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Child Support Obligations and Contempt of Court in South Florida


If you still have your job but your employer has reduced your salary for an open-ended but temporary period as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are one of the lucky ones.  Almost every family that created a parenting plan in or before 2019 has found that the circumstances in 2020 make it virtually impossible to follow the terms of the parenting plan to the letter.  If you have been able to see your children at all since the pandemic reached Florida, that is reason enough to be grateful.  In other words, times were not especially easy in 2019 for many divorced parents, but as the reopening of businesses remains risky and the next wave of coronavirus relief legislation hangs in the balance, you are not alone if you are struggling to pay the amount of child support specified in your child support order.  Your ex-spouse can file a motion to hold you in contempt of court, but a South Florida child support lawyer can help you persuade the court not to grant the motion or can help you purge the contempt.

The Court Cannot Force You to Pay More Than You Earn

When John and Eva Larsen divorced, John was working as an airline pilot, and the court based his child support obligations on his income from that job.  It also ordered him to bear some responsibility for the children’s health insurance and medical bills.  The court’s decision about an appeal that John filed in 2007 does not go into detail about the reasons, but John was unable to meet all his court-ordered financial obligations.  It appears that he stopped working as a pilot and took a job with lower pay.  By 2007, he was paying Eva only $500 per month in child support, but he owed much more.

When Eva took John back to court, the court ordered him to pay approximately $1600 per month in child support.  This figure includes current monthly child support payments plus installments on past-due child support and John’s share of the children’s medical costs which Eva had paid by herself; he would effectively be reimbursing her for his share of the medical bills and health insurance payments.  When John was unable to meet this obligation, Eva filed a motion to hold him in contempt.  One of the conditions to purge this motion was that he had to sign his next paycheck over to Eva.

At the contempt hearing, John argued that his income was only $1700 per month.  Since he also had to pay $560 in rent and $200 in tax debts to the IRS, it was impossible for him to pay $1600 per month to Eva.  The court accepted his arguments and agreed to modify his child support obligations.

Let Us Help You Today

Your Boca Raton child support lawyer can persuade the court that, despite what your ex-spouse might say, you are suffering the same financial hardships as everyone else these days.  Contact Schwartz | White for help today.


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