How can I enforce a child support order in Florida?

Enforcing a child support order in Florida is crucial to ensuring that the financial needs of a child are met. When a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, the custodial parent has several legal avenues to pursue enforcement. Understanding these methods can help custodial parents secure the financial support their children deserve.

Firstly, the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Program assists families with enforcement. They have the authority to take various administrative actions such as income withholding, where child support payments are directly deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck.

Another powerful tool is contempt of court proceedings. The custodial parent can file a motion for contempt if the non-custodial parent is not following the support order. If found in contempt, the non-paying parent may face fines, attorney's fees, and even jail time until they pay what is owed.

Additional enforcement mechanisms include intercepting tax refunds, suspending driver's licenses, professional licenses, and passports, or placing liens on property owned by the non-custodial parent. In extreme cases, failure to pay child support can result in criminal charges under Florida Statutes.

For example, in 2018, a Florida man was sentenced to jail for failing to pay over $10,000 in child support. This case illustrates how seriously the state takes these matters and the lengths it will go to ensure compliance with child support orders.

It's important for custodial parents to keep detailed records of missed payments and any attempts to collect this support. This information can be invaluable in court proceedings or when working with state agencies to enforce payment.

Parents seeking enforcement should also consider legal representation. Family law attorneys experienced in child support matters can navigate the complexities of the legal system and advocate on their behalf more effectively than they might be able to do on their own.

In summary, enforcing a child support order in Florida involves several strategies ranging from administrative actions by state agencies to legal proceedings in court. Custodial parents have options at their disposal and should use them judiciously to ensure their children receive the support they are legally entitled to.