Potential child support enforcement penalties in Florida

A child support order is a valid legal order issued by the family court which must be followed and complied with. There are serious consequences for a failure to pay child support. A variety of potential penalties are associated with a failure to pay child support. It is important that parents not ignore their child support obligations as outlined in the child support order directing them to make periodic child support payments.

Penalties for failure to pay child support in Florida can include incoming withholding; garnishment; income tax refund intercepts; negative credit reporting; personal property liens; confiscation of lottery winnings and workers' compensation benefits; driver's license suspension; the suspension of a business, professional or recreational license; the denial of a passport and other possible penalties and consequences as well. In some cases, jail time may be a penalty for failure to pay child support.

Because it is important to meet child support obligations, and recipient parents have help collecting child support, it is also important for paying parents to be familiar with possible options to help them. It may be possible to modify an existing child support order if the paying parent is experiencing difficulty meeting child support obligations. In some circumstances, it may be possible to modify child support obligations based on a significant change in circumstances such as when the paying parent has lost a job or in other circumstances. Child support may also be modified based on a significant change in the child's life.

The family court will not know to help a paying parent struggling to meet child support obligations if they do not promptly notify the court and request a child support modification. Parents should never simply ignore a valid child support order and both child support paying and recipient parents should be family with the family law legal options available to help them.

Source: Florida Department of Revenue, "Enforcement of Child Support Orders," Accessed May 23, 2017

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