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Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: How to Make Sure You Have All Your Proof of Child Support Payments and Credits

Most clients always say the same thing when asked if they have proof of receipts of payments made directly to the Mother. "I never thought I would have needed that" or "she will admit that I gave her money." The harsh reality is that you do need them and the people won’t admit they received anything. As if separating with someone isn’t hard enough you might find yourself caught in a predicament when you have to prove you have been providing for your child(ren).

Pursuant to Florida Statute, in an initial determination of child support, the court has discretion to award child support retroactive to the date when the parents did not reside together in the same household with the child(ren), not to exceed a period of 24 months preceding the filing of the petition, regardless of whether that date precedes the filing of the petition. The court will apply child support guidelines during this period to determine the support that was due.

Meaning if there is no set child support amount, you are already in the hole and looking to owe the Mother a good amount of money. If you need to mitigate what you owe OR if the Mother is coming after you for non-payment the burden falls on you, the paying parent, to prove that payments were actually made.

In a perfect world, all our clients would pay the Mother by good ol’ fashioned checks. There would be a beautiful paper trail showing every payment made both in your account and the Mother’s account. However, this often is not the case, and a parent usually pays in cash thinking they are doing the other parent a favor.

Failure to have proof more often than not means that your payment will be acknowledged by the Court EVEN if you made those payments. Meaning even if you paid the Mother what she is owed…you will be paying it again! Your failure to document becomes the Mother’s ideal opportunity to double dip into your wallet.

Below is an outline of the pros and cons of different proof of support payments:

  • Cash: If you are paying cash STOP NOW! You might as well kiss your complete proof of support goodbye.
  • Checks: Best way to prove payments as there will be a clean withdraw from your checking account and hopefully a deposit in the Mothers.
  • Direct Deposits: Directly depositing into the Mother's account works, but make sure you label the memo as "child support."
  • Money Orders: Not as bad as cash, but not as good as checks. These work if you have proof of receipt. If too much time has passed, you can contact the company that disbursed the money order (Western Union/MoneyGram), and they will send you a list of all transactions made. Be wary as this sometimes doesn’t work or it takes too long to get the documents. Give yourself enough time to gather this if you have a hearing date coming up.
  • Receipts: All receipts are considered. Keep in mind that receipts for outings with the child will most likely not count such as restaurants or amusement parks, etc. Receipts showing clothes, uniforms, school supplies, daycare, and aftercare will most likely be considered should these items go back to the Mother's home. *Please note that receipts fade. Please make a copy or take a picture the minute to receive it.

ALL payments made to the Mother or a third party for the benefit of the child will be considered when giving you credits on your retroactive child support. It is crucial that you keep these documents in a safe place.

Lastly, start organizing all your proof. Create a chart to your liking that shows when the payment was made, for how much, and attach the proof to it. By creating this chart, you will make it easier for your attorney, the mother's attorney, and most importantly the judge when assessing your total credit.

We know our dads provide for their children. Our goal is to make sure your proof is recognized in Court. If you need help, speak with an experienced Miami father’s rights attorney at Dadvocacy®.

Jennifer Alfonso, the writer of this blog piece, is an attorney in our office who handles many of our child support cases. She is passionate about advocating for fathers and ensuring fairness in the Child Support Courtroom so that Fathers can better provide for their children.

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