One of the biggest post-divorce headaches in Florida is enforcing an order to pay child support. Some spouses who are ordered to pay child support to a former spouse simply ignore the order. Some former spouses are unable to pay child support because of an expected change in financial circumstances. And, some ex-spouses will use the extreme measure of leaving Florida to defeat any judicial efforts to enforce a child support order. Fortunately for the ex-spouse who is entitled to receive support, Florida law provides several remedies.
The easiest case is pursuing a motion in the judicial district that granted the divorce, or in the district where the child resides. The state Department of Revenue can take action against the defaulting ex-spouse, including seeking penalties or an order holding the ex-spouse in contempt of court. Sometimes, the mere threat of such a motion is enough to convince the payor spouse to make all delinquent payments and all future payments on time.
If an ex-spouse who owes child support should move to another state, the spouse who is owed support can resort to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which contains procedures for obtaining and enforcing orders.
The penalties for violating an order for child support are severe. They can include suspension of a driver’s license, imposition of a fine, seizure of bank accounts or an income tax refund or, in extreme cases, imprisonment. Anyone who is having difficulty collecting child support from an ex-spouse may want to explore their family law options. And, anyone who is having trouble making support payments may apply to the court for a modification of the original order. Such a motion must be supported by evidence of good cause showing why the payor spouse cannot satisfy the court’s original order.