In Florida, if court-ordered child support is not paid, what can I do?

Florida is a state that genuinely cares about the well-being of its children. In fact, the words “In the best interest of the child” are the point of focus in Florida Statutes regarding minor children, especially when it comes to dissolution of marriage (divorce) involving minor children and child support. of the children, whether the parents have ever been married. each other or not. Once a court has ordered child support to be paid (either by the father or by the mother), there is no way to go around this order without consequences for the late parent. If the paying party defaults, there are definite legal steps that can be taken and if the defaulting party defaults, there will be serious consequences.

When this is not possible, usually for financial reasons, the Florida Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement will take over the case, do the legal work on the case, and go to court before the judge. Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to this approach, as there are usually over 1,000 people in need of this assistance at any one time, so it will be many months before a case using this method is heard. Also, the party needing help will not be able to contact the attorney representing them until the day of the court hearing, which will not allow much time to share personal information useful to the case.

A contempt motion is filed with the court to file the amount due. Once the child support arrears case goes to court, you will be ordered to pay the amount owed and usually court costs as well. If this is not done in the time ordered by the judge, there are several ways the court will handle the delinquent parent until the money owed is paid, at least in part.

1. Intercept the federal income tax refund owed to the offending parent and give it to the other parent to help reduce what is owed.

2. Cancel the delinquent parent’s passport until the full amount is paid.

3. Garnish the non-paying parent’s bank accounts until the money owed is paid.

4. Suspend the delinquent parent’s driver’s license, plates, and automobile registration until at least a portion of the amount due is paid.

5. In serious cases, usually when the offending parent does not even try to pay what is owed, that parent will be jailed for up to 179 days, or until a substantial portion of the money owed is paid.

If you are considering trying to avoid paying some or all of your court-ordered child support in the state of Florida, don’t! If you find, for good reason, that your child support payments are too much for you to handle, rather than not paying, go back to court for a post-judgment modification. This is where a judge will listen carefully to your concerns and work with you to best award the appropriate child support for your individual situation.

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