After a judgment of child support has been entered obligating you to pay a specific amount for your child, there are few reasons for neglecting these payments. In the state of Florida, both legal parents are required to support their child financially, and equally bear the burden of the financial requirements of a child. This is why child support was first developed. Therefore, failure to pay your child support obligations can result in large penalties or even criminal punishment. Discuss with your Florida Child Support Attorney the viable reasons for a change or termination of child support payments.
It is important to note, there are no valid reasons to terminate your child support payments on your own. You are required and legally obligated to continue to pay your child support payments until a court relieves you of this obligation. Therefore, even if you have a valid reason for terminating or modifying your child support payments, you cannot engage in self-help. Rather, you must petition the court for a modification or termination. Failure to make your payments without a court order regarding your modification or termination can result in a contempt order entered against you.
There are valid reasons for termination or modification of your child support. Within Florida statute 61.13(1)(a)(2) child support will terminate upon the child turning the age of majority, 18, when the child graduates high school, when the child becomes emancipated, if the minor child becomes married, passes away, or the child enters the military. However, while some judgments or settlement agreements may designate a specific date of the termination of child support regarding the child’s 18th birthday, others will not be able to specify a certain date. Therefore, you may need to petition the court to notify them of one of the substantial changes resulting in the termination of a child support award. Proper evidence of a marriage, enlistment, or death, is all that is necessary to provide the court with adequate cause to terminate a child support order.
In contrast, a modification of a child support order must always be approved by the court. A modification of a child support order may only occur if a substantial change in circumstances, unanticipated by the parties, and permanent in nature occurs. Such circumstances may involve a significant injury impacting the obligated party, preventing them from retaining gainful employment or any employment at all. Further, a loss of a job of any kind, after significant and diligent effort to retain similar and equal pay elsewhere to no avail, may result in a proper modification. However, if you do lose your job, you may not withhold child support payments voluntarily. This will result in a contempt of court action. Instead, you must petition the court and provide evidence of your significant change in circumstances, warranting a modification.
Overall, there are valid reasons for a change or termination of a child support award. However, you must proceed with court action prior to making any of these changes, or terminating your payments. Contact a Florida Child Support Attorney today to discuss your options of modifying or terminating your child support payments.
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