JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some Florida children are losing out on child support due to the pandemic, and the Women’s Law Group is seeing an uptick in calls from parents.
“We’ve seen an increase in how many people are now receiving their child support payments they are supposed to be receiving by court order,” said Lara Davis, an attorney with the group.
Statistics provided by the Florida Department of Revenue show that for the three month period after the state closed down, custodial parents saw a drop in state-collected payments of over $21 million.
The amount collected from parents who voluntarily send checks through the DOR dropped $14.2 million.
“A lot of people are struggling if they not getting unemployment, if they have the kind of job that doesn’t qualify for that, and plus they’re not getting their child support. It’s difficult for a lot of parents out there,” said Davis.
There is an upside to the story. Kids and child support are getting an $8 million dollar boost.
That’s because the state gets to keep 40% of unemployment checks when there is a past-due amount.
But an even bigger boost for children has been the Federal stimulus checks flagged for back child support.
In the three months after the pandemic began, a whopping $145 million was withheld from Florida bound stimulus checks for kids. So even with the lack of some payments, payments are up $100 million over the three month period compared to last year.
But Davis said the pandemic has created another worry for parents. They fear for their kids’ safety while at the other parents’ house.
“They’re not restricting one parent because the other parent feels they are not being careful enough,” said Davis.
And Davis said an uptick in divorces since the beginning of the pandemic could lead to more kids needing child support in the near future.