Not receiving the child support you are entitled to and relying on is not just frustrating; it can lead to severe financial instability and uncertainty. When you should receive child support from your child’s other parent, but they are behind on their payments, you may wonder what you can do about it.
A Boca Raton child support enforcement lawyer may be able to provide you with solutions to collecting what your co-parent owes you and prompt them to begin making their payments regularly, as ordered. A seasoned attorney is ready to help you return stability to your life.
State Child Support Enforcement Program
When the parent who pays support has steady employment, enforcement efforts usually begin with the Florida Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program, administered by the Department of Revenue. CSE has tools available to enforce a child support order without court intervention. They can garnish an obligor’s wages and have tools to collect a past-due support order. They can check Florida financial records for resources like bank accounts or investments and withhold a tax refund to pay past-due support. They can also revoke a parent’s driving privileges until they pay past due support or make a payment plan.
In certain circumstances, CSE struggles to collect child support. Frequently in cases of self-employment or unemployment, CSE has trouble collecting because there are no wages to garnish. In these cases, court intervention may be a better tool for enforcement. A child support enforcement lawyer in Boca Raton can help parents pursue contempt and other remedies available in court.
Motion for Contempt
When a parent fails to pay child support, a common tool for enforcement is a motion for contempt. To seek an order of contempt, the court will need to find that:
- There is a valid child support order in place
- The other parent has not paid the support required by the order
- The parent has the ability to pay the order
- The parent willfully or intentionally failed to pay child support knowing it was due
The court assumes the obliged parent is able to pay, so it is up to them to prove they cannot. When the parent cannot pay because they have no income, the court may order them to seek employment. This can include requiring them to file reports with the court showing what efforts they are making to seek employment, as well as requiring participation in job training, work placement, or other programs. When the parent willfully fails to comply with an order to seek work, the court may hold them in contempt. An attorney in Boca Raton could support a parent in enforcing child support payments.
Remedies Available After a Finding of Contempt
Once the court has found a parent in contempt, they may order several things to try and resolve the past-due balance. These remedies include entering a judgment against the obligated parent, ordering sanctions, attorney fees, and sometimes jail time. A knowledgeable lawyer in Boca Raton could explain the enforcement options available to a parent seeking their child support payments.
One remedy not available in a child support enforcement action is withholding parenting time from the parent refusing to pay. Under Florida Statutes § 61.13(4)(a), a parent may not refuse to honor the current parenting schedule based on the other parent’s failure to pay child support.
Secure Payments With a Boca Raton Child Support Enforcement Attorney
Not receiving child support causes financial hardship for those who depend on it. When you are not receiving the child support you rely on, take charge of the situation and reach out to a Boca Raton child support enforcement lawyer. An experienced attorney could help you recover the funds you are entitled to. Call today to discuss your legal options.