Parenting is never easy, even in the best of circumstances. However, when a person (or people) becomes a parent, they must provide for their child's basic needs until adulthood. If a family separates and there are children involved in the divorce, typically, the parent not living with the child (the noncustodial parent) will pay money to the custodial parent to help support the child. This is known as “child support”.
Child support covers expenses for children such as food, housing, clothes, schooling, and other day-to-day activities. However, there are times when the noncustodial parent does not pay their dues, and things can get complicated for both parties. If you are in the difficult situation of needing to enforce child support payments from your previous spouse or partner, then keep reading. This article will cover the process of enforcing child support in Florida and what you can expect to happen.
Enforcing Child Support in Florida
An order must already be in place, signed by a judge, and filed with the court clerk's office to enforce child support. Filing a Motion for Civil Contempt is the most common process to enforce child support. Civil contempt is used when a person violates a court order. When filing this motion, it tells the court that the Petitioner (custodial parent) has a valid order in place and the Respondent (noncustodial parent) is not following it. To prove your child's other parent is in contempt of the child support order, you'll have to show the following:
- You have a valid child support order approved and signed by a judge.
- The other parent hasn't paid child support according to the order, and
- The other parent can pay.
- The court will assume the other parent has the ability to pay. It's up to the other parent to show they can't pay.
This results in “back” child support payments that the noncustodial parent will owe the custodial parent.
If the judge decides that the noncustodial parent is in “contempt” at the hearing— which both parents must attend—the judge will issue an order stating how and when they should pay the overdue amount. Sometimes penalties for the noncustodial parent can be, but are not limited to:
- Suspension of driver's license
- Paying a fine
- Bank accounts can be seized
- Income tax refund can be withheld
- Or even jail time
At Family Matters Law Group, we are singularly equipped to offer well-rounded and holistic solutions for our clients, no matter their circumstances. If you are struggling to get the noncustodial parent to pay the child support they are legally obligated to pay, allow us to help you enforce your current child support order. Our skilled attorneys at Family Matters Law Group have worked with families all over the Miami Dade and Broward counties, including Doral, El Portal, Coral Spring, Miramar, and Miami Beach, to resolve their unpaid child support payments. Contact us today to discuss your specific situation and how Family Matters Law Group can provide you with the legal guidance you need to move forward.