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The Consequences Of Unpaid Support


When a couple divorces, it can be difficult to separate their finances, ensuring that both parties have the resources they need to move on with their lives. This is especially true for a lesser earning spouse, or the parent with primary custody of the couple’s children. This is where support, whether alimony or child support comes into place. These payments help both spouses and their children maintain the same standard of living once the divorce is finalized, helping cover the cost of rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other necessities. Because they are so important, failing to make these payments can have severe consequences. Read on to learn more about the consequences of unpaid alimony or child support in Florida.


Alimony, or spousal support is a form of payment made by one former spouse to another after a divorce. As we mentioned previously, these payments are intended to help a lesser earning spouse maintain the same standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage. The amount and the duration of those payments will vary based on each party’s income and earning capacity, as well as the length of the marriage, and the needs of the spouse receiving the payments. Those who are unable to continue making these payments due to a job loss, illness, or other significant change in circumstances should seek a modification of the alimony award as soon as possible to avoid the penalties that come with a failure to pay.

Child Support 

Like alimony, child support is intended to help with financial support, although in this case, of a couple’s shared child. These payments are typically paid to the parent with primary custody and are used to help with the costs of raising a child. Again, the amount of these payments will be dictated by a few factors, including the parents’ incomes, as well as:

  • Florida’s predetermined child support guidelines;
  • The number of children being supported;
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child; and
  • Whether the child has any specific healthcare or educational needs.

Child support payments are made on a monthly basis, so even missing one payment can have dire financial consequences for a parent who may be relying on that support. This is why courts take a failure to make child support payments so seriously, penalizing non-paying parents with fines, contempt of court proceedings, and even jail time.

Failure to Pay Support 

Those who are ordered to pay alimony or child support and who fail to do so can expect to face significant repercussions from the court, including:

  • Fines;
  • Driver’s license suspension;
  • Seizure of assets;
  • Wage garnishment;
  • The suspension of professional licenses;
  • Seizure of tax refunds;
  • Contempt of court proceedings; and
  • Jail time.

If your own former spouse is failing to abide by an alimony or child support order, you can seek enforcement of that order. Feel free to reach out to our legal team to learn more about enforcement proceedings in Florida.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation 

To learn more about the repercussions of failing to make support payments after divorce, or for assistance modifying an order with which you can no longer comply, please call experienced Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.


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