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Legal Options If a Parent Fails To Pay Child Support


Every parent has a duty to provide for the basic expenses and needs of their child, and when parents are divorced the noncustodial parent usually pays the custodial parent child support to maintain the child’s standard of living. But what happens when a parent fails to pay child support? What options does the recipient parent have to enforce their right to support? At the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa Bay, an experienced Florida family law attorney is here to help explain your legal options. Call the office or contact us today to schedule an initial consultation of your case.

Contempt of Court

The first legal option for a parent to enforce their right to child support is to have the delinquent parent found in civil contempt of court. This requires a filing with the court that proves the existence of a child support obligation and the amount in arrears. The judge can hold the nonpaying parent in contempt of court until the backlog of support payments are made. This can include imposing fines for every day that the payments are not met and jail time if the parent refuses to meet their support obligation.

Income Withholding or Garnishment

The next option to secure child support payments is to file an income withholding or garnishment with the paying parent’s employer. An order is given to the employer who is mandated to withhold a portion of each paycheck for the purposes of paying child support. That money is sent to the recipient parent and is allowed when more than $600 or four months of child support is owed.

Interception of Funds

The court in Florida can also order that certain funds be intercepted from a parent that is in arrears on child support payments. Federal and state tax refunds, lottery winnings in excess of $600, and workers’ compensation funds can all be intercepted before they reach the parent that owes child support and sent directly to the recipient parent to cover the amount in arrears.

Liens on Property

Another legal option is to have the court place liens on real estate and personal property of a parent that fails to pay child support. Placing a lien on property makes it nearly impossible to sell until the lien is paid off, and if the parent still refuses to make child support payments the court can order that any real estate or personal items with liens be sold at a sheriff’s auction to cover the costs of child support.

Other Legal Options

Finally, there are other legal options that a parent who is owed child support can request to compel payments. The court can suspend or revoke professional and recreational licenses, claim and sell abandoned or unclaimed property, and incarcerate a parent for up to one year until the child support payments are made.

Call or Contact Us Now

If you would like to speak with a skilled Tampa family lawyer about your options if a parent is failing to pay child support, call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule an initial consultation.




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