Breaking up is hard enough, but when children are involved, the challenges multiply. Unmarried couples who decide to separate often find themselves in a myriad of concerns. At the top of this list is the well-being of their children and the support they will need.
Calculating child support
When determining child support payments, the court considers various factors, including each parent’s income, the number of children and the custody arrangement. Child support guidelines in most states, including Florida, provide a formula to calculate the amount based on these factors. It is important to gather accurate financial information and provide it to the court to ensure a fair calculation.
Both parents should be transparent about their income and financial situation to ensure fairness and accuracy. It is crucial to provide accurate documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements, as requested by the court.
Enforcing child support orders
Sometimes, even after a child support order is in place, one parent may fail to make the required payments. If you are not receiving the child support you are entitled to, you have options for enforcement.
- Income withholding: The court can order the nonpaying parent’s employer to deduct the child support amount directly from their wages. They will then distribute the withheld funds to the appropriate agency to the custodial parent.
- Contempt of court: If a parent willfully and intentionally refuses to comply with a child support order, the custodial parent can file a motion to hold the noncompliant parent in contempt of court. The nonpaying parent may face fines, wage garnishment or even imprisonment if found guilty.
- Suspension of licenses: Suspension of their professional licenses, such as driver’s or occupational licenses, can incentivize nonpaying parents to fulfill their financial responsibilities.
- Liens and seizure of assets: If child support arrears accumulate over time, then the court may place a lien on the nonpaying parent’s property, such as their home or vehicle. If they could sell it, then the custodial parent would receive the owed child support from the proceeds. In extreme cases, the court may seize assets to satisfy the outstanding child support debt.
- Reporting to credit bureaus: Nonpayment of child support can significantly impact the noncompliant parent’s credit score. The custodial parent can report the delinquent payments to credit bureaus, affecting the nonpaying parent’s ability to secure loans or obtain credit in the future.
- Passport denial: This measure prevents them from traveling internationally until they fulfill their child support obligations.
For unmarried parents, ensuring fair child support payments is crucial for the well-being and upbringing of their children. Parents can confidently navigate child support by understanding the calculation process, providing accurate financial information and seeking legal assistance. Remember, child support is a legal obligation, and both parents are responsible for contributing to their child’s welfare.