Filing a Child Support-Related Civil Contempt Motion
When someone is ordered to pay child support in Florida, but fails to fulfill that obligation, he or she could be held in contempt of court, which can result in jail time and expensive fines. Filing a motion for civil contempt is one way that parties who are not receiving child support from an ex-partner can hold the non-paying party accountable. However, filing this type of motion can be difficult, so if your ex-partner is refusing to pay child support, you may need the advice of an experienced child support enforcement attorney who can ensure that you comply with all filing deadlines and requirements.
The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure require those who file a motion for civil contempt to include certain information in their filing, including that:
- There is a valid child support order in place that was signed and approved by a judge;
- The child’s other parent hasn’t paid child support as required by the order; and
- The other party has the ability to pay.
The petitioner must also provide notice to the other party that the motion has been filed, as well as the time and place of the hearing, and the consequences of failing to appear. In most cases, serving notice by mail for the non payment of child support is sufficient to meet this requirement.
At the hearing, the judge will determine whether the other parent is in contempt and if the motion is approved, will issue an order requiring the other parent to pay overdue support. There are a number of different methods for doing this at the court’s disposal, including:
- Establishing a payment plan for the other parent to follow;
- Withholding income from the delinquent parent’s paycheck;
- Intercepting federal or state tax refunds;
- Garnishing funds directly from the person’s financial accounts;
- Placing liens on the non-paying parent’s vehicle and forcing their sale;
- Placing liens on real or personal property; and
- Freezing a home equity line to prevent the parent from spending potential child support money.
The judge also has the option of fining the other party or even sentencing him or her to jail. Other penalties for non-payment of child support include the suspension of the parent’s driver’s license or professional license until they agree to a payment plan or pay overdue support.
Although filing a motion for civil contempt can be an effective way to enforce a child support order, it does require petitioners to comply with a series of strict requirements, so missing a deadline or failing to provide adequate notice to the other party could lead the court to dismiss the petition outright.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
If your former partner is refusing to pay child support, please call 954-945-7591 today to speak with experienced child support enforcement attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your legal options. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.