Enforcing an order for child support in Florida

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The divorce is official. The court has entered an order resolving all issues, including the payment of child support. Now what? Many Floridians have discovered that the entry of the order finally dissolving the marriage does not end the acrimony. One issue that often lasts beyond the divorce proceeding is the non-payment or late payment of child support. Enforcing a court order directing the payment of child support can be a vexing problem.

Florida provides several methods of enforcing child support orders. The state Department of Revenue provides many services that aid in collecting child support payments, including offering e-payment options, locating delinquent parents and receiving and distributing child support payments. If these services are insufficient, the payee parent can request a hearing through the Department of Revenue. If the delinquent parent still refuses to pay, either the department or the parent can file a motion for contempt. If the order for contempt is entered, the defaulting parent will face unpleasant legal consequences, including possible incarceration.

A more difficult problem is created by a delinquent former spouse who has left the state. Fortunately, each of the 50 states has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. These laws permit an ex-spouse who is entitled to child support to commence a legal action in the state where the ex-spouse is now living. If the claimant spouse can prove the fact of the divorce, the entry of an order requiring the payment of child support and the failure to do so, the court in the state where the ex-spouse lives will enter an order directing the payment of all delinquent, current and future child support payments. If the ex-spouse fails to comply with such an order, they may face serious legal consequences, including a charge for contempt of court, levying of a fine and potential imprisonment.

Any custodial parent who is having difficulty recovering child support payments may wish to consult an experienced family lawyer for advice. A knowledgeable attorney can provide advice on available remedies, assist in filing a claim with the Department of Revenue and, if necessary, make any necessary court appearances.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support Enforcement in Florida," accessed on Jan. 22, 2018

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