A concern regarding child support and alimony, in Florida, is that once it is ordered, the other party will not pay. As a Jacksonville, Florida divorce and family law attorney, my advice is to clients is generally the same regarding this issue, once alimony and/or child support are ordered by the court, we should do an income deduction order. Such orders can be done only after the order establishing support is entered by the court. Once that is done, the court can enter an income deduction order, which lays out the payment schedule for the paying party. In addition, the income deduction order is sent directly to the employer of the responsible party so that the wages can be garnished.
Establishing child support and alimony in Florida is based on statutory guidelines. The calculation for child support is based on the income of both parties and their pro rata share of the total income of both. Credits may be given for such things as the child’s health insurance and daycare or if a parent has a prior child support obligation. Alimony does not have such a calculation in Florida, but is based on need and ability to pay.
Once the court determines how much will be owed in child support or alimony, the court may enter an income deduction order at the request of a party. The payments made by garnishment are not made directly to the receiving party, but to the State depository. In addition to the employer receiving the income deduction, the State is also provided a copy so that an account may be set-up for both the paying and receiving parties. The money is then garnished each month, in accordance with the order, for the length of time established in the order.
The income deduction order will give figures for the amount to be garnished and for what purpose. If child support and alimony are required, then each will have their own paragraph, but may be on the same order. The order will have specifics for each payment, including the monthly amount and for how long the deduction order is valid. For example, child support may end on July 1, 2013, if a child is going to be 18 and has an expected date of graduation of June, 2013. Alimony may be ordered for the length of time necessary, like rehabilitation alimony, which may be for 2 years.
The income deduction can be done on the pay schedule of the paying party, so while child support is $500 per month, it may come out at $230.77 biweekly if that is the pay schedule for the responsible party. If alimony is ordered, then it will be based on the same type of schedule. Once the employer takes the money out, the money is transferred or sent to the State depository. The State has separate accounts for each party and the receiving party can choose how to receive payments, either by a check or debit card that is reloaded upon each payment.
In addition to making certain that the payments are made each month, the income deduction order also helps keep track of payments. If the responsible party fails to make payments, then the State can provide a print out that indicates payments made and whether there are any arrearages owed.