Many high-earning individuals may be subject to extreme fluctuations in income. A professional athlete’s playing career may be ended abruptly by injury. A corporate executive may be unexpectedly forced out of his/her position. A sudden shift in popular tastes may mean that a music or acting star loses his/her contract with his/her recording label or filmmaking studio. A high-earning real estate broker may suffer a severe reduction in income due to a recession that greatly reduces the number of people buying new houses.
In any of these cases, the financial setbacks may have many impacts, especially if that high-earner is also subject to a court-ordered child support obligation. When that happens to you, you need to know what you can do to obtain relief from the Florida courts. For that kind of legal help, look to an experienced South Florida family law attorney to advise you regarding your specific situation.
An example of this type of scenario was the child support case of J.V., who was a highly accomplished professional football player originally from Miami-Dade County. While playing professional football in New Orleans, the player had a child with B.B. In 2015, the parents entered into what’s called a “consent judgment” in Louisiana. A consent judgment is a judgment issued by a judge but whose terms are established as a result of an agreement between the parties. The Louisiana judgment established timesharing and child support, among other things.
When the couple’s daughter was born, J.V. was a starting player for the New Orleans Saints and was making millions of dollars per year. By 2018, though, J.V. was retired from football and working as a college football analyst for a cable TV network. J.V. asked a judge in Miami-Dade to reduce his child support obligation due to the reduction in his income.
By the time that the father had filed his request for a reduction in his child support, though, the mother and the child had relocated from South Florida to Maryland. As a result of that move, the mother argued that the law required Maryland courts to decide any future litigation regarding child support and that Florida courts lacked jurisdiction.
Where You Can — and Can’t — Pursue Your Request for a Child Support Reduction
The Florida appeals court rejected the mother’s arguments. The law that controls these issues, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, says that, once a court has jurisdiction, that court does not lose jurisdiction “unless virtually all contacts have been lost” with that state.
In the player’s case, he still lived in South Florida and, at the time of the most recent round of filings, the child was with him in Florida and enrolled in school in Miami. Under that set of circumstances, it could not be said that Florida was virtually devoid of contacts with this family. That meant that the father was entitled to go forward with his child support modification case in Miami, and was not required to go to Maryland to get the reduction in child support that he sought.
When you experienced a substantial reduction in your income, that may impact your ability to meet what may be a very large child support obligation, especially if you are a high earner. When that happens, you may need to use the court system here in Florida to get a much-needed change to your child support. The knowledgeable South Florida family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman are here to help. Our family law attorneys have been providing diligent advocacy and thoughtful solutions to our divorce, child custody and child support clients for many years. Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation and find out how this firm can help you.