Family Law (Divorce, Family Relations)/Custody arrears in Florida

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Question
I am a Canadian citizen and have a relationship with a lady in the US (A US citizen) During her divorce she did not work so she could raise her children , it was a very long and dragged out case as her ex was represented by his brother in law .
She spent what  savings she had on raising the children and fighting for custody but unfortunately lost custody and was ordered to pay child support.
Her income dropped dramatically over the years and owes over $60,000 , she is only able to pay $150 per month. Her health is not good and I would like to bring her to Canada to look after her.Of course because of her debt she is unable to get a passport.
I have some money but not enough to cover the entire debt.
Is it possible to work out an agreement with the custodial  parent where I could pay him a sum of money which would be greater than he would likely get based on her age , health and financial situation and have the case closed.
The children are grown and self supporting.

Answer
Hi Craig, if the child support arrears is based upon child support owed to the father and not to the state then an agreement can be reached. As indicated, child support can occur from two sources the other parent and the state. Child support owed to the state comes about when the custodial parent, here the father, accepts services from the state for the children, such as food stamps. When doing so the custodial parent agrees that the state can recover the costs of those benefits from any child support that is paid and or collected. When this occurs the state begins to keep two ledgers one indicting the child support arrears that is owed to the parent and another that indicates the child support owed to the state. Child support owed to the state cannot be negotiated and must be paid in full to be removed from the ledgers as arrears. Child support owed to a parent may be negotiated and removed from the ledger by the use of an Agreed Order executed by the parents and submitted to the court. The Agreed Order should be drafted by a Family Law attorney and if the case is a Florida case it can be drafted and submitted to the court by any Florida Family law attorney regardless of location of the court or the attorney within the state. Any arrangement made between yourself and the father for the payment of the arrears and execution of the Agreed Order should be done through an attorney for your protection. Basically you will want to have any amount agreed to placed into the attorney's trust account with the stipulation that it be released to the father only upon the father's execution of the Agreed Order. Otherwise the father could accept you payment and do nothing in return.

I hope this information was helpful to you, if it was, please do me the courtesy of rating it. Please be aware and advised that this public forum is designed to provide only general information, to give you a basis of legal knowledge. This public forum does not give you attorney-client privilege. You and I have not entered into an attorney-client relationship. I am not responsible for your legal rights and this answer is based solely on the information you have provided in your question and as always, I would advise that you arrange for an in person consultation with an attorney from my firm or another Family Law attorney familiar with Florida Family Law who can analyze the specific facts and circumstances of your case more closely to better advise you. Additional information may be obtained on our web site listed below.

Sincerely,

Daniel Bachert, Esq.
The Bachert Law Firm, P.A.
330 Clematis Street, Suite 222
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
(561) 653-3951
Palm-Beach-Divorces.com  

Family Law (Divorce, Family Relations)

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Dan Bachert

Expertise

I can respond to questions pertaining to Florida Family Law within the specific areas of Divorce, Child Custody, Child Timesharing, Alimony and Child Support Enforcement/Modification, Equitable distribution, and Inter Family Adoptions.

Experience

Actively practicing Family law in the Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties for the past eleven years.

Organizations
Florida Bar, Family Law Section of Florida Bar, Palm Beach County Bar Association, BNI

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University; Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas School of Law

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