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Saint Lucie County Legal Issues Blog

What happens if child support is not paid?

When parents are going through a divorce, it is always a tough time for a child, both emotionally and financially. To ensure that the child is not affected by the divorce, federal and state authorities have enacted laws that give courts the authority to decide how a child will be raised and who will financially support the child.

State authorities are responsible for the enforcement of child support orders. This child support may be paid weekly or monthly, as directed by the court. Child support orders may also include provisions for the payment of health insurance or the payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses for the child.

Former NBA player pleads guilty in unpaid child support case

Most residents of Florida know it is important not to disregard a child support order by the courts, but some may not realize what the outcomes of doing so are and what the punishments are for failing to stand by a legal child support order. Parents who fail to pay child support in full and on time face serious potential penalties and consequences.

Recently, Ruben Patterson, a former NBA player, pleaded guilty for failing to pay child support which could result in his imprisonment. The basketball player entered the guilty plea to a fifth-degree felony and the judge scheduled sentencing for May 23 in the case. He was indicted in 2016 on two charges of non-support of dependents also and the second charge was dismissed.

Alimony-related new tax law for Florida residents

When a Florida couple decides to part ways, they must deal with various issues. These issues include property division, child custody, child support and alimony. Most of these affect a divorcing spouse's finances, as well as the taxes they have to pay. For instance, per the guidelines of the Internal Revenue Service, child support is never tax deductible and isn't considered income; however, alimony payments do have an effect on a person's tax obligations. Now, changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have made solving disputes just a bit more complicated.

According to the new law, alimony and separate maintenance payments are no longer deductible for any divorce or separation agreement executed after December 31, 2018, or for any divorce or separation agreement modified after that date. So, for 2019, alimony payments will not be deductible for the paying spouse and will not be included in the income of the receiving spouse.

MacKenzie Bezos to get $35 billion in record divorce deal

Married life has many twists and turns. We should not be disheartened at such an unexpected turn of events but should manage it with care and caution by coming to a mutually agreeable settlement, especially regarding property.

With billions of dollars on the line, Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, announced that they have finalized their divorce. The divorce deal is the highest in history. The founder of the online shopping giant Amazon is said to have a fortune worth more than $140 billion, making him one of the world's richest people.

Understanding the "Full Faith and Credit" child custody law

It is usual for people to change place from one state to another state after a divorce. Such change in place is smooth if the estranged couple did not have a child. However, if they had a child, the court must approve the relocation. The court will also pass an order about the visitation schedules, which both parents must respect. Many parents, however, disregard the original court order with the impression that they are protected from the laws of that state as they are now in another state. However, that is a major error of judgment.

Parents should know that such contempt for court orders is not only an offense per the original's state laws but it is also the violation of federal law. This law is known as the "Full Faith and Credit" for child custody determinations law and is stated under Title 28 Section 1738A of United States Codes.

Actor no longer has to pay child support

There are few situations harder for a parent to negotiate than divorce. This is especially true when the divorce includes issues like alimony, child support and child custody. When children are involved, child support becomes a concern for the custodial parent. It is a very important issue, which should be handled with care and attention by both the parents and the judicial system.

In a recent case, a famous reality television personality settled child custody battle with his ex-fiancé and as per the new custody agreement he is reportedly no longer required to pay child support. The actor had been paying about $20,000 a month in child maintenance. According to the new arrangement, both parents will cover their daughter's expenses, including healthcare, and education expense which will be split down the middle. Apart from this, each parent will only pay for their child's needs when she's with them. It's also being reported that both the parents will split custody of their child 50/50.

Resolving issues related to child relocation

It isn't easy to develop a child custody and visitation plan that meets the needs of both parents and the child. These arrangements get a lot more complicated when a custodial parent plans to relocate to another city in Florida or another state with the child after finalization of the divorce.

Under Florida law, a court will permit a child's relocation only when the move is in the best interests of the child. At the same time, the court must not determine that the custodial parent's request for relocation is an attempt at breaking contact of the child with the other parent. In fact, the relocating parent has to convince the court that all necessary measures for preserving the child relationship with the other parent will be in place after the move.

Can you handle the caregiving duties for a brain-injured spouse?

If you are the spouse of a patient with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you are a member of a club that no one ever wants to join. Your relationship with your husband or wife will often be irretrievably altered as a result of the traumatic injury that affected their cognitive and physical abilities.

At some point in your spouse's recovery, you will likely face caregiver decisions. Depending upon the severity of your spouse's brain injury, they may need to spend months or even a year or more recovering at in-patient rehabilitation centers. While progress may still be made on various fronts, at usually about the one-year anniversary of the injury, the doctors will assess your loved one's progress and recommend a plan of care going forward.

Dealing with asset division at age 50 and older

According to a number of studies, people aged 50 and above are divorcing at a historically high rate. In legal terms, these so-called gray divorces are essentially the same as divorces among younger people. However, divorce among older people, who have had more time to earn income and collect assets, can be more complex when it comes to the division of property.

According to a study by researchers at Bowling Green State University, incidents of gray divorce doubled between 1990 and 2010. The study found the rate of married couples aged 50 and above who filed for divorce was 4.9 out of every 1,000 in 1990. This doubled in 2010 to 10.1 divorces per 1,000 married couples. The report indicated that there are contributory factors to the increased divorce rate. Some of these factors are education, racial or ethnic characteristics, employment, longevity of marriage and the number of past marriages each spouse had.

How military income is determined for child support

All states, including Florida, have laws or rules to establish child support guidelines. In order to ensure that the support amount is justified and serves the best interests of the child, child support agencies need complete information about parents' income.

State agencies usually use a simple method, using both taxable and nontaxable income, to calculate the income of civilians. However, determining a military member's income can be a little complicated. For service members, most states include base pay, special skills pay, bonuses and allowances such as basic housing allowance and basic subsistence.