In Florida and elsewhere, non-custodial parents who fail to meet their child support obligations may find themselves facing civil penalties and even time behind bars. Recently, former NBA player Dennis Rodman was in court on four counts of contempt of court for an alleged failure to pay child support to his ex-wife, with whom he shares two children. According to a news report, Rodman owes over $800,000.
When deciding how much child support a non-custodial parent should pay, a judge will typically base the support on the income of the parent. Here, Rodman was previously ordered to pay $50,000 per month to his ex-wife. That was in addition to spousal support, of which he also allegedly owes a total of $51,441. The figures were based on an estimate that he earned $30 million a year.
However, Rodman disputes this. One of his representatives claims that his current income is only in the six figures, and court documents also state that his income may be only $50,000 this year. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 29, although the commissioner presiding over the matter has stated that Rodman will likely have to serve only community service.
Nonetheless, the case should serve as a reminder to Florida non-custodial parents that there are consequences for failing to pay child support. In any court case involving the non-payment of support, the court will consider the best interests of the child to be more significant than the parent's economic situation. As a result, many Florida parents having trouble meeting their financial obligations may benefit from seeking a court-ordered modification of the payments. That way, one can continue to pay without falling behind.