Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer

Collecting Unpaid Child Support in Florida

The relationship just did not work out. You go to court, establish a custody arrangement and secure a court order for monthly child support payments. Unfortunately, the absent parent is not holding up his or her end of the financial bargain, leaving you with the challenge of raising your child with no monetary assistance. Thousands of custodial parents find themselves in this situation every day. Fortunately, the state of Florida is somewhat strict on the collection of ordered child support and there are several options available at your disposal if you need assistance.

Contempt of Court

If the noncustodial parent was mandated to pay child support through a court order, failure to abide by it can result in a finding of contempt. These proceedings are instituted through the filing of a motion, which informs the court that the parent is not in compliance. From there, a hearing is generally held. If payments are made through Florida Child Support Enforcement, a representative may appear at the hearing to present information about the status of your account.

Often times, the noncustodial parent will try to convince the court that he or she does not have the financial ability to pay the ordered support amount. To counter this assertion, you may present evidence about the parent’s employment or other monetary assets. If the judge finds the parent in contempt of court, he or she may have to pay a certain amount by a specified time. He may also levy additional fines against the party. The judge may even order jail time.

Collection Options

If the noncustodial parent is not making voluntary payments, there are various options to compel payments instead. For example:

  • – Wage garnishment – The court may order the parent’s employer to automatically deduct child support payments from the regular paychecks.
  • – Interception of tax refunds – If the noncustodial parent is due a state or federal tax refund, overdue support payments can be deducted from the refund amount and given to the custodial parent.
  • – Property Liens – If the noncustodial parent owns property, such as a vehicle or a home, the court may place a lien on the property and order its sale to pay owed child support.

Punitive Options

The court can also attempt to enforce a child support order with punitive measures. These are essentially punishments that the noncustodial parent may receive. They include:

  • – Incarceration with a purge bond, which is a specified amount of money to place with the court before the parent can get released from custody;
  • – Suspension or revocation of driving privileges within the state;
  • – Suspension or revocation of professional licenses to practice certain occupations or licenses to take part in recreational activities, like boating or hunting; and
  • – Revocation of passport.

If your child’s parent is behind in child support payments ordered through a Florida court, the attorneys of Vanessa L. Prieto, LLC can help. Located in Fort Lauderdale, our office serves Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Call the office today to set up a consultation and to discuss your case.