is aware that she has assigned her rights of child support and sometimes she is unaware of this fact.
Child Support assistance can be obtained from the Department of Revenue (DOR) in both initiating and enforcing child support in Florida. The Department of Revenue has an interest in helping caregivers obtain and enforce support because those who receive support are less likely to request or need cash assistance, food stamps and other subsidies. In fact, if you receive this type of assistance in Florida, whether you know it or not, you actually assign or give your right to child support over to the State of Florida. Yes, now it is their right to collect support, not yours.
Child support in Florida is calculated pursuant to a formula. Both parties technically owe support to their child and the amounts are calculated by using an algebra formula. We plug in amounts for certain variables and the formula tells you who owes whom how much money.