Enforcing Child Support Payments – Sanctions When You Don’t Pay Up!

Is child support enforced?

In many states, both parents have a legal duty to support their child, before and after divorce. However, when a marriage ends in divorce and children are involved, child support issues may arise. For whatever reason, whether it be out of spite, economic hardship, or ignorance of the child support order, there exists a real possibility that child support may not be timely and adequately paid. If your former spouse has failed to pay child support, there are a variety of enforcement mechanisms available to you.

Any time a former spouse has failed to pay child support, the first thing you want to do is notify the former spouse in writing as to their failure to pay. If the former spouse continues to be delinquent in their payment of child support the next step is to contact the Florida Department of Revenue at State of Florida Child Support Enforcement Website. They have numerous methods to enforce payment of court-ordered child support including the following:

Suspension of Licenses

A teaching certificate or professional license may be suspended or denied because of a delinquent child support obligation. Other licenses or registrations, like fishing, diving, and hunting licenses may also be suspended or denied because of a delinquent child support obligation. If this remedy is employed, the license may only be reinstated when the delinquency is paid, a written agreement is reached, or a court grants relief.


Noncustodial parents who owe past-due support may have liens placed on their property by the Department of Revenue. If the past-due support is over $600 a lien may be placed on the obligor’s motor vehicle.

Intercept/Seize Assets

Unemployment compensation benefits may be intercepted to collect delinquent child support being enforced by the Department of Revenue. The Department may also intercept federal income tax refunds to obtain payment of past-due child support. Furthermore, a Florida lottery prize of more than $600 can be transmitted to the Department when outstanding child support is due.

Contempt of Court

If a noncustodial parent does not pay his or her support on time, it violates the court’s support order issued after the dissolution of the marriage, and a judge can find the noncustodial parent in contempt of court. The judge may require that parent to pay the money owed. If he or she still fails to pay, the noncustodial parent may go to jail.

In addition, for more direct and timely action without having to deal with the sometimes slow bureaucracy of government, you can hire an attorney and they can file a Motion for Contempt/Enforcement of Child Support Order.

For whatever course you deem appropriate, it is recommended you attain a family law case history of your matter. This will detail the terms of the child support order and the payment history for your case. To attain a family law case history, simply contact the clerk of the court for your county, ask for the family law division, and request a family law case history.

For more information about enforcing your spouse’s delinquent child support payments, contact an attorney.

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