Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a party fails to pay court ordered child support, the amount of payment that is overdue is called arrears. Arrears are considered vested, meaning the person to whom the money is owed has full rights to the funds. An interesting issue arose in a recent appellate case concerning the contention that a party owed eight years of arrears based on a temporary injunction entered in 2007.

The case Carroll v. Goll, 3D17-0128 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) presented a situation in which more than $20,000 in alleged arrears were at stake. In 2007, the mother in this case sought an order for protection against domestic violence against the father. A temporary order was entered at that time requiring the father to pay over $300 in child support to the mother every other week. Eventually, the temporary order expired in 2008 and no further orders for protection against domestic violence were entered.

At a hearing held in 2015, the trial court found that the child support order from the 2007 injunction was still in effect, and that therefore the father owed eight years of back payments amounting to over $28,000. The father appealed, contending he only owed one year of arrears since the child support was ordered in 2007 and that order subsequently expired in 2008. By the very terms of the injunction order, it was temporary in nature, and its terms expired when the order expired.

Thus, the appellate court found that it was error to assign eight years of arrears to the father. The trial court was instructed to recalculate the arrears only through the date the temporary injunction expired. This resulted in a reduction of the father’s arrears obligation in the amount of approximately $20,000, showing it pays to have a Florida child support lawyer on your side. Set a consultation today to go over your best case strategy.