family law attorney in JacksonvilleChild support can be a difficult and emotional issue to navigate. The main purpose of child support is to ensure that the needs of children of divorced parents are being met. If you’re going through a divorce you may be confused about how child support figures are calculated, and it may be a major source of conflict between you and your former spouse.

Parents facing a divorce are often concerned about the amount they should expect to pay or the amount which they will receive. It’s important to know that each state has its own guidelines, and your family law attorney in Jacksonville can help you understand these.

Florida law uses an “Income Shares Model” for determining child support, which attempts to calculate how much would have been spent on raising the child if the parents were not divorcing. That amount is then divided between the parents based on their income. To determine this, an income affidavit must be filed by each parent listing their gross income. Gross income includes but is not limited to:

can creditors take my houseIf you have fallen behind on paying your bills, you may be wondering if you could lose your home. When facing financial turmoil, this is naturally what folks fear most. Fortunately, your home is safe from any creditors who do not have a mortgage or lien on it. Credit card companies and other unsecured loan holders can’t come and simply take your property or home after missing a few payments.

A creditor will first start making collection attempts by mail, phone calls or other methods. If these attempts are unsuccessful, there is a good chance that they will file a lawsuit against you. By doing so, the creditor is hoping to get a judgment which would allow them to transition from being an unsecured creditor a to secured creditor.

A judgment is issued by the court, and it states that the creditor has won the lawsuit and has a right to collect a specified amount of money from you. A creditor can get a judgment against you if you don’t respond to a complaint, don’t comply with a judge’s order, lose a summary judgment motion or lose a trial. Once a judgment has been issued, you become a judgment debtor and they become a judgment creditor.

jacksonville divorce attorneyDividing assets in a divorce can be a very difficult process. Things become even more complex when there are significant assets involved or if the couple divorcing is at all hostile. Since all states have different laws regarding the division of assets, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your state’s specific laws. You may want to seek the expertise of a Jacksonville divorce attorney to guide you through Florida’s specific laws.

In a divorce, only marital assets and liabilities are divided. This refers to all property acquired during the marriage, regardless of ownership or title. One of the first things you should do together is complete a list of all marital assets. If you can do so amicably, it makes the entire process faster and easier. Items that must be on this list include: your home, joint property such as land or vacation homes, any vehicles, valuables like jewelry and artwork, household belongings such as furniture and appliances, bank accounts, securities and retirement plans.

In the state of Florida, the law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. A judge will set aside all non-marital property, also known as separate property. This is any property that each spouse previously owned and brought into the marriage. But be aware that this is not always so straight-forward, as some non-marital assets can become mixed with the marital property. An experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney can advise you on the technicalities of separate assets.

credit reportingNegative information on your credit report can make a big impact on your financial well-being. It can disqualify you from obtaining home mortgages and car loans, cause your interest rates to soar and may even keep you from getting the job you want. It goes without saying that you would want any negative information removed from your credit report as soon as the time limit for that debt has been reached.

So, what is that limit and how long will negative info remain on your credit report? It is important to be familiar with the two important time lines for debt—the statute of limitations and the credit reporting time limit.

The statute of limitations is the limited amount of time creditors or debt collectors have to file a lawsuit to collect a debt. It is what protects you from being sued for an old debt. The time period varies from state to state. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations is 4 years on oral contracts and 5 years on written contracts. The clock typically starts ticking after the first missed payment to the original creditor. However, be aware that the limitations period can “restart” if you make a payment toward a debt. Debt collectors will often harangue debtors into making even a $5 payment toward a delinquent account in order to re-age the debt and add another 5 years to the limitations period!

jail for unpaid debtIt is quite unusual to go to jail for an unpaid debt. Debtors’ prisons were abolished in the 19th century in the United States, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from threatening you with criminal prosecution.

In the state of Florida, you can’t be put in jail for failing to pay a debt or judgment. What can happen when you fail to pay a debt is that it will be reported to credit bureaus, and it will become part of your credit history for up to seven years. It is also possible that your property is seized and your wages may be garnished. But since debtors’ prisons were found to be unconstitutional and biased against people with lower incomes, you are not likely to face jail time over an unpaid debt.

However, you should be aware that there are certain situations that can lead to jail time in relation to an outstanding debt. These include:

will bankruptcy stop irs garnishmentFalling on hard times financially can also lead to falling behind on your taxes. When your tax debt becomes extremely delinquent, the IRS may issue a garnishment on your wages. This garnishment, or levy, allows the IRS to take part of your wages each pay period. A garnishment will continue until you: A. make other arrangements to pay off your tax debt; B. your debt has been paid in full; or C. the levy has been released. Overwhelmed by the thought of losing your wages, you may wonder if filing for bankruptcy will relieve you from an IRS garnishment.

Filing for bankruptcy can in fact offer some relief from the stress of an IRS garnishment. Once you file bankruptcy, a court ordered automatic stay will immediately go into effect. This stay will stop any type of debt collection, including garnishments and seizures, for the duration of the bankruptcy case. However, since bankruptcy will not get rid of most tax debts, how your garnishment is affected after the case is over will depend on which type of bankruptcy is filed: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, all of your dischargeable debts will be wiped out. Since most tax debts are not dischargeable, they will remain. The IRS garnishment will, however, be temporarily halted due to the automatic stay while your bankruptcy case is processed. When your case is over, you will still owe on your tax debt. For this reason, while Chapter 7 can offer a window of relief, it does not offer a long-term solution to the situation.

visitation during paternity actionWhen a man is not named on a child’s birth certificate, a paternity action is needed to determine that the man is the child’s biological father and to establish his rights and responsibilities. A paternity action is the legal process used to establish the paternity of a child. This is most often done by using DNA analysis of a swab test or a blood test. In the state of Florida, a paternity action may be filed by the child’s mother, the man involved or even by the child.

Some of the reasons a paternity action may be needed include:

• To verify a child’s identity or to give a child a needed identity.

divorce disclosuresIn a divorce or family law case, people are often concerned that their former spouse or significant other will not be entirely straightforward with their financial information. Through a procedure called mandatory disclosure , the state of Florida mandates that each party is fully informed about the other party’s financial situation.

In simple terms, a mandatory disclosure means that the financial information of both parties in a divorce or other family law case are required to be disclosed. It specifically requires that financial affidavits be exchanged, and this requirement is not able to be waived. Mandatory disclosures must be filed within 45 days of the case being served. They must also be continually updated whenever there is a substantial change in one of the party’s financial circumstances.

On top of the financial affidavit, there are additional documents required which help demonstrate the debts and assets of each party. These documents are furnished as a way to support the numerical figures on the affidavit. Some of these documents may not always be necessary and can potentially be waived if agreed upon by both parties.

refuses to pay child supportDealing with a former spouse who is not paying their court-ordered share of child support can be an unfortunate hassle. Left with this financial and emotional burden, you may feel like you’ve made every attempt to collect but just aren’t getting anywhere. You may even be at the point where you’re asking yourself, “is withholding visitation an option?”

The answer to that question is no. You cannot refuse visitation if your ex is not paying child support. While you may be able to have your ex-spouse’s visitation rights modified in court, withholding visitation rights is considered custodial interference. Child support and visitation rights are two separate issues that should not be confused.

  • Child support is determined in court, and must follow the guidelines of the Child Support Enforcement Act. These guidelines vary from state to state. The factors that are looked at include the child’s needs (health care, education, child care, etc.), the income and needs of the custodial parent, the paying parent’s income and the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.

student loan bankruptcyIf the debt from your student loans is overwhelming you, you’re not alone. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, an independent non-profit organization, 68% of students who graduated from both private and public colleges in 2015 had student loan debt. The debt average had risen 4% since 2014 to a whopping $30,100 per borrower in 2015.

While it can be challenging, it is not impossible to have student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy. In order for your student loan to be discharged, you must be able to prove that it is causing undue hardship. Courts use certain tests to make this determination. The most common is called the Brunner Test, in which courts will look for you to meet the following three criteria:

  1. You are unable to maintain a minimal standard of living for you and your dependents if you are required to continue paying your student loans.