During a Jacksonville divorce, many facets of a couple’s life are controlled by an order of the court. Things like time-sharing for the kids, alimony for a spouse, and distribution of assets. Something the court cannot control is the way a father chooses to live his life, even if he is making choices that sacrifice the life of you and your child after the divorce is finalized. Take the following as an example.
Wife gets pregnant and shortly after goes through a dissolution of marriage with her husband. Wife has been raising her child for the last 2 years with her child’s father paying support. Lately, husband has been missing his payments and is about $5,000 behind in child support payments. He has been out of rehab and spent some time in jail, for which he also lost his job. Since that is the case, husband is petitioning the court to lower or reduce the amount of child support he owes.
A situation like this raises a few questions: will the court not enforce the arrearages of $5,000 because he can’t pay? The answer most likely not. A court will not usually reduce past due support payments unless the husband is able to show he is entitled to a reduction for a compelling reason, such as lack of capacity to enter the marital settlement agreement, which prevented him from filing a motion prior to the support payments due date.
But, a Court could reduce or modify the husband’s payments that are not yet due if there is has been a substantial change in circumstances that would justify reducing them. This could be for a job loss that leads to a reduction in income or a serious health condition that prevents the husband from working. The Judge will also review the circumstances behind the convictions and rehabilitative stays to decide whether a lower future support payment is necessary.
The best safety net when arguing over these issues is to be represented by an experienced and professional Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer. A good attorney can ensure that you are asserting all of the proper rights and defenses in your favor at a support hearing. Contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer where you may schedule a free consultation.