How to Enforce a Child Support Order

Posted on: Categories: Family Law

parent must explain why he or she has not made the payments. In some cases, there may be a legitimate excuse, such as a sudden illness, or an involuntary job loss. However, it the child support order was violated without cause, the court can take a number of steps, including:

  • Order payments to be deducted from the non-paying parents paycheck (wage garnishment)
  • Place a lien in personal property
  • Freeze bank accounts
  • Report the non-paying parent to credit reporting agencies

In some cases, the court may find that a non-What can I do if my spouse fails to pay child support?

Let’s face it: going through a divorce is not easy, but some couples make the process harder by fighting over issues, especially those concerning the children. Once a divorce is final, however, each parent has a responsibility to provide financial support to the children. At the same time, the non-custodial parent will also be required to pay court-ordered  child support. Nonetheless, some parents fail to live up to their obligation in this regard.

Child Support at a Glance

In making child support determinations, the Florida courts consider a number of factors, including:

  • The gross monthly income of each parent
  • The number of children involved
  • The custody arrangement
  • Whether one party is paying spousal support to the other
  • The health, medical, educational and other childcare costs

Generally, child support orders require monthly payments to be made until the child reaches adulthood. However, it is not uncommon for a parent to make payments late, not pay the full amount, or stop making payments entirely.

Enforcing Child Support

If your ex-spouse fails or refuses to make child support payments, an experienced family law attorney can take legal action to enforce the child support order.

In this situation, a document known as an Order to Show Cause will be filed with the court. A hearing will be conducted at which the non-paying paying parent willfully disobeyed a child support order, especially repeat offenders – or “deadbeat parents.” In this case, the court may find the non-paying parent to be in contempt of court and impose a jail sentence. However, the courts are reluctant to go this far since the non-paying parent would not be able to work and earn a living and unable to make the child support payments at all.

The Takeaway

Although all parents have an obligation to provide for the well-being of their children, circumstances may arise when a parent is unable to pay child support. If there is no legitimate reason for not-paying, however, parents who fail to fulfill their obligations must be held accountable.