Can a Professional License be Suspended or Denied for Nonpayment of Child Support of Alimony in Florida?

865417_rejected.jpgIn Florida, a failure to pay child support or alimony can result in the loss or suspension of a professional license. If a party fails to pay the ordered support, then the party in need of said support may file a petition with the court to suspend the license of the responsible party. The Florida Statute regarding such a petition requires that all other recourses be used before filing for the suspension of a license. The statute also gives provisions that must be followed before the petition can actually filed with the court. As a Jacksonville divorce and child support lawyer, I can vouch for the importance of following statutory requirements because of the statutory requirements are not followed, then the court may throw out the action all together.

Before filing a petition for the suspension or denial of a professional license, Florida Statute 61.13015, you must first send notice to the responsible party that she/he has 30 days to pay the delinquent support obligation or enter into an agreement for payments to be made regarding the delinquency. The responsible party is required to reach out the requesting party to establish such payments and to provide proof that such payments have been made.

If there is no response from the first notice, then the requesting party must send a second notice to the obligated party that states the amount owed and that she/he has 30 days to pay the delinquency or to set-up a payment arrangement to pay the amount owed. If an arrangement is made, then it should be reduced to writing and formalized with the signatures of the parties. The party responsible for the support should provide proof that the first payment has been made.

Both notices should be sent the obligated party by certified mail. The return receipt will suffice as service and receipt of the notice and the 30 days starts on the date it is signed. The notice should be mailed to the last known address filed with the State depository. If the address is incorrect or there is not one filed with the State, then service must be done by publication. The statute, however, is not clear as to whether both notices must be published or if the first publication will suffice. As an family lawyer, I tend to make such decisions based on what I believe the intent, and would suggest running the notice twice or for 60 days. The court knows whether the article was published because the publication site will provide confirmation of such.

If the obligor does not contact the requesting party within the timeframe established, then the needing party may filed the petition for suspension or denial of a professional license, as long as one of the following does not apply:

1. That the denial or suspension would harm the obligor or his/her employer irreparably; or
2. The denial or suspension would not ultimately accomplish the goal of getting payments; or
3. The party responsible for payments shows proof that she/he tried, in good faith, to reach an agreement regarding the delinquency.