Should Florida Adopt new rule in Unpaid Child Support Cases?

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Support on Thursday, August 9, 2012.

No one would argue that in most cases in Florida, it is the children who will end up suffering from the lack of financial support when one parent fails to meet his or her child support obligations.

In the past, it has typically been the case to put the non-paying parent behind bars for their failure. Arguably, this only exacerbates the problem and does not serve any positive goals, especially considering what is in the best interest of the children.

What about parents for whom it is impossible to meet their child support obligations? The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled that parents should be able to present such evidence as a defense when charged with criminal contempt for unpaid child support. In that case, a mother of three was found guilty of failing to pay the full amount of child support she was obligated to pay for the care of her three children. She spent 43 days in jail on the conviction, which was much less than the potential consequences.

Originally, the mother was ordered to pay $181 in child support. This was back in 2003. Then, based on a real estate transaction, she was ordered to pay $1,131 per month. That payment has since been lowered and her monthly child support obligation is now $25 per month.

She claims that unemployment, in conjunction with her disability, made it impossible for her to come up with more money than she did. During the child support trial, however, she was not able to present any evidence in this regard to the jury

Now, the highest court in that state has said that she deserves a new trial so that she can present her evidence to the jury .

Do you think Florida should adopt the same rule in unpaid child support cases when parents are simply unable to meet their obligations?

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Supreme Court clarifies child support ruling," Aug. 2, 2012

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