Child support enforcement is taken very seriously in Florida. All parents are responsible for providing for their children, whether those children live with the parents or not and whether or not those parents are married to one another. This legal responsibility is enforced by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Florida Attorney General’s Child Support Enforcement Bureau.
If you are having difficulty getting your child’s other parent to pay child support or if you have been unfairly accused of not meeting your child support obligations, now is the time to contact Orlando Family Team. Our skilled, dedicated child support attorneys are available to assist you with all matters related to child support enforcement, including paternity issues and modifications of child support obligations when circumstances change.
Title IV-D in Florida
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act is designed to assist obligee parents (parents who are owed child support) in locating obligor parents (parents required to pay child support) by establishing paternity, and in enforcing child support orders.
This is done by having child support payments deducted from the paycheck of the parent who owes support — a process known as wage garnishment — and submitted directly to the Department of Revenue. The DOR will then send the funds to the custodial parent. If the parent who owes support is self-employed, that parent will be ordered to send the required amount directly to the DOR on a monthly basis.
What happens if a parent willfully fails to pay child support in Florida?
Failing to support your child is a legal offense. Child support enforcement is a progressive process. If the obligor parent finds a way to avoid payment, the child support order can be enforced by filing a motion for civil contempt.
This motion informs the court that the owing parent is behind on child support payments. There will then be a hearing at which the obligor parent will get a chance to state his/her case and the judge will make a decision. If the judge finds the defendant in contempt of court, the state of Florida has the right to execute one or more of the following actions taken against the obligor parent:
- Exact fines
- Have bank accounts seized
- Have income tax refunds seized
- Have liens placed on real property (e.g. car or boat)
- Have driver’s license or vehicle registration suspended
- Have child support amounts taken out of unemployment or workers’ compensation payments
- Require the defendant to serve jail or prison time
As you can see, harsh penalties inflicted on parents who fail to support their children have far-reaching consequences. The above actions can affect the individual’s living conditions, reputation, job and employment opportunities, and relationships.
When Failing to Support Your Child Becomes a Felony
It is important to remember that once an obligor parent is $2500 past due and has not paid child support for four consecutive months, that parent can be charged with a felony. Default on child support can also be considered felonious if the parent has been previously convicted of nonpayment or if that parent leaves the state in order to avoid paying child support.
Why Having a Strong Child Support Enforcement Attorney Is Critical
When you are dealing with the financial and emotional complexities of child support, it is essential to have a lawyer on your side who is not only competent but compassionate. Whether you are seeking the necessary child support you are rightfully entitled to, fighting for your rights to modify your child support payments because of financial hardship, or involved in paternity issues, you need the power of our child support legal team.
We have the years of experience and comprehensive knowledge you are looking for, and the history of successful outcomes to give you confidence going forward.
How does Florida calculate child support?
Florida follows the “Income Shares Model” when determining child support. Using this model, the court estimates how much money both parents would spend if they remained a bonded couple. Then this amount is divided between the two parents, not into exact halves, but based on their net incomes.
Net incomes are gross incomes (e.g. wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends on investments) minus allowable deductions (e.g. income taxes, health premiums, union dues, Social Security payments, and spousal or child support from other relationships).
The process of assessing the amount owed by each parent is cumbersome and may not always seem fair. This is why you need a sharp child support attorney to help you understand your rights and obligations and to navigate the legal system.
What We Will Do to Help
Whichever side of a child enforcement case you are on, our capable attorneys are on your side. Below are some of the things we can do to see to it that you are getting treated fairly:
- Make sure you get accurate paternity testing that will stand up in court
- Help to locate a missing parent who owes child support
- File the necessary documents and represent you in court in order to move your child support enforcement case forward
- Confer and negotiate with opposing attorneys
- Work to have child support payments modified to meet changed circumstances, such as illness, injury, or unemployment, a major income increase of one parent, or the birth of a new child
- Argue your case if you have to appear at a hearing for delinquency in child support
Contact Our Experienced Child Support Attorneys for Trustworthy Legal Counsel
If you have any questions or problems surrounding the issue of child support enforcement, Orlando Family Team has answers and solutions readily available. As soon as you contact us we will commit to working diligently in your best interests.