Collecting Overdue Child Support in Florida
In Florida, parenthood comes with certain legal rights and obligations. For instance, barring allegations of abuse or criminal activity, a parent has the right to visitation with his or her child. However, parenthood also comes with the obligation to financially support a child at least until he or she reaches the age of majority. These rights do not change just because a couple obtains a divorce, although enforcing them may become more complicated. To learn more about child support laws in Florida and your own options when it comes to collecting overdue child support, please contact a member of our dedicated child support legal team today.
Can I Recover Unpaid Child Support?
Before Florida couples can obtain a divorce, they are required to come up with a plan for property division, alimony, and child support. Once these arrangements have been reached, either through negotiation between the parties, or through a court order, the parties must begin complying with their terms. Alternatively, if a child’s parents were never married, the parent who provides the majority of care for the child can ask the court to order child support as part of a paternity action.
While many parents are careful to abide by the state’s child support guidelines and provide adequate financial support to their children, many, whether due to an inability to maintain employment or an unwillingness to make regular payments, fail to fulfill this obligation. In these cases, the non-paying party can be held accountable by a judge, who can take the following steps to collect overdue payments:
- Withholding payments from the non-paying parent’s paycheck;
- Seizing payments from insurance settlements, workers’ compensation benefits, and IRS tax refunds;
- Placing liens on the parent’s vehicles;
- Holding the parent in contempt of court until the financial obligation is met;
- Suspending the parent’s driver’s license, or professional or recreational licenses;
- Reporting past due amounts to credit agencies; and
- Collecting past due support from the parent’s bank account.
The only way that a non-custodial parent can avoid these actions is to show that the non-payment was due to extraordinary or compelling circumstances, such as a serious accident or medical condition. Furthermore, unlike retroactive child support awards, which are usually established at the time of the issuance of a child support order, there is no two year limit on liability for child support arrears from an already existing order. This means that custodial parents who have not received child support payments from their child’s other parent can seek repayment of all overdue payments, not merely those from the last two years.
Contact Our Office Today for Help with Your Case
If your child’s other parent is failing to comply with a court’s child support order, you need the assistance of a dedicated Fort Lauderdale attorney who is well-versed in state family law. Please contact Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today to learn more about how we can help you collect financial support for your child.