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The Penalties For Missing Child Support Payments


Parents who separate or divorce are still obligated to support their children. This often takes the form of a legal order, requiring one parent to pay child support to the other. While situations can change and a parent may find him or herself unable or unwilling to pay those amounts, they should be aware that failing to pay child support can come with significant penalties. To learn more about modifying or enforcing a child support order, consider calling a dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support attorney today.

Potential Consequences of Non-Payment

The severity of the penalties that a person faces for failing to pay child support depends on how much the person owes and how long he or she has failed to pay. After 15 days of non-payment, for instance, a person can be served a Notice of Delinquency. The penalties will start to kick in five days after this. Potential penalties include:

  • The assessment of fines;
  • The placement of liens on the party’s property, including his or her vehicle;
  • The seizure of the party’s bank account, income tax refund, or benefits;
  • Garnishment of the non-paying parent’s wages;
  • The suspension of the party’s driver’s license;
  • The suspension of the party’s business license; and
  • The denial of a passport.

To avoid these penalties, parents should pay their child support obligations on time. If this isn’t possible, due to job loss or another circumstance, the paying parent can seek a modification of the order or enter into a payment plan agreement with Florida’s Child Support Program.

Criminal Child Support Delinquency

A parent who has not paid child support, despite being able to do so, for a significant period of time could be held in contempt of court and charged with a misdemeanor. A parent could even be charged with a felony if he or she:

  • Owes $2,500 or more in child support and has failed to pay for four consecutive months;
  • Was previously convicted of misdemeanor non-payment; or
  • Tries to leave the state to avoid payment.

A parent could face third degree felony charges if he or she has owed support for more than a year and the amount is equal to or greater than $5,000. For a person to face jail time, however, a court must specifically find that a parent willfully failed to pay child support even though he or she had the present ability to pay a certain dollar amount.

An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Child Support Attorney

If you are unable to meet your child support obligations due to job loss, illness, or another significant change in circumstances, or a former partner is refusing to make payments despite being able to do so, call 954-945-7591 and set up a meeting with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today to learn more about your legal options. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you schedule a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or online message today.



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