When you are legally obligated to pay child support and fail to make these court ordered payments, the party entitled to the receipt of your financial support may seek action to compel your compliance with the court order. However, many are unaware of the methods in which a court may implement upon your failure to make these child support payments. If you are obligated to pay child support ensure you are making these payments, and discuss with your family law attorney the ramifications that the Florida Courts may impose on you for your failure to properly comply.
Within the State of Florida, legislature has specifically noted the public policy of having both parents retain responsibility for financially supporting their children. Therefore, laws have been implemented to ensure and encourage such financial support be made according to court orders. Whether you are ordered to pay child support directly to your co-parent or are ordered to pay through Florida’s Department of Revenue, legal action may be taken against you by the State or your co-parent entitled to the payments. This legal action is called a Motion for Contempt. Within this motion, the State or co-parent must provide evidence of the missed payments along with the obligated parent’s apparent financial ability to make these payments. If the court determines that there has been a willful neglect to make these court ordered payments you will be held in contempt of court.
After a contempt order has been entered against you, the court may assign certain penalties to punish or encourage your compliance with the original child support order. These penalties include withholding tax returns, income, prize winnings, seizing assets or bank accounts, reporting to credit agencies, jail time, and driver’s license suspension.
Under Florida Law 322.245, a Florida Driver’s license may be suspended for failing to pay child support. The suspension of a driver’s license for this obligation can begin as early as 15 days after the child support was due. However, it may also begin on the day a court order was entered. After the process of suspension begins, the obligated parent will have 20 days to prevent full suspension by paying the past due amount in full, enter a written agreement regarding the past due amount, or file a Motion to Contest Driver’s License Suspension. Failure to take action within these time constraints will result in a license suspension without any further notice. In order to reinstate your license, you will need to clear your payments through the Florida Department of Revenue or court system. After past due amounts have been obtained, you may approach the Department of Motor Vehicles for reinstatement, however, a number of fees will apply.
Protecting children, whether physically, emotionally, or financially is the driving factor of most family courts. Therefore, when a parent fails to make their obligated child support payments, the court can seek to punish or encourage compliance in many different ways. If you have fallen behind on child support payments and are facing legal issues, contact an experienced child support attorney today to discuss your options.
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