What Happens if One Parent Will Not Pay Support?
Florida courts determine if child support is necessary in cases involving children. If so, they will also determine which parent pays and in what amounts. Child support is a legal obligation. Parents who receive a court order to pay must do so, or they can face severe and long-lasting penalties. Suppose your child’s other parent is refusing to pay child support. In that case, it’s time to contact an experienced Florida family law attorney who can help ensure that the child support order is enforced.
When a Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support in Florida
Parents have many reasons for not upholding their child support obligations. However, Florida lawmakers take the payment of child support seriously. After 15 days of non-payment of child support, the parent is served a formal Notice of Delinquency. The penalties for missing payments grow depending on how long they haven’t paid and how much they owe. Penalties will begin after 20 days of non-payment.
A non-paying parent could have a lien placed against their home or other property, including their vehicle. They could be charged with fines, depending on how long they go without paying. In addition, their bank account can be seized, as well as their income tax refund.
If left unpaid for too long, child support delinquency becomes a serious criminal offense. Parents should be aware that three standards constitute felony child support delinquency in Florida:
- Being four months past due and owing at least $2,500
- A previous conviction of non-payment for child support
- Accusations of attempting to leave the state to avoid child support payments
If found guilty of felony failure to pay child support, parents could face jail or even prison time.
What if the Paying Parent’s Financial Situation Changes?
Sometimes life happens, and parents have little control over their financial situation. Perhaps they lost their job, had their work hours reduced, faced an expensive medical emergency, had another child or child support obligation come up, were incarcerated, or became deployed. Whatever the issue, the parent who owes child support must be proactive.
First, they should pay what they can, even if it’s not the total amount they owe. Next, they should request a modification. If they have an amicable relationship with their child’s other parent, they might be able to work out a child support modification and have the court approve it. If not, the parent requesting the modification will need to file paperwork with the court to formally ask for the modification.
Seek Help from a Florida Child Support Lawyer Today
Not being with your child’s other parent likely has many benefits; otherwise, you’d still be together, but it also comes with many frustrations and unknowns. Whether you need help with enforcing a child support order or obtaining a child support modification, Brian McMahon, Attorney at Law, and his staff are here to help. They can review your situation to work towards the best possible outcome for your needs. Call 561-658-1789 or contact us online to learn more about our family law services.