Child support going unpaid in Florida


As people look forward to the New Year, most hope for change and a better future for not only themselves but also their children. However, for some, particularly those embattled in the child support and custody issues, the challenges 2013 presented may trickle into the New Year.

Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that according to a U.S. Census Bureau report, non-custodial parents owed over $14 billion in child support payments in 2011. In fact, the Florida Department of Revenue, which oversees the administration of the state's child support program, reported that in fiscal year 2013, nearly $4.85 million in child support monies remained uncollected. Unpaid child support varied from county to county, but the amount ranged between 30 to 35 percent of the total amount owed, with the state average standing at 31 percent.

Even though FDOR can penalize a non-custodial parent for delinquent or non-payment of child support by taking away one's driving license and passport, some custodial parents find such enforcement steps ineffective. This feeling may be especially true when the non-custodial parent simply risks driving without a license and does not care about having a valid passport. Furthermore, FDOR can deduct child support obligations from an individual's paycheck, but some non-custodial parents may be paid in cash, thus making it difficult to garnish.

However, according to one statistician, when contact exists between a child and a non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent is much more likely to pay his or her child support obligation. In fact, according to a 2011 report, nearly 49 percent of non-custodial parents paid their full child support amount when they had contact with their child. On the other hand, where a child does not have contact with a non-custodial parent, only 31 percent paid their full child support obligation. Non-custodial parents with at least a bachelor's degree were more likely to pay child support than those with a high school education. Furthermore, custodial parents got nearly 56 percent of non-cash support in the form of gifts for the child, clothing items and food.

At the end of the day, statistics and reports highlight the issues in child support collection and attempt to pinpoint the barriers to get it. Rather than becoming a statistic, when a non-custodial parent is unable to pay child support for reasons such as a job loss or some other circumstance, they may want to consider a motion for modification of child support.

Source: Highlands Today, "One-third of child support is collected Census Bureau: More than $14 billion owed to custodial parents," Gary Pinnell, Dec. 20, 2013

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