Recent reports are suggesting that NBA Hall of Famer, Dennis Rodman, may be facing up to 20 days in jail for failure to pay his ex wife court ordered child support and spousal support. Michelle Rodman is claiming that the Hall of Famer owes $51,441 in back spousal support and $808,935 in back child support for the parties’ 9 and 10 year old children. Michelle Rodman is also seeking attorney’s fees for having to bring a court action against the Hall of Famer. However, the former NBA star’s attorney is arguing Rodman is sick and broke and has no ability to pay the large amounts of child support and spousal support.
As a Child Support Attorney I see cases similar to Rodman’s all the time. Although, many cases do not involve back child support and spousal support in the amounts claimed above. In Ponte Vedra, Florida Judges take non-payment of child support very seriously. However, these Ponte Vedra Judges are restrained by the law and can only order jail time in very limited circumstances.
For instance, to put a non-paying parent in jail a Ponte Vedra Judge must:(1) find that the parent is willfully failing to pay the ordered child support amounts, (2) make the affirmative finding that the non-paying parent possesses the ability to comply with the purge amount and (3) put the above two requirements in a written order.
You may ask what exactly is a purge amount. Well, as a Ponte Vedra Child Support Attorney I know that a purge amount is an amount of money that must be paid toward child support arrearages in order to avoid going to jail for contempt of a support order. Because punishment is not the purpose of civil contempt proceedings, a Ponte Vedra Judge must allow the contemnor (person in arrears of ordered support) an opportunity to “purge” himself or herself of contempt.
A Ponte Vedra Judge must decide how much money the contemnor can reasonably pay toward his or her child support arrearage. Frequently, a Ponte Vedra Judge will set a purge amount at a sum much less than the total amount of the child support arrearage. When the purge amount is less than the total amount of the child support arrearage, the contemnor will be required to first pay the purge amount and then make periodic payments towards the remaining arrearage.
If you don’t want to end up in a similar situation as Dennis Rodman but live in the Ponte Vedra, Florida or St. Johns County area, contact a Ponte Vedra Child Support Attorney today to schedule a free consultation. Offices in Jacksonville and Jacksonville, Beach.