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After divorce, written agreements help with back child arrears

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2019 | Family Law, Firm News

After a Florida divorce, child support is a hot-button issue that affects many couples as well as their children. If it was a high conflict divorce, the likelihood is that the parting of the ways will not eliminate all the issues that were evident when the divorce took place. That can sometimes impact child support and lead to disagreements, including the failure on the part of the supporting parent to make the child support payments on time and in full.

Although there are many viable reasons why a supporting parent might fall behind on the child support, it still must be paid. Rather than deal with the penalties that the state can use to compel the parent to pay, such as a driver license suspension, the suspension of a professional license, passport denial and more, it could be beneficial for the supporting parent to sign a written agreement. Understanding the written agreement and how it is useful is imperative before signing.

The written agreement is essentially a promise from the paying parent that he or she will make the payments to catch up on past-due payments. This is generally done monthly. It is used most frequently when the parent is unable to pay the arrears at once. This can be due to job loss, financial difficulty and other problems.

The parent will be asked to go to a local child support office to sign. This is a wise strategy to avoid the enforcement actions that will often do little other than make the supporting parent’s situation worse. The parent’s capability of paying is factored in when the payments are determined. There might be a lump sum involved. Should the parent not make the payments after a written agreement, enforcement actions are likely.

The written agreement is not a modification of the child support order, but is a strategy to prevent the enforcement actions. Those who have already had their driver’s license suspended should contact the child support program to use a written agreement for reinstatement. This is the fastest method for lifting the suspension, short of paying what is owed immediately. Parents who are not getting what they are supposed to in child support and those who are behind in their payments and dealing with enforcement should have legal assistance throughout the process. A divorce attorney will understand all aspects of family law and can help.