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Can Florida Place a Lien for Unpaid Child Support?


If your ex has been ordered to pay child support to you, you may be wondering what happens if your ex doesn’t pay. You might’ve heard rumors that if they don’t pay, they will slap a lien on their property. Well, the state has a variety of enforcement methods at its disposal, one of which is a property lien. This is separate from you initiating an action with the courts to enforce the child support order.

Personal Property Liens

Per the Florida Department of Revenue’s website, your ex could be facing a personal property lien if they owe past due child support. Personal property liens are not ones that would include real estate. Anyone who owes more than $600 in back child support could have a lien placed on cars, mobile homes, boats, etc. Prior to placing a lien, the Child Support Program will assess the property’s value. No lien will be placed on anything worth less than $2,500.

The property owner will receive notice through certified mail that there is an intention of placing the lien on their property. The notice will ask that they provide a copy of the property title. He or she is given 60 days from the notice date to complete one of these methods to resolve it:

  • Pay the past due amount and keep current with future payments.
  • Sign a written agreement to make payments on the past due amount.
  • Contest the lien action by filing a petition with the court.

Methods Used to Find Your Property

You may be wondering how someone finds their assets. Well, all states have to maintain a data match system, which makes it easier to track down overdue child support. Financial institutions that have business in a particular state are required to turn over account information for clients who have past-due child support obligations to the official child support agencies. The agency then uses this information to place a lien or take further enforcement measures.

Other Enforcement Actions

There are more options for enforcing a child support order and collecting amounts that are in arrears. Some of these may be through the state, or others are available to parents who hire a Florida child support attorney.  One method of enforcement includes automatic income withholding. This is where the person’s salary is automatically adjusted so the employer takes out the child support before your ex even receives their pay.

Other options can include seizing assets; having driver’s, business, and/or recreational licenses suspended or revoked; tax refund offset programs; credit bureau reporting; and even passport denial. The parent who is in arrears is also at risk for criminal or civil contempt of court charges as well.

Contact a Florida Child Support Attorney

If you are trying to collect back-owed child support, don’t wait and rely on the state to start enforcement proceedings. You can take steps on your own to get the order enforced and collect on the money that is owed to you. Contact the Boca Raton child support attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today to schedule an initial consultation.


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