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What are child support arrearages?

Many Tampa child support attorneys are asked about what the phrase “child support arrearages” actually means.  The term is constantly thrown around by parties dealing with child support and time sharing, but it is critical to understand what the term means before using it.

First and foremost, child support arrearages are those monies, a party should have previously paid in a child support matter, but they did not.  This amount can and will include amounts that accrued while payments were made, but they were lower than they should have been.  Most often though, the party makes no payments the amount is simply calculated at what the payment should have been.

Secondly, it is critical to quickly deal with any child support arrearages prior to the involvement of the Florida Department of Revenue.  As we have discussed elsewhere on our Tampa child support attorney blog, the Department of Revenue or DOR as they are more commonly known only get involved when the party owed the child support has sought and received some form of monetary aid from the State, when they should have been receiving child support.   Once DOR is involved, they will likely only resolve the matter for every single dollar being repaid.  Since they are a state agency, they do not have to worry about attorney’s fees and costs, so they will literally litigate cases for years and years.

Lastly, this is another reason to quickly develop a parenting plan.  As we discuss elsewhere on our Tampa child support attorney blog, Florida courts are currently relying on a line of cases that prevents parties from receiving the benefit of substantial time sharing to reduce their child support obligation without a parenting plan in place.   For example, if a mother and father split 50/50 custody without a parenting plan and the mother initially seeks some form of aid from Florida, like food stamps or Florida Kids First.  Once DOR is involved they will likely successfully argue to the Court that the father should have to pay child support as if he had absolutely no overnights with the child.  This is likely one of the most preposterous arguments and line of cases currently still intact in Tampa Family Law, but unfortunately it is the current state of the law.  We strongly recommend parties immediately developing a parenting plan to avoid these sort of ludicrous situations playing out before a Florida family law magistrate.

If you or someone you know has questions concerning a Tampa child support matter, contact the Tampa child support attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation.  We have handled a wide variety of child support matters, including extensive experience with the Department of Revenue concerning arrearages and working to keep our client’s drivers licenses during these matters.  If you would like to contact one of our Tampa child support attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website.  We appreciate you checking out our Tampa child support attorney blog and look forward to working with you.