When you’re struggling to keep up with your child support payments, it can be tempting to skip paying them. Unfortunately, this is against the law and can have serious consequences for you.
If you are currently behind on your court-ordered child support, there are a number of options for enforcing your order. Depending on the specific details of your case, you could be facing fines, liens against your property or even jail time.
Aliens can be placed against your car, home or other assets if you’re four months or more past due on child support. This is especially true if you’re owed more than $10,000. You could also have your income tax refund seized or have your bank account garnished.
Penalties for Non-Payment
If you’ve been late on your child support, the first thing that will happen is that a Notice of Delinquency will be served to you. This will let you know that you have 20 days to pay the amount in full or you can be subject to a fine. After that, the state will take steps to collect your payments and get them in front of the court.
You can also go to a hearing with the Department of Revenue and a hearing officer will determine whether you should be held in contempt of court for failing to pay. A hearing will give you the opportunity to explain why you’re behind and how you plan to catch up.
The Hearing Officer will also look into your current situation and see if you have the ability to make up your child support obligation. If the Hearing Officer finds you are able to make up the debt, you’ll be released without any penalties.
Alternatively, the Hearing Officer may decide that you should be held in civil contempt of court and that you need to pay your child support or else face jail. A civil contempt of court charge is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months in prison.
Enforcement Can Take a While
It can be difficult to get your ex-spouse to make their court-ordered child support payments, and it can take even longer if the other parent is unemployed or in jail. But don’t lose hope!
Many states have a system of collections that can help you get the money you’re owed, and even if it takes months or years, you will eventually get the support you’re owed.
A good way to get the support you deserve is to work with a local divorce and family law attorney who can take your case to court and force the other parent to pay you what they’re owed. A good divorce and family law attorney can also assist you with obtaining a child support modification or termination.
Ending Child Support
The Florida statutes require that all child support orders contain an end date for child support. This is a requirement that was intended to eliminate the need for parents to constantly return to court for a new child support order.