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How to Collect Back Child Support in Florida

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So a Florida court has ordered your co-parent to make monthly child support payments but he or she has failed to live up to the obligation to do so and now owes you back child support. What options are at your disposal for collecting the financial support that your child is legally entitled to? Read on to find out.

Options for Collecting Back Child Support 

If you are owed back child support in Florida, the Florida Department of Revenue (FDR) may be able to help you. When a parent fails to comply with a Florida child support order the FDR is authorized to take a wide variety actions in order to force compliance. Some authorized actions include:

  • Sending late payment notices,
  • Withholding income,
  • Suspending the delinquent parent’s Florida licenses (driver’s, business, professional, and/or recreational),
  • Working out a payment plan,
  • Confiscating federal income tax refunds, Florida lottery winnings totaling over $600, workers’ compensation support payments, and up to 40 percent of the delinquent parent’s reemployment benefits,
  • Establishing personal property liens,
  • Denying the delinquent parent’s application to renew their passport, and/or
  • Reporting past due support to credit agencies.

Additionally, Florida parents who are owed back child support also have the option of filing a “motion for contempt” with the court. After such a motion is filed the court will schedule a hearing in order to determine whether or not the delinquent parent intentionally disobeyed a court order to pay child support. If the parent is found to be in contempt of court it is within the presiding judge’s discretion to:

  • Send the delinquent parent to jail for up to 179 days,
  • Attend counseling,
  • Complete a parenting class,
  • Work for a certain number of hours per week,
  • Pay the petitioner’s attorney’s fees,
  • Pay a fine, and/or
  • Attend follow up compliance hearings.

Note: Florida does NOT Impose a Statute of Limitations on Child Support Payments!

Some Florida parents mistakenly believe that they are no longer entitled to collect back child support once their child is grown. While this is true in some states, please note that there is no statute of limitations on child support payments in Florida! In other words, you can still try to collect the back child support that you are owed in Florida even after your child is grown and you no longer have an active child support order. In Florida you can even make a claim against a delinquent parent’s estate if they die while owing you back child support.

However, it is important to note that waiting to collect back child support is never a good idea as the delinquent parent may be entitled to raise more defenses to your claim as time passes. For example, he or she may be able to claim laches or equitable estoppel if you wait too long before enforcing your rights. 

Do You Need Legal Advice? 

If your ex is behind on their Florida child support payments and you would like to do something proactive about it, contact the Mander Law Group today. One of our firm’s experienced family law attorneys would be happy to discuss your legal options with you during a confidential consultation at our Dade City office. Give us a call at (800) 557-0411.

Resources:

floridarevenue.com/dor/childsupport/enforcement.html

lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/estate-elder/b/estate-elder-blog/archive/2012/01/26/doctrine-of-laches-means-you-are-quot-out-of-time-quot.aspx

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