What Happens If My Ex Spouse Does Not Pay Child Support?

Single parents in Florida may rely on child support from a former spouse and can take action when he or she has stopped paying. A parent should first contact the local child support office, and a hearing can be filed if a parent does not start paying. A party breaks a court order when able to pay but choosing not to, and a hearing officer can send a recommended punishment to a judge when deciding that one party willingly failed to pay child support.

The consequences for willingly not paying child support may involve jail time, a license suspension, the seizure of bank accounts or an income tax refund or fines. Both parties have time to challenge a recommendation before a judge signs an order. This process can become more complicated when one parent moves out of state, but the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act prevents another state from changing a support order if a parent or child still lives in the state the order was made in.

Parents have an incentive to pay child support because liens can be placed on one's home or a credit score may be hurt when one does not pay. If a parent has a reason for no longer paying child support, he or she should apply to modify an existing support order in court.

Florida uses a statewide formula when determining child support payments, but every case is different and can be influenced by other factors. If a child has special needs regarding health, education or recurring expenses, this might influence the support amount too. Violating a parenting plan or support agreement is serious and can mean one party is in contempt of court. A custodial parent who is owed back support may wish to speak with an attorney about how to proceed.

Source: Findlaw, "Child Support Enforcement in Florida", September 02, 2014

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