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Administrative Child Support In Florida


In Florida, just because two parents get divorced doesn’t mean that they no longer have financial obligations to their children. Instead, courts will assess a child’s needs, as well as both parents’ incomes and their time-sharing agreement to determine which parent will be required to make monthly support payments to the other. Child support orders are legally binding, which means that parents who fail to comply with them face significant penalties, including enforcement by the Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program.

Enforcing Child Support Orders Administratively 

When a parent is refusing or is unable to pay child support, the other parent has a couple of different options, one of which is to enforce the order him or herself by filing a petition in court. Many parents, however, choose instead to work with the Child Support Program, which doesn’t require judicial interference. In these cases, a court hearing won’t be required, but the orders issued by the agency will have the same effect and force as a judicial order.

Actions Used to Increase Compliance 

When a child support order has been established, but one parent is failing to make payments as required, the Child Support Program can take steps to enforce those orders. The first step is to contact the non-paying parent for an explanation. It may turn out to be a simple mistake that can easily be corrected, meaning that the agency can avoid initiating an enforcement action. In these instances, the agency often enters into a payment agreement with the parent, wherein that parent agrees to pay past-due support through a regular monthly payment. If a parent continues to miss payments, however, the agency can take more direct action by:

  • Instituting an administrative income withholding order, asking the parent’s employer to withhold payments from the parent’s income and sending it to the Florida State Disbursement Unit;
  • Beginning an action to suspend a parent’s driver, business, or professional license;
  • Initiating a lien on the parent’s personal property, including vehicles;
  • Collecting past due payments from the non-paying parent’s bank account, insurance settlements, tax refunds, and certain government benefits; and
  • Reporting past-due amounts to credit bureaus and consumer reporting agencies.

There are certain requirements with which the Child Support Program must comply when taking these steps, including giving the non-paying parent a certain amount of notice. Call our legal team today to learn more about these requirements.

Initiating Court Action 

When other administrative enforcement actions have failed, the Child Support Program can file a legal action in circuit court. Such a case could result in contempt of court proceedings, fines, and even jail time if a parent is found to be in willful non-compliance of a child support order. In other cases, the court could modify the child support agreement to account for a non-paying parent’s changed financial situation.

Speak with a Fort Lauderdale Child Support Attorney 

If your co-parent is refusing to pay child support, please call experienced Florida child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to learn more about your enforcement options. Call our office at 954-945-7591 to get started.




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