This is the next post in my series discussing how Brevard County Courts deal with Melbourne parents who are behind on or stopped paying their child support. My last post explained how the Court deals with the non-payment of child support. In this article I will discuss why communication is important and how informing the other parent that child support will be late can save both parties time and legal fees.
There are several reasons why one may not be able to fully make their child support payments for the month. It may be that an unexpected cost has arisen, or an emergency has occurred, to which funds have been unexpectedly diverted to. There is the possibility that one has unexpectedly made less money for the month than usual or as expected. This could be because either one has lost their job or works in a commission or service based industry. And then there are the occasions when a parent has simply mismanaged their budget and spent child support money in other areas. If a parent is generally responsible and on time with their child support payments, but has experienced a one time temporary emergency, then they can often work something out with the other parent. But it is important for the paying parent to call the other immediately when it is clear that finances will be short.
There are many reasons why one should contact the other parent. First, it is the responsible and polite thing to do. Remember, the other parent most likely relies on these payments to pay certain bills, buy groceries, or to purchase clothing for the child or children that the two of you share. If the paying parent lets the other know in advance that they will be short for the month then the receiving parent may be able to plan accordingly. Second, it is important to attempt to pay the other parent some amount, even if it is not the full support payment. Attempting to give something shows an act of good faith. Third, it is important to present to the other parent a plan to catch up on the payment, whether that means paying extra over the course of a few months, or being able to make up the full amount in a certain period of time.
If the paying parent has lost their job, been demoted, or is making less money than they did when the support order was made then it is also polite to inform the other parent if one plans to ask the court for a reduction. Again, this gives the other parent time to adjust their own budget, which in turn, is meant to benefit your child. By keeping the lines of communication open, and letting your child’s mother or father know what is happening, you reduce the risk that a formal complaint will be filed in Court.
Once a parent files a complaint with the Court, not only will the delinquent parent have to pay the full amount of support they owe, but they may also have to pay legal fees as well as interest on the payment. While communicating with the other party cannot guarantee that they will not file a Motion with the Court, keeping them informed of your financial situation shows responsibility and that one takes their obligations seriously. When a parent cannot make their monthly payment then the most important thing is to not ignore the situation. One must make the best attempt to reconcile the situation.
If you are in a situation involving child support arrears then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne family law attorney. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.