What to do when your ex won't or can't pay child support?

Florida custodial parents may be interested in how the law can help them to enforce a child support order for their children. In many cases, certain actions can be taken to punish the parent who is in arrears. After a child support order is approved by a court, the power of the court can be used to enforce it if the required payments are not made. In Florida, there is a specific procedure to follow in cases where there are delinquent payments. First, the payee parent should alert the state child support office in their area. The child support office will then use the Department of Revenue to persuade the other party to make their payments.

Should this not work, the Department of Revenue may then petition for a hearing by filing a Motion for Contempt. If accepted, the hearing is held before a hearing officer rather than a judge. The hearing officer will hear evidence to determine if payments are not being made. The officer will then report their findings to a judge, who may issue an order if there is willful infringement. This order may include various punishments, including license suspension, heavy fines and prison time, in addition to the back payments. The non-paying person's bank account and tax refunds may also be garnished or levied upon.

Some parents tasked with making child support payments attempt to flee the state in order to avoid paying. However, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act prevents courts from changing out-of-state child support orders if the beneficiaries of the order still live in the original order's state of issuance.

Because the facts of every person's situation can differ wildly, parents who are owed child support are advised to contact a family law attorney for advice. The attorney may be able to examine the facts of a child support dispute and recommend the appropriate action to recover the delinquent amounts.

Source: Findlaw, "Child Support Enforcement in Florida", September 07, 2014

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