How Can I Get Out of Paying Child Support?

Sun, Oct 18, 2015

General Legal Issues

17121925920_f09ccf01fc_bDespite what your friends, popular culture, or your new spouse may think, it is hard to get out of paying child support. There could be all the reasons in the world that you and they think that your child support amount is unreasonable, but the court doesn’t always care.

One way to possibly not pay child support is if you and your former spouse make about the same amount of money and share custody of the child about 50/50. Some child support agreements and judges would conclude that each parent would provide about the same amount of support and can afford the same amount of support so they wouldn’t pay each other. However, if the child has daycare costs that can’t be easily divided then someone would end up paying that…meaning the other parent would have to reimburse that in some way. However, perhaps you could work that out with some sort of trade for other expenses. Uncovered medical expenses and health insurance could also be a form of support you might need to pay, but that can also be remedied in various ways. Therefore, in the end, it is very possible that you will be able to avoid paying child support using this method. Of course, you have to be sure both parents are capable and desire this 50/50 split. It’s never fun to be stuck in a situation you can’t handle just because you want to avoid paying your ex-spouse money.

Another possible way to not pay child support is if you were to have custody of your child a lot more than the other parent and make less or similar amounts of money. That’s because the other person would pay you, rather than you pay them. This is usually because you are typically more responsible for the child’s day-to-day needs. Once again, it is not prudent to choose this if it is not in the best interest of you or your child.

Mediation often leads to inventive ways to settle child support disputes. You can cook up “trades” that would reduce or minimize child support for one or both parents. For example, if there were two children, maybe one parent pays for one and one for the other. Maybe one child needs more support than the other for medical reasons, so a trade is made in some way to modify support. Mediation can get creative and is much more preferable for those seeking to achieve agreements that are different from the norm and/or desire to have more of a say in their arrangements.

Of course, Florida has various rules for child support that can’t always be done away with—they were created for a reason. In addition, one parent might not be open to working out a child support plan that is not diligently following the state rules. So then, the couple will end up following the state guidelines for child support. This is a formula that relates to income, number of children from the marriage, health insurance costs, various required set costs the parent must pay, and other possible variables. Then there is some math done and a support figure is created which is then assigned to a parent. It’s pretty firm and stays in place until some cause is shown to change it or a certain amount of time has passed and circumstances have changed.

In addition, you can’t just quit your job and claim you can’t afford child support. Believe it or not, the court can impute income based on what they think you should be making.

I hope that parents want to see their children and do what is right for them despite child support concerns. However, we all know this is sadly not the case. Many, many parents run out on their child support obligations or disappear from their child’s life altogether. Maybe they don’t pay at all, or don’t pay on time, or pay sporadically. In these cases the parent not receiving the child support has some options. You can try to create a pay plan with the spouse that is officially documented, you could go back to mediation, or you could use the state child support enforcement. There are many penalties for those not paying the proper child support. Nevertheless, this doesn’t guarantee the parent that is supposed to be receiving the child support will ever get it; you can’t get blood from a stone.

An interesting ploy that some parents have tried to get out of paying child support is to terminate parental rights. Many parents think maybe they could just stop being a parent legally and then they won’t have to pay child support. Interesting idea, but rarely approved, because that child would then potentially have to be supported by the state or by others in some way and that’s not in the best interest of anyone.

There are many valid reasons to terminate parental rights, but getting out of child support is rarely, if ever, seen as one. One possible scenario is if someone was willing to adopt the child in lieu of the biological parent having custody. This might mean a new spouse of one of the parents, or perhaps a grandparent adopts the child and the other parent gives up their rights. But there have to be valid reasons to make this is a good idea.

In conclusion, it isn’t easy to get out of paying child support. In addition, think twice before trying to for the good of your child: It may not be in their best interest.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

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