Florida Options for Collecting Unpaid Child Support
Written by: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
Florida child support that has been ordered but gone unpaid may be collected through a Motion for Contempt or by the Department of Revenue's Child Support Enforcement. A court order is enforceable, so if you have not received child support payments, you may want to look into both a private action of a Motion for Contempt and the State's assistant with enforcement.
A Motion for Contempt may be brought by the parent that should be receiving child support that was previously court ordered. The action requires the party responsible for paying support to show to the court why s/he is not paying. If the obligor (the one owing support) cannot show good cause for nonpayment and cannot present the court with a financial solution to the support presently owed and the amount owed for past support, then that parent may be held in contempt. One result for being held in contempt may be jail time, with an amount for release set at what is owed in support. The action may also lead to a financial solution that requires child support, plus back support to be paid.
If Child Support Enforcement (CSE) is aware of the arrears owed, because the money was owed through the State Depository, then CSE may get the obligor's driver license suspended, keep any tax refund going to that parent, freeze that parent's bank accounts, petition the court for jail time, etc. Florida has an interest in getting support for children because otherwise that child may be on State support. Therefore, the State is quite active in enforcing support obligations.
When such issues arise, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney that can guide you through the process and further explain your options.