Perhaps you were aware that your marriage was on shaky ground, or maybe being served with notice of your spouse’s intention to divorce you was the first time you knew that your marriage was going to end. Whatever the case, temporary custody and support orders typically favor the filing spouse.
If you hope to share custody or obtain full custody of your children, it can be heartbreaking to have to limit your time with them to short visits and perhaps overnight stays on weekends until the divorce is finalized. It can also be frustrating to suddenly be paying child support, reducing your income. It is critical to pay child support on time, particularly if you hope to share custody.
Child support is important to your children’s wellbeing
The state of Florida has specific practices in place when it comes to determining support. Unless you have a standing pre-nuptial or post-marital agreement on record, chances are they will base the amount of child support on the income of both parents and the needs of the children. The amount being required reflects medical needs, child care needs, and the cost of daily life and upkeep for your children.
Especially if your ex is withholding visitation or reducing it substantially, it can be tempting to stop paying until visitation is enforced. Doing so not only hurts your case for shared or sole custody, it could harm your children as well.
Failing to pay is not only illegal, it looks bad
There’s no easy way to say it: The courts aren’t fond of deadbeat parents who fail to meet child support obligations. They can take drastic steps to enforce a child support order, including garnishing your wages or even incarcerating you to make a point.
Conversely, timely child support payments can help establish you as a good parent and provider to the courts, which can absolutely help you when the final decisions are being made about support levels and custody. Whether you hope for full custody or more parenting time via shared custody, proof that you have been meeting your financial child support obligations can only help your case.
Amounts can be adjusted, but payment in the meantime is important
An experienced divorce and family law attorney can help you have your child support amount reconsidered by the courts and possibly adjusted. There is a specific process for adjusting or reducing child support that includes requesting a hearing, and then, when the hearing happens, presenting evidence and documentation of income and any extenuating circumstances.
The chances of a positive outcome in both support adjustment requests and in the final child custody decision by the courts is increased by timely payment of required child support. This demonstrates that you are willing to prioritize your children’s needs.