Being a single parent is stressful. Not only is it hard, but according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by a single parent are more likely to commit suicide, end up in prison, drop out of high school, run away from home, abuse alcohol and drugs, become pregnant as a teen, as well as several other troubling issues. As a result of these findings, 17 states are stepping up and considering shared parenting legislation. If passed, these laws would do away with many sole custody rulings, and likely benefit the children involved.

Currently, courts typically award sole custody to one parent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 83% of cases are done this way. This creates a single parent and a “visitor” parent. This oftentimes leads to custody battles between the parents. While a shared parenting plan may require some work to figure out initially, child development researchers stress that children want shared parenting and do much better if they have it.

Not only do children of all ages tend to do better with shared parenting plans, research shows that shared parenting significantly increases child support compliance and reduces fighting and domestic violence between parents. A shared parenting plan also makes it possible for both parents to pursue their careers and social lives while sharing in the duties of raising a child.

Read the original article here.

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Heather Figueroa’s ex-husband owes her $57,000 in child support.

You can imagine her surprise, then, when the Florida Department of Revenue froze her accounts and attempted to take the money from her, rather than the other way around.

Rather than being short on money, waiting patiently for legal teams to track her ex down and make him pay, she became entirely out of money and destitute, due in large part to the state’s inability to track the man down.

Figueroa is baffled by this, seeing as how he has a regularly-updated Facebook page, which lists his employer, and even his home address. She is convinced that despite the Department of Revenue (DoR)’s protestations, she herself could find out how to get to his house and show up unannounced without difficulties.

According to the DoR, however, shutting off her bank account was not an oversight or a mistake. It turns out that Figueroa’s ex-husband was still listed on the account, so they had to make sure that he was in no way still financially involved in the account.

She provided proof that she was the sole individual involved in that account, so the process began to restore her access to it. She was worried that she would have to cancel her Son’s birthday celebration at Disneyland, and that her family would have to survive on the bits of cash in her wallet, but her access was restored quickly.

She is still looking forward to that $57,000 from her ex-husband, but for now, she’s had his name removed from her account, and she is relieved to simply be able to access her own money.

http://www.wfla.com/story/28563212/child-support-enforcement-gone-awry

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When a couple is facing divorce, it can be a difficult and emotional time. Couples that have children must inevitably work out child support. As money is involved, child support can be a contentious issue. Sometimes one spouse refuses to cooperate, and may withhold child support payments out of anger.

Recently in the news, a Florida man was arrested and charged with failing to make court-ordered child support payments over a 10-year period. As of December 4, 2014, Glen Caristinos of Safety Harbor, Florida, owed $119,094 in back child support. Despite earning as much as $282,844 per year, Caristinos paid only $22,259 in child support to his child’s mother since 2001. Caristinos was charged with a Class E federal crime that encompasses unpaid child support of more than $5,000, unpaid child support for longer than 2 years, and failure to pay child support for a child living in another state. If convicted, Caristinos faces a fine of up to $250,000 and 2 years in prison.

It is important that parents protect their children’s rights. If one parent is not paying his or her fair share of child support, an experienced child support lawyer can help. With your child’s best interest in mind, a knowledgeable family law attorney will pursue your child support claims aggressively.

Read original news article here.

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Mario Chalmers, point guard for the Miami Heat, has been in court a few times in recent years discussing child support for his daughter. He has been in court again recently, this time fighting a court order that increased his monthly child support amount to $10,000 a month.

Chalmers’s ex-girlfriend, Brittany Burrough, originally filed for child support back in 2012, at the amount of $800 per month. The court found that the child’s needs were met with that amount (in addition to what Burrough herself earned), and it was approved. Later on in 2013 when Chalmers signed a new contract that more than quintupled his pay, Burrough had the agreement amended, stating that the child’s needs had risen to $2,200 per month, eventually raising the child support payment to $2,600 a month.

Chalmers agreed to the payment because he wanted his daughter to be able to go to the best private schools, and part of the money was specifically for that purpose. His attorney, Nancy Hass, has said that since then, some of Burrough’s lifestyle choices have been alarming, and made it seem as if she were benefiting more from the child support payments than the daughter was.

Hass also has argued that $10,000 is drastically above and beyond the child’s needs, and that good fortune on the part of one parent does not necessarily mean the other parent should immediately benefit.

Burrough’s attorney, Roger Schindler, agreed to a point, but states that $6,000 of the total payment will be put aside into an account that both parents will have guardianship over, specifically for future needs such as college or emergency medical bills. He also went on to state that even the $10,000 is but a small, borderline-insignificant percentage of Chalmers’ monthly income, and that he spends at least that much on a personal assistant.

Chalmers’ attorney is fighting the legality of having a savings component for child support, stating that there isn’t even such a thing in alimony agreements. He also mentioned that Burrough remains employed only part-time, and is underutilizing her paralegal education.

It is unknown how the judge will rule at this time.

Source: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202678462190/Miami-Heat-Point-Guard-Mario-Chalmers-Contests-ChildSupport?slreturn=20141117180708

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Child support can be a major expense for anyone. What happens, though, when it is not just difficult to pay, but impossible?

By far the most common approach is to have the court hold them in contempt, and thrown in jail. There is a potential problem with this, however. Being thrown in jail prevents them from being able to earn any money in order to pay future child support, and chances are that once they’re released, they will be unemployed and with a criminal record to boot.

For many lower-income families, this can mean that the only way to pay back child support is to work 2 or even 3 jobs.

Luckily, however, there is a new trend that is slowly making its way around the country, and that is finding employment for individuals in order to pay off child support balances rather than throwing them in jail.

The latest example of this has shown up in Virginia, and it is a collaborative effort between social service agencies, the courts, and even fatherhood groups/programs.

While it is certainly a crime to neglect to pay child support, there is often much more going on than appears at first glance, and offering individuals the chance of working to pay off debts rather than spending time behind bars can only be seen as a good thing.

There are already dozens of success stories that have taken place in Virginia, and as the success of this program spreads, it is undeniable that it will continue to shift its way to other states. Keep your eyes peeled, because Florida could be next!

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/09/26/locking-up-parents-for-not-paying-child-support-can-be-a-modern-day-debtors-prison/

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When going through a divorce, an individual will likely have a thousand questions running through their minds. Who will get custody of our kids? How long will this take? How are we going to split assets? Is the family going to split, or stay close? Will I have enough money to live off comfortably afterwards? What about child or spousal support?

One of the questions that often is glossed over, however, is who will be paying for college?

According to Florida law, parents are legally required to provide support and education for their children. That means housing, food, clothes, other basic necessities, and schooling.

The problem is that this legal obligation stops once the child is no longer considered a dependent. This can be when the child turns 18, or it can be later if the child is still in high school or has a disability preventing self-support.

For most parents, though, child support stops around 18 years of age. This can be a problem for parents that have custody of their children and are receiving support payments from their ex-spouse. All of a sudden, the child is no longer dependent on you, and even though you want to be able to send your child to college, you’re facing the daunting bills all on your own.

This is where collaboration can really come in handy. It may be possible to have a court ordered stipulation where child support will continue past 18 for college expenses, but it’s much easier to simply sit down and discuss with your ex-spouse the desire to send your child to college. It’s in every parent’s best interest to see their child succeeding in college, so it’s important to do everything possible to ensure that future.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for solving these complex issues by yourself, but if you mention your concerns with your attorney, they will be able to provide you with the insight you need.

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A Florida grandmother recently found herself on the hook for thousands of dollars in child support, for a child that is not hers.

Avon Park resident Vickie Holsey started having issues in July 2013, when a court order required her to pay child support for her 2-year-old granddaughter. Further compounding the issue is that her son, the child’s father, turned 18 in January, and should now be the one legally responsible for the child’s upbringing.

All totaled, Holsey has been expected and is expected to pay over $4,000 in child support fees for a child that is not hers. She has teamed up with civil rights advocate Patricia Austin.

According to Austin, “Ms. Holsey came to me and asked me to help her because she did not know how to rectify the problem. I thought it very strange the Department of Revenue would be holding her responsible for paying for her son’s child support.”

The 2 women, after doing some research, have determined that there is no Florida statute that requires a grandparent to pay for child support. After confronting the Department of Revenue about the matter, they were told that the problem would be taken care of, and that Holsey’s paychecks would no longer be garnished.

Holsey is not satisfied with that outcome, and will be seeking reimbursement for the charges. She said to a DOR rep “we want answers as to why all this happened to begin with. I want people to understand I’ve had money wrongly taken from me and [I’m told] you’re trying to get me in the middle of a lawsuit.”

Their search is expected to continue until Holsey is reimbursed for what she has already paid.

Source: http://highlandstoday.com/hi/local-news/ap-grandmother-seeks-reimbursement-for-child-support-20140723/

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Whenever you see the topic of child support come up in the news, it is usually in a negative context. Someone is contesting their child support, or someone is fighting child support back payments, or someone is in jail for refusing to pay their child support and skipping town, etc.

Far less often do you hear about the individuals who suffer an employment setback, fall behind on their child support payments, and then make them back at a later date.

Even rarer still is a case that happened recently in Sarasota, Florida, where a man who was wanted by police for over $200k in child support payments voluntarily surrendered himself to Orange County Child Support Task Force sheriffs.

52-year-old Orange County resident Bismark Luis, who was at the time overdue on his child support payments by $233,539, turned himself in on July 16.

It is unknown exactly how long he was delinquent for, but his original child support agreement was signed over 13 years ago, in June 2001.

According to Luis, he was contacted a few months back and told that he might be facing federal prosecution because he disobeyed his support order and then crossed state lines. He chose to face his current charges, which were either full payment or serving 60 days in jail, rather than face federal prosecution.

Source: http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2014/July/17/Luis_arr-17Jul14.htm

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It seems that the tale of a spouse not paying their child/spousal support is as old as time. Even in this day and age where you can’t wiggle a toe without a GPS satellite pin-pointing your location, it seems as if people still try to get away with not paying their legally-mandated support.

One such case recently ended up with a Florida businessman going to jail for over $450,000 in child and spousal support payments for his ex-wife and children.

It had not been reported exactly how long the man was delinquent in his payments, but with that high a total, it is reasonable to assume his monthly payments were quite high. It’s possible that he got sick of paying, or that he fell on hard times and simply wasn’t able to pay any longer. In the eyes of the law, that does not excuse him, however. Especially since he waited long enough for the police to have to get involved.

According to reports, he was also charged with a separate account of dodging nearly $160,000 in child support.

He is currently being held in Orange County jail, with his bail amount set at $25,000. If you are having a hard time collecting your child support or spousal support payments, or are finding it hard to meet your required payment amount, do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced attorney immediately. They will be able to help you get the problem sorted out so that both sides are happy.

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There have been numerous stories in the news about so-called “deadbeat” parents who do not pay their child support payments.

Unfortunately, children across Southwest Florida aren’t receiving their child support payments for another reason entirely: The state of Florida itself.

There are almost 40,000 families in Florida that are reliant on child support, but for many of them, the state is holding part of, if not all, the payments. They are currently sitting on millions of dollars.

According to Joe Hargis, who has been paying his child support for 3 years, his son has not gotten a full payment for over 6 months. When he talked to the Department of Revenue to find out what was going on, he was told “it was a very small problem, it hardly happens.”

That might not be the case, however, as more and more parents across the state are reporting similar circumstances. Statewide, the number of families who have been affected is astronomically high, and they are owed almost $30 million in back payments.

According to statements from the Department of Revenue, most of the delays are perfectly normal, and are caused by information missing from the payments, such as the recipient’s correct address or phone number. In addition, however, they state that hardware issues in the system itself have caused for some delays.

Current regulations in Florida allow for the Department of Revenue to stop looking for recipeints fairly easily. After only 2 attempts, they can basically stop. That is not the only issue, though, as recipients who have not moved in years are still not receiving their full payments.

It is still being researched exactly what is going on with the payments, but rest assured that Florida will be facing nothing but increased scrutiny in the coming months.

If you or a loved one are having issues with child support payments, do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney. You may be owed back payments.

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