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Holding parents accountable for voluntary impoverishment

To avoid paying child support, Florida parents and others may engage in something called voluntary impoverishment. Generally speaking, a parent will either fail to report his or her true income or will intentionally make less money than he or she is capable of earning. Those who are owed child support may take a variety of steps to get the support that they need.

First, it may be possible to contact the Office of Child Support Enforcement. This will result in a formal child support order being created if none currently exists. After a review, the OSCE can impute income to a parent who is found to be making less than he or she could make by choice. During this review period, it may be possible to look at a noncustodial parent's employment history as well as financial records such as bank or credit card statements.

It may also be possible to run a credit check on the other parent. This can reveal how much money he or she is listing on loan applications or other documents used to make large purchases. If it is discovered that a person is not reporting self-employment or other income, he or she could face criminal charges as lying to the IRS is a serious crime.

Failing to pay child support is a serious offense that could result in jail time or other penalties. An attorney familiar with resolving family law issues may be able to use financial records or statements from the noncustodial parent to prove that voluntary impoverishment is taking place. That may result in a parent obtaining more money from a noncustodial parent each month. In some cases, it might result in a custodial parent receiving child support retroactively from when the voluntary impoverishment began.

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