Child Support and Wage Garnishment

After a couple has decided to get a divorce, there are several issues that must be determined. Not only will the assets and liabilities need to be divided between the couple, but issues such as alimony, child custody, and child support will be determined. If you are considering a divorce from your spouse, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through and prepare you for the legal proceedings

Child Support in Florida

Child support in Florida is mandatory on behalf of both parents, barring the termination of parental rights. Being a parent is a fundamental right in the eyes of the state and as such, there are fundamental obligations to financially support children. Child support is determined through the evaluation of separate, but important, factors and the purpose behind the support is to ensure that a child receives the same amount of financial support that he or she would have if the parents had decided to remain married. In other words, the dissolution of the marriage should in no way impact the financial security of the children involved.

How to Determine Who Will Pay and How Much

The obligor and obligee of the child support depends entirely on the child custody arrangement established. If the person who is supposed to pay child support does not do so, and is still married to the other spouse who has custody of the child, the spouse who has custody of the child does not need to file for dissolution of marriage. He or she may petition the court for support and receive it if the court finds it equitable and just. This means that a couple does not have to be married to be able to receive child support (or alimony).

Child Support Between Co-Parents

Once the child support has been agreed upon at the dissolution of the marriage and within the settlement documents, it is the expectation that the person who is the non-custodial parent will be paying the full extent of child support; that number decreases if the parents share joint custody.

Delinquency and Wage Garnishment

When a parent who is responsible for child support obligations does not pay, the custodial parent who is supposed to be receiving the child support may file a petition with the court. The court may attach to or garner the wages of the delinquent parent. This can be accomplished through a court order to the employer of the delinquent parent who may be required pursuant to the court order to garnish or seize a portion of the delinquent parent’s salary to pay to the custodial parent for the child support. If the delinquent parent does not have a steady job, the court may still have access to the delinquent parent’s bank account or other earnings. The court could even garnish gambling winnings of the delinquent parent, depending if the casino is aware of the child support delinquency. It is important to note that an employer who is served a writ of garnishment may not taking further punishing actions against the employee in retaliation for the writ. The employer who retaliates against the employee will be considered to be in contempt of court.

Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation and more information regarding the issues surrounding divorce and child support.