How Child Support Payments are Enforced in Florida
The state of Florida has comparatively strict laws requiring the payment of court-ordered child support. To enforce payment, courts use a wide variety of mechanisms. Whether you are concerned about an ex-spouse’s failure to pay as ordered or you are the noncustodial payer, it is important to understand how child support is enforced and how an individual should go about seeking enforcement.
How to Seek Enforcement of Child Support
First, to ask the court to step in and enforce the payment of court-ordered child support, the recipient spouse must file a document called a motion for civil contempt. In order to do so, the recipient spouse must be able to prove that there exists a valid and court-ordered child support order and, of course, that the other parent has not paid in accordance with the order. It is possible for the other parent to claim that they do not have the ability to pay, however, it will be that parent’s responsibility to demonstrate that in response to the motion for contempt. A hearing with a judge follows the filing of the motion to determine how and when the parent should pay the overdue money and whether other penalties are appropriate.
What Enforcement Looks Like
Once a judge determines that the parent who failed to pay should be penalized, then the judge must determine which penalty or penalties to apply. Judges have wide discretion in ordering remedies. They can establish or invent a payment plan for the paying parent to follow, withhold income from paychecks or order money drawn directly from the parent’s accounts, order the sale of the nonpaying parent’s vehicles or other items to be sold to pay the overdue payments, and even incarcerate a delinquent parent. Penalties to nonpaying parents can also include withholding from federal or state income tax refunds or workers’ compensation funds, freezing of home equity lines, and even confiscating lottery winnings. Delinquent parents may additionally be required to reimburse the recipient parent’s legal and travel fees for the hearing, and can lose their passport, driver’s license, vehicle registrations, professional occupational licenses as a result of being in contempt of the payment order.
An Additional Regulatory Detail
The state of Florida, as mentioned above, takes delinquent child support payments very seriously. In conjunction with these methods for procuring payment and holding delinquent payers responsible, Florida’s Department of Revenue maintains an agency program simply called Florida Child Support Enforcement. This organization permits parties to check financial records of parents who are failing to pay (for instance, to verify that sufficient funds are available) and coordinates with other state bodies to revoke state-issued licenses (like for driving or teaching). Legal representation can assist you in determining when and how to involve the Florida CSE.
What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse is Delinquent
If you are entitled to court-ordered child support and have not received it in accordance with the order, there are options for you to recoup your lost financial contributions. The simplest way to resolve this issue is to seek out experienced legal representation in Boca Raton to assist you in filing motions and attending hearings. If you have not received child support ordered by a judge, consider contacting skilled family law firm Schwartz l White at 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.