This morning I received a headline about a “Florida Deadbeat Dad.” I thought it was about child support, but as I read the article I realized it was a addressing certain issues regarding Florida politics. I really do not want to get into political issues on this forum. There are a lot of political bloggers who can provide you with their opinion on Florida politics. Instead, I want to address the legal implications of being labeled deadbeat dad.
The more common use of the label appears in child support cases. Men, you do not want to wear that title. You may be a great dad, but if you are not paying your child support, no matter what your opinion of your child’s mom may be, your child needs her/his child support. (occasionally this apply to mothers who have to pay child support, but more times than not it applies to the fathers).
That said, there are instances where circumstances may cause a drop in income and you can no longer pay child support in the amount set by the court. For example, a few years ago there was a man who was considered a superstar in the NFL. Some may even have viewed him as a prima donna. While I am not naming names, he changed his name to a number. During the 2012 season no longer playing football and the multimillionaire, could no longer pay child support. (See Baby Mama on Missed Child Support).
Similar to the football player, the current state of the economy has caused many men who had high 5-figure or even 6 figure incomes to be out of work or have their incomes cut in half. They either stop paying child support or pay substantially less child support. Unfortunately, no one tells them what they need to do. The courts do not provide guidance. Child Support Enforcement will not help. In fact in many cases, the mothers will come after these men and try to compel payment. A wide range of options are available to judges in these enforcement proceedings – pay the child support by a certain date, pay the mother’s attorneys’ fees, suspension of the father’s driver’s license, or even incarceration.
In situations like these, fathers need to seek a modification. Further, the best thing for fathers in these cases is to seek legal counsel. Again, no one is helping the fathers (or the mother if she has the child support obligation). Even if a father tries to do it himself, a mistake in the court filing will delay the process and the child support obligation will continue to add up. Legal counsel will make sure that the correct procedures are followed and the child support reduced consistent with your income.
If you have experienced a significant change in circumstances, Rich Bradford at (813) 413-2402 can guide you through the proper legal procedures to modify your child support payments accordingly, as well as answer other family law questions.