What Happens When Parents Shirk Their Florida Child Support Obligations?

Most people breathe a huge sigh of relief when a divorce proceeding is finally over. After all the heartache of the split and all the time arguing over financial arrangements and child custody, it feels good to finally be able to move on.

Unfortunately, this is often just a fleeting feeling. Even if their Florida divorce lawyers drafted iron-clad child support agreements, many custodial parents do not receive the full amount they are owed.

The most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that only 46.8 percent of parents who are owed child support receive the full amount. Nearly 30 percent receive only partial payments and a staggering 23.7 percent receive no money at all.

Florida Child Support Enforcement Actions

So what are Florida parents to do when their ex-spouse refuses to pay child support?

Thankfully, Florida takes child support matters seriously and offers a number of options to help parents receive the money they are owed.

The Florida Department of Revenue’s Child Support Enforcement Program can take any of the following actions against non-custodial parents who do not meet their child support obligations:

  • Suspend the parent’s drivers license
  • Seize the parent’s tax refund or lottery winnings
  • Garnish the parent’s paycheck, or their unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits
  • Place a hold on or seize money from the parent’s bank account
  • Place liens on the parent’s personal property, including cars and boats
  • Report past due amounts to credit scoring agencies

The CESP, in conjunction with the state attorney general’s office, can also take the parent to court to demand payment.

If, despite these efforts, the non-custodial parent still refuses to pay child support, the CSEP can work with the court to have the parent arrested.

Some parents may also choose to hire a private attorney to pursue a child support enforcement action.

If your ex-spouse is not complying with the terms of your child support order, know that you have rights. Contact an experienced Florida family law attorney who can help you understand your options.