Thanks to divorce360.com for a great article on the do's and dont's of paying and receiving child support. The article focuses on former boxing champ Evander Holyfield, who escaped a jail sentence for failing to obey a court's child support orders by negotiating with a former girlfriend to pay for his son's college tuition.
In particular the article ways the pro's and con's of putting someone in jail for failing to pay child support rather than coming up with other alternatives. The article includes 5 tips to help collect child support:
"Understanding what really is behind the failure to pay will make the whole process less painful. Jail is a threat with little value to someone who has lost everything," Pisarra said. He suggested parents work together, if they can, "and realize that the other side is not the enemy, but probably is afraid of losing their sense of security also."
2. Don't delay the problem.
If you're the one paying child support and you can no longer pay what the court has ordered, file a modification motion to protect your right to retroactive reductions, Pisara said. "Men need to remember that it's not a moral failing to ask for a reduction of child support -- it's a fact of life," he said. "Women need to remember that a father's love for his children is demonstrated in more ways than a check."
3. Mediate your child support.
If parents can't work out the financials by talking to each other, consider bringing in a mediator. "Mediated arrangements have better compliance than litigated court orders because the parents themselves participate in creating the child support amount, timing and other details," said attorney Philip Mulford of Mulford Mediation in Warrenton, Va. "The mediated child support arrangement should be put into writing and filed with the court so the court will be in position to enforce it, but because its been through the mediation process, it's less likely to become a courtroom battle.
4. Move quickly to get to a courtroom.
If you're the person who isn't getting paid, "Making a deal is much easier when you negotiate from a position of strength," said attorney Lee S. Rosen, chief executive officer of the Rosen Law Firm in Raleigh, N.C. "A realistic threat of putting the other parent in jail puts you in a very strong negotiating position. When parents do the wait and see thing, they put themselves in a weak position and they start to run out of money. Once that happens they are willing to take any deal that comes along. Be aggressive, quickly, then you can afford to be reasonable and get the case resolved amicably."
5. When all else fails, get additional help.
If your spouse doesn't have a job and won't pay child support, get some help. "A tip that I found effective is that you can use the machinery of the state to enforce child support orders at little to no cost. For example, in Florida, the Florida Dept. of Revenue, division of Child Support Services can be very helpful in enforcing child support obligations from delinquent parents," said Florida attorney Douglas S. Schapiro of Koch & Trushin, P.A. "Moreover, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement can be equally helpful. For instance, you can ask these government agencies to intercept any IRS refunds sent to a delinquent parent and instead, have the money delivered to the supporting parent for unpaid child support."
Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.