Seeking Child Support

The Florida Department of Revenue enforces child support with an iron fist, and across state lines, there are treaties between states regarding child support.  You will need documentation from the court regarding your case, and you will have to find out the other state’s procedure.  The best approach is to ask, “How do I do this?” (not, “Do this for me.”). “Hey, I need help, what do I need to do to get it?”  That question may get you farther in pursuing a parent who owes child support and has moved to another state. For those who are supposed to pay child support, I recommend that you pay it.  Be up front and honest about your income, and let the court know immediately if something changes in your income.  That benefits you as far as avoiding legal complications, and benefits your child with your financial support. For more information on child support in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Revenue website at http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/.   Read More

Child Support

For those of you who pay child support, I recommend that you pay it.  St. Johns County is an equal opportunity jailer when it comes to paying child support; whereas, in Clay County, it is all men wearing the inmate jumpsuits.  No matter where you live, you may be able to avoid legal complications by paying child support and informing the court immediately if something changes in your income. Your minor children are entitled to a portion of your income.  However, when a change happens in your income, that will impact the family and you have to adjust immediately by filing a petition.  If the parent who has the child most of the time is on State Assistance, the Department of Revenue gets involved and enforces child support with an iron fist. Obligation to pay child support is based on income—that is just a thing called MATH.  Be up front and honest about your income and you may benefit, as well as your child.  For more information on child support in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Revenue website at http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/.   Read More

Exempt Incomes from Money Judgments

Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.  That is the idea behind Social Security, disability, pensions, and income that provides more than one-half the support for dependant or minor children—those are exempt incomes from money judgments. Small Claims Court can be a lot bigger than you think.  Even though it only deals with matters less than $5,000, that can be a big claim if you have limited means. Everybody should pay their debts, but you should not have to decide whether to buy food or pay the electric bill.  Thus there are certain incomes that are exempt from money judgments. The key to an exemption is that you have to claim it.  Just because you are eligible for a collection exemption does not mean you automatically receive it.  Exemptions have to be filed within 20 days of the Notice of Garnishment that you receive after your account has been frozen. A Judgment is bad, but ignoring it is worse.  Seek competent legal advice to learn more about collection exemptions.  (You do not need an appointment to pick up a pamphlet at Legal Aid about collection exemptions and how to claim them.) Read More

Wage Garnishment Trend

Wage garnishment used to be all the rage for child support; lately it has been trending for consumer debt collection, especially within the 35 to 44-aged set. A new study by National Public Radio and ProPublica shows that one in ten American employees between the ages of 35 and 44 have a lighter paycheck due to wage garnishment, and for those earning $25,000 to $40,000 a year, more than half that population are being garnished for consumer debt (not child support). In Florida, debt collectors can take up to 25% of your net pay for things like old credit card debt, medical bills, and/or student loans.  Debt collection is big business.  Debt-buyers purchase delinquent accounts for pennies on the dollar.  For the debt-buyer it is a numbers game—often a BIG numbers game because many consumers are not aware of their rights or how to assert them and do not defend their case at the hearing (if they attend at all). Furthermore, the debt-buyers purchase a spreadsheet of data without verification that the information is correct.  The debt-buyer does not know if the consumer owes anything or not, or how much.  They will not collect on every account, but they collect […] Read More

Boilerplate Legal Forms

The term ‘boilerplate’ entered usage around 1900 when newspaper presses used ready-made metal plates for sections of print that did not change and would be used over and over.  ‘Boilerplate’ became a popular concept for legal forms and contracts.  However, while the repetition of exact language can be useful, sometimes it is inaccurate. A real estate agent is licensed to sell real estate, not to practice law.  So the Florida Realtors got together with the Florida Bar to approve real estate contract forms.  Thus the real estate agent does not have to write the contract; he just has to check the appropriate boxes of the legally worded options on the contract form to have a legally binding document of the real estate sale. In a petition signed by the Department of Revenue regarding child support, the documentation stated that the child was the result of sexual activity by the father.  That is accurate if it is about a biologically begotten child, but the minor in this case was adopted.  Sometimes people just file the things they always file. Some boilerplate inaccuracies cause more trouble than others, depending on the situation.  If you are stuck between a deal and a boilerplate, […] Read More