In Florida, If My Court Ordered Child Support Is Not Being Paid, What Can I Do?

Florida is a state with sincere concern for the welfare of its children. In fact, the words “In the best interest of the child” are the focus point in the Florida Statutes regarding minor children, especially when it comes to dissolution of marriage (divorce) involving minor children and child support whether the parents were ever married to each other or not. Once a court has ordered child support to be paid (by either the father or the mother) there is no way to fail to follow this order without consequence for the parent in arrears. Should the paying party become in arrears, there are definite legal steps that can be taken and if the offending party does not comply there will be serious consequences.

When this is not possible, usually for financial reasons, the Florida Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement will handle the case, do the legal case work, and go to court before the judge. Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to this approach as at any one time there are usually over 1,000 persons needing this assistance, so it will take many months before a case using this method will be heard. Additionally, the party needing help will not be able to communicate with the attorney who will represent him or her until the day of the court hearing, which won’t allow much time to share personal information helpful to the case.

A motion for contempt of court is filed to present the amount owed. Once the case for arrearages in child support is before the judge, he or she will be ordered to pay the amount owed and usually court costs as well. If this is not done in the time ordered by the judge, there are several ways the court will handle the delinquent parent until the monies owed are paid back, at least in part.

1. Intercepting Federal Income Tax refund due to the offending parent and giving it to the other parent to help reduce what is owed.
2. Cancel the passport of the parent in arrears until the full amount is paid back.
3. Garnishing the non-paying parent’s bank accounts until the money owed is paid back.
4. Suspending a driver’s license, license plate, and their car registration of the parent in arrears until at least part of the amount owed is paid back.
5. In serious cases, usually where the offending parent does not even try to pay back what is owed, that parent will be put in jail for up to 179 days, or until a substantial part of the money due is paid back.

If you are considering trying to avoid paying part or all court child support ordered in the state of Florida, don’t! If you find, for good reason, your child support payments are too much for you to handle, instead of not paying, return to court for a post-judgment modification. Here is where a judge will listen carefully to your concerns and work with you to best adjudicate the right child support for your individual situation.

The Role Children Can Play in Divorce Decisions

Most of us feel that children are the most important assets in our lives. They represent our love, our future, and to many of us our highest achievement. We want to protect them in all ways, and their happiness, health, and education are primary concerns. So how can children help us in make divorce decisions that relate specifically to them?

Listen to Your Children

Almost any teacher or psychologist will tell you that one of the most important things you can do with your child is to listen to them. Children can tell us what they want and need, we just need to ask and then listen to their response. Even younger children can be capable of expressing their desires. Of course, the age of the child is a deciding factor as to how much input a child can provide in court. In California, most courts accept age 14 as the age when a child can address the court (provided the court has decided it is in the child’s best interest), to express their preferences regarding custody and visitation.

Make a Parenting Plan

Making a parenting plan is a good way to make decisions relating to children. Parents work on the plan together and may want to include their children, when and if appropriate. The plan should include Legal Custody, Physical Custody and Parenting Time (time-share or visitation); It should specify if legal and physical custody is joint (both parents share responsibilities) or sole (one parent has all responsibility). Making it on your own is great if you can both agree on the issues, but if you can’t, an experienced mediator can help you resolve any disagreements about custody, child care and support, in an atmosphere that supports love and a commitment to family.

Child Support

Federal tax regulations are very clear when it comes to child support and taxes. For federal income tax purposes, child support is always tax-free. This means that neither the custodial parent who receives child support payments, nor the child, owes any taxes on those payments. As for the non-custodial parent who makes those child support payments, they are not classified as tax-deductible. One very important consideration for custodial parents is to make sure that those monthly payments are specifically designated as “child support” in the final divorce agreement, also known as marital separation agreement (MSA). Child support payments should be completely separated from spousal support payments and not lumped together as “family support”. This is an important step to follow for one major reason: while child support is tax-deductible, spousal support is considered income and taxable. The final agreement between parents needs to be very clear on identifying which payments are for child support and which ones are for spousal support, so that custodial parents do not experience unnecessary tax burdens.

Don’t Talk Bad About The Other Parent – Joint Custody

Listen. We can so share a car ride together! We can share a bag of popcorn too! Sure, we can even share a dinner plate! But, can we share a kid?!!! That’s crazy! But, hey, this is what joint custody is all about! We gotta share the joys, share the responsibilities, and share the rearing process of bringing up a kid! That’s life! Deal with it.

Fortunately, this kid is not a dummy! She understands that she has two parents. He clearly knows that it took a man and a woman to bring him into this world. Don’t sleep on the natural intelligence of children. You don’t need to tell them about sex or how they got here. Because, while they may not be able to speak with confidence and spell things out like you can, rest assured that certain knowledge and understandings are actually innate. Just like a baby cat doesn’t need a grown daddy cat to teach it how to meow, the child doesn’t need you to tell him what made him. This is an inkling down in her soul. She already knows.

Because of this, you should be mindful when you talk about the other parent. Because they understand that they have come from the two of you.

When you call her mother a jackass, right in front of her little face, guess what? You are also calling her a jackass as well! She will begin to become quite the little donkey too, if you notice. Children get their personality traits from their parents.

When you bad mouth his father, right in front of his face, you are also inadvertently bad mouthing him too! Call his father all types of names, you guess what you are doing to the boy! You’re basically turning him into whatever you are calling his father!

I understand that you may have a bad taste for the other parent in your mouth, but for the sake of the child, you must demonstrate some respect and courtesy.

You definitely love your little baby. You don’t want to hurt them. If you are unable to restrain your mouth, and you go on talking trash about their other parent, then you will most certainly bring harm to them.

Not only that, but you will encourage the child to foster ill feelings and emotions against you and even against the other parent in question.

It’s best to just follow mother’s good old advice!

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say nothing at all!”

“Bringing Positive Light And Empowering Perspective To Your Life!”

James J. Elleyby

Motivational Life Coach

Go to my website to learn more about me.