Child support orders are based on a variety of factors, including the needs of the child and each parent's ability to support the child. In other words, a parent's child support obligation is based on the given circumstances at the time the order is made. If circumstances change -- such as an increase or decrease in either parent's income -- then a modification of child support may be in order.
What a paying parent should not do is simply ignore a child support obligation, even if a change in circumstances makes it obvious that the obligation can't be met. If a parent who is obliged to pay child support doesn't use the proper legal channels to modify the support order, then the parent could face serious legal consequences.
That is the case for five-time boxing world champion Antonio Tarver. A family court magistrate in Hillsborough County recently ordered Tarver to make a $10,000 payment to the mother of his teenage daughter. Tarver was also ordered to turn over his home, vehicle and wrist watch as a down payment on a total child support debt of $669,000.
The mother, who says she works night shifts as a nurse, said that Tarver hasn't paid her any support since 2012. The child support agreement reportedly requires Tarver to pay $6,000 a month -- a payment he says he can't afford.
However, the family court magistrate heard that Tarver has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few years, travels frequently, and works as a boxing match commentator for Spike TV.
If Tarver fails to vacate his home, turn over his property and begin making payments, he could be arrested and jailed.
For more on child support enforcement, please see the Law Office of Kelley A. Joseph's child support overview.