If you do not pay Orlando child support, the other parent of the child may file a motion for contempt of court against you.
In evaluating whether you should be held in contempt for not paying child support, the judge will evaluate whether you have the present ability to pay. The Florida Supreme Court held in Bowen that an order or judgment directing a party to pay support must be predicated on an affirmative finding that the party has the present ability to pay. Bowen v Bowen, 471 So 2d 1274, 1278 (Fla. 1985). The burden of proof then shifts to the defaulting party, who must show he/she is no longer able to meet his/her support obligation. The court must then evaluate the evidence to determine whether the party has willfully violated the support order.
If the court finds that the party is in contempt for failure to pay, the order must contain specific findings that the party had the present ability to pay support but willfully failed to do so.
The court may impose a variety of sanctions for contempt, including incarceration, but an order imposing incarceration must set conditions for the purge of contempt based on the contemnor’s ability to pay and must include a separate affirmative finding that the contemnor possesses the present ability to comply with the purge conditions.
The purpose of the civil contempt proceeding is to obtain compliance on the part of the person subject to an order of court. Because incarceration is used solely to obtain compliance, it must be used only when the contemnor has the ability to comply. The ability for the contemnor to comply is the key to his/her cell.
If you have lost your job, or had a pay cut in your salary, you should file a supplemental petition for modification of child support retroactive to the date of filing the supplemental petition. This puts the other spouse on notice that you are not intentionally failing to pay child support. You also want to look for other employment or additional hours at another job so that the court sees you are making a good faith effort to follow the court’s order.
This article is for informational purposes only. It does not form an attorney client privilege.
If you would like more information on Orlando Child Support, you may contact Ann Marie Gilden, Esquire of Ann Marie Giordano Gilden, P. A. at 407-732-7620 and set up an initial consultation.