Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

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Family Law – Child Support Enforcement & Spendthrift Trusts

In family law, whether divorce or paternity, once there is an order of child support, the next problem for some is collecting said support payments. Enforcement of child support can be especially difficult when the obligor has no assets, hidden assets or protected assets. One way to protect assets from being depleted is by having a spendthrift trust that restricts the way that funds that are distributed can be used. 

A spendthrift trust usually provides the beneficiary with income while maintaining eligibility for public assistance; it restrains both voluntary and involuntary transfer of a beneficiary’s interest. Just enough money is distributed to allow the beneficiary to stay dependent on the government. What if the beneficiary of a spendthrift owes back child support?

Under Federal law, a beneficiary of a spendthrift trust is not disqualified or deemed ineligible for medical assistance to the extent that assets are transferred to the individual’s child. Furthermore, under Florida law, there is an explicit exception to a spendthrift provision. Therefore, even though a spendthrift trust may not be forced to make distributions, any discretionary distributions are subject to garnishment. Nothing prohibits a former spouse or a co-parent from obtaining a writ of garnishment against discretionary disbursements made by a trustee. However, garnishment of a spendthrift trust should only be used as a last resort when all other traditional remedies have been exhausted and are ineffective.

Whether the family needs assistance in prosecuting or defending a spendthrift trust or child support we can help. Please click, call or fill out the form to begin.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529