Divorced man reviewing finances at table with calculator

Florida Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support

Florida does not take failure to pay child support lightly. In fact, it has some of the harshest penalties for offenders. Child support is, after all, payments made from a noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to provide financial support to the child. A court will not take likely a noncustodial parent’s lapse in meeting such an important obligation. Here are some of the things that may happen if you fail to pay child support in Florida.

Florida Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support

When you fail to pay child support, you may be faced with some steep penalties as a result. Florida courts are empowered to seize your bank account and take the funds that are owed. A court will be more likely to exercise this power if the funds due exceed $600 or you are more than four months behind on paying your child support obligation. The court will also be able to garnish your wages. This means that the court can withhold income from your paycheck. The court can do this not only to cover past due child support payments but also to collect future payments as well.

The court also may have the option to seize your assets or seize your tax refund. The court can seize assets such as your vehicle and real estate. The court can then see to it that these assets are sold off to cover your past due child support obligations. Furthermore, if you owe over $500 in past due child support, and it is projected that you will receive a tax refund, the court can place a hold on your federal and state tax refund. The court may also intercept benefits you are receiving, such as workers’ compensation.

On top of the following ways a court can employ to recover funds necessary to cover your past due child support obligations, there are other penalties you may confront. For example, a court can have your driver’s licenses suspended. The suspension will not be lifted until you satisfy your past due child support obligations or you set up a repayment plan that has been approved by the court. Any professional licenses you hold are also put at risk of suspension. A court may suspend your professional license until you make the necessary payments or enter into a court-approved repayment plan. Last, but not least, the court can file a credit report if you fall behind on your child support payments for more than 15 days.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Considering the stiff penalties you can face should you fail to meet your child support obligations, it is best to try and remedy the situation before it reaches this point. If you are struggling to meet your child support payments, do not delay in reaching out to the family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou. Our dedicated attorneys can discuss your options and whether or not you may be able to pursue a modification of your child support obligation. Contact us today.

Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.