Over the past few years, the economy has taken its toll on families in Florida. Many people lost their jobs and were unable to find new ones. In circumstances such as this, it would be somewhat understandable if a parent had difficulty with child support payments. However, a judge claims that financial hardship was not the reason why one mother was unable to make court-ordered child support payments.
The woman faced a family court judge in early February. At issue was the fact that she owed over $7,000 in child support payments. She had previously been ordered to pay $200 each month, but had reportedly only paid $415 during 2013.
As a result, she was sentenced to 60 days in prison. When sentenced, she had already missed three court dates. The court also took issue with the fact that the woman owns real estate valued at approximately $475,000, but still failed to make child support payments. The woman claimed that she had tried to sell some of her land, but was unsuccessful.
While some people familiar with family court would claim prison in usually a last resort in cases such as this, it is important for parents to realize the impact their failure to make child support payments could potentially have on their children. While a court may take into consideration a parent’s substantial change in circumstances, they must also consider the best interests of the children and determine what methods, if any, will result in payments. For parents in Florida who are having difficulty making court-ordered payments, being open and honest about their circumstances from the beginning might have a positive impact on their case.
Source: The Times-Gazette, New Vienna Woman sent to jail for not paying child support, No author, Feb. 3, 2014