If you make full child support payments on time, it can be frustrating to be told you’re not meeting expectations. But in cases where exes have limited communication with one another, simple miscommunication may easily appear as child support arrears.
Missing child support payments can result in serious consequences, including jailtime. So, make sure to follow these tips to manage child support payments and avoid child support arrear issues.
Don’t pay cash
It may be simple to pay the parent cash directly while picking up or dropping off your son or daughter. However, even if you’re paying a court clerk, it’s important to make payments electronically or with a check and always keep a receipt of your payments.
Even in cases where your relationship with your ex is amicable, you will be responsible for proving payment if issues arise at some point. The benefit of the doubt will be given to the custodial parent if you are sued for arrearages and cannot prove your payments have been made.
Keep all of your receipts — every single one. Try to organize them into a special folder that you keep for nothing else in a permanent, private spot. You can do this electronically or keep print versions to be extra safe. A receipt will do you no good if you aren’t able to access it!
Follow court orders — not independent arrangements
You’re likely to receive complaints from a district attorney about unpaid arrears if you aren’t following the arrangement and instructions specified in your court order. Follow what the court orders — not a temporary oral arrangement you made with the other parent.
For independent arrangements — notify the court
If you and the other parent have agreed on another arrangement, make sure to get it in writing and notify the court of it. Again, the only arrangement that matters in the eyes of the law is that has been notarized and approved by the court.
Avoid telephone and email scams
Unfortunately, there are scam artists that may attempt to collect false child support payments from you. The Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Program does not make calls or send emails requesting personal information unless a team member is working on your child support case and needs to clarify information that you have already provided. Likewise, members from the program do not call to request your credit card information or credit card payment information.
If you are feeling uneasy about a communication you receive regarding child support payments, call the main Child Support Program phone number listed on the Child Support Program contact page. Official emails you receive from the program should end in “@floridarevenue.com.”
Keep other evidence
If you are already in a situation where you must prove you have paid child support, collect evidence.
The following are all useful evidence in a child support arrear hearing:
- Record of child support payments
- Record of health insurance premiums paid for the child
- Evidence health insurance payments for the child through your employer
- Evidence showing who is the primary caretaker of the child
- Federal Income Taxes from the previous 2 years
- Pay stubs
- Benefits award letter (for Social Security Supplemental Income, Veterans Compensation or Pension payments, if applicable)
A parent who is found to have neglected paying child support when financially able to do so can be found in contempt of court. This offense can result in jailtime, a fine, driver’s license suspension and a negative credit score. The bank account and/or tax refund of the parent may also be seized until all payments have been made.
If you believe you have been wrongfully accused of neglecting child support payments or if you need to adjust your child support payments, contact an attorney to talk about your options.