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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Support > Penalties For Not Paying Child Support In Florida

Penalties For Not Paying Child Support In Florida


Child support plays an important role in making sure children of divorced or single parents are provided for. These payments help in meeting daily expenses, such as for food, clothing, and shelter, as well as in making sure the child has what they need in regards to school and recreational activities. When a parent fails to pay or provide child support, the results can be devastating. Getting a Florida child support order put in place helps to ensure you and your child are protected. If the other parent fails to adhere to the terms of this order, they can face serious penalties.

How A Child Support Order Protects You And Your Child

Under the Florida Statutes, parents have a legal duty to provide financially for their children, regardless of their relationship with the other parent. Once a formal child support order is in place through the court, it must be followed. If the parent fails to make payments or pays less than the amount ordered, you have the right to take them back to court. The judge in your case may then mandate wage garnishment, in which future child support payments are deducted directly from the parent’s paycheck. If they continue to refuse to pay, they could be facing fines, court costs, and a potentially lengthy jail sentence. They can also face additional enforcement actions.

Child Support Enforcement In Florida

Throwing a parent in jail for not paying child support sends a message in regards to how serious the court takes this obligation. However, it has little effect in terms of putting money directly in the other parent’s pocket. In addition to wage garnishment, there are other actions the court can take to ensure your child gets the financial support they deserve. According to the Florida Department of Revenue these include:

  • Seizing funds in bank accounts: This could entitle the state to claim the money contained within to put it towards getting the parent caught up on child support payments;
  • Seizing government benefits: If they receive unemployment, Social Security, or benefits through the Veteran’s Administration (VA), a portion of their monthly check could be seized and put towards child support payments;
  • Seizure of lottery winnings: If they play the lottery or claim any type of winnings, these can be seized as well.
  • Seizure of tax refunds: You may be entitled to a portion of any tax refunds the non-paying parent is due to receive.

In addition to these enforcement efforts, liens may be placed on their property as well. This  prevents non-paying parents from selling their home, car, or property without getting caught up on their outstanding child support debt first. They can also have their driving privileges and professional business licenses suspended, which provides additional incentive to ensure child support gets paid.

Contact Us Today for Help 

As an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support attorney, Vanessa L. Prieto can guide you in enforcement efforts to ensure you and your child get the money you deserve. Call or contact our office online and request a consultation today.

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