Serving Sarasota Since 1973

Unfair Child Support Arrearage

The law isn’t always fair. Consider what happened to a man who had been adjudicated a child’s biological father in 2005. He was ordered to pay $750 per month in child support. In 2011, for reasons not set out in the case, DNA testing was later done and it proved he wasn’t the father. The court did the right thing in disestablishing his paternity and terminating child support. However, the man was in arrears in his payments and the issue for the court was whether the arrearage could be canceled. As unfair as it might seem, the answer was no. He not only didn’t get back any of the tens of thousands he’d already paid, he also had to pay the arrearage accrued before the disestablishing judgment. The statute authorized the court to terminate “prospective” child support payments. The man argued that all payments he would have to pay after the disestablishment, both ongoing support and arrearage catch up, was prospective, but the court held that prospective meant only support payments that would have accrued in the future, not future payments of already accrued arrearage. It doesn’t seem fair.

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