Divorce and Family Law Blog

In Focus: Divorce Preparedness

Posted on: Categories: Divorce Law

Going through a divorce is a complicated process, with important decisions to make and details to iron out, particularly regarding your personal and financial future. Ultimately, it takes a skilled divorce attorney to help you navigate the legal system and protect your interests. In the meantime, this article is designed to help you get organized. Read More

In Focus: Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Posted on: Categories: Divorce Law

As many can attest, going through a divorce is complicated and can become more difficult if the proceedings become contentious. At times, disputes over spousal maintenance and child support may arise. In some cases, particularly in high asset divorces, spouses may try to hide assets from each other or the court. Not only do such tactics add to the acrimony, concealing assets during a divorce is unlawful. Read More

Why You Should Be Careful Using Social Media During a Divorce

Posted on: Categories: Divorce Law

Today, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram, etc., are commonly used as a way for people to share ideas, pictures, news, and information. But did you know that pictures and comments that are posted on social media can be used as evidence in a divorce case to question a spouse’s credibility? If you are concerned about how your social media usage may affect your divorce case, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Read More

I Received an Inheritance, What Happens if I Get a Divorce?

Posted on: Categories: Divorce Law

In a divorce, questions may arise as to whether a spouse can claim rights to an inheritance acquired by the other party during the marriage. While marital property is subject to equitable distribution under Florida law, inheritances are generally not considered marital property. Nonetheless, resolving issues over the division of marital property requires the advice of a skilled divorce attorney. Read More

Should I Consider Divorce Mediation?

Posted on: Categories: Divorce Law

As many can attest, getting a divorce is fraught with difficult emotions for the spouses, as well as the entire family. At times, disputes may arise in resolving the key issues such as dividing the marital property or child custody and visitation, which only feeds the tension. For those who are capable of having an open and honest discussion about ending the marriage, however, there is another way — divorce mediation. If you believe this may be the right approach for you, having the guidance an experienced divorce mediation attorney is essential. Read More

Enforcing Child Support Orders in Florida

Posted on: Categories: Child Support

Obtaining your child support order from the court is sometimes only half of the battle. Getting the other parent to actually pay support can sometimes be even more difficult than obtaining the court-ordered support. So, what can you do if the other parent is behind on support or simply refuses to pay? You have legal options.

Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support in Florida

Florida has some of the most stringent child support enforcement laws in the country. Perhaps that is because the Florida Department of Revenue has been tasked with enforcing child support orders.

All child support payments are directed to a state disbursement unit (SDU). Then, the SDU actually makes payments to custodial parents. That way, you do not have to deal directly with the other parent when making or receiving payments.

The clerk of court is permitted to suspend a non-custodial parent’s driver’s license if he or she falls behind on child support payments. The parent must simply make this request with the clerk to get the process started. Other penalties for failing to pay support include:

  • Bank account seizure
  • Withholding (garnishing) wages
  • Withholding tax refunds (both federal and state)
  • Withholding benefits (such as workers’ compensation benefits)
  • Freezing home equity lines of credit
  • Reporting to credit bureaus
  • Professional, recreational, or occupational license suspension
  • Jail time

All of these penalties are only triggered when a parent files a contempt of court proceeding to enforce the child support order.

Filing a Contempt of Court Proceeding

You must have a formal child support order for it to be enforced in Court. That is, you cannot use the court system to enforce an informal agreement that you and the other parent may have. You must start with having a formal child support order through the Court.

Once you have your child support order, you can file a contempt of court proceeding to enforce the other parent’s child support obligations if he or she falls behind. Because the child support order is a court order, failure to adhere to its requirements is a direct violation of direction from the court, and the court has vast powers to enforce its orders.

Your motion for contempt of court should set out your arguments and the facts of your situation. It should contain information such as:

  • The date of the child support order
  • The amount of child support that is unpaid
  • How long you have gone without child support

You should also explain to the court the reasons that you think that the other parent can afford to pay child support. It is important to note this requirement because the court may not hold a parent in contempt if he or she is not financially able to make the child support payments. In those situations, filing a contempt of court action may trigger a series of events that lead to alternations in the original child support order.

Learn more about enforcing child support orders and how you can use the court to obtain the support that you have been awarded by contacting our office. Call 813-280-5301 today!