Do not ignore a letter from the Florida Department of Revenue

You want to have a good relationship with your child, and you want to do your part to provide for him or her. However, you have suffered some major life changes since the original child support order, and after you make your payments, you do not have enough left over to live on. 

Apparently, your child's other parent does not respect your struggles and has contacted the Florida Department of Revenue. If you have received a letter to this effect, you need to act quickly, or you could find yourself in contempt of court.

Penalties for failing to pay child support

There are methods set up to ensure that you make your payments. For example, the district attorney could have your employer garnish your wages, or withhold your income tax refund and apply it toward child support. You could have your property seized. 

Not only could you lose some of the income and assets you so desperately need, but you could also lose your ability to work. You could face the suspension of your professional, business or driver's license. Contempt of court could even result in jail time. However, because these punitive methods are likely to make it more difficult for you to pay, they are typically a last resort.

You may be able to make changes in the amount you owe so that you are not violating the court order and putting yourself in jeopardy.

Eligibility for a modification of your support order

The court may agree that you really cannot make the payments the judge originally ordered you to pay. To prove your change of circumstances warrants a modification, you will have to provide evidence of your gross income, including the following:

  • Wages
  • Other earnings, such as bonuses, tips, overtime and commissions
  • Disability or Social Security benefits
  • Workers' compensation benefits
  • Retirement or pension payments
  • Income from trusts, annuities, interest, dividends or royalties

You must also provide verification of any other money that contributes to your gross income. Your former spouse will also have to provide all of this information. The judge will then reapply the state's standard calculations to determine the new amount.

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Rachel Rall, Attorney at Law, P.A.
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