What to Do If My Ex is Not Paying Child Support?
It can be incredibly stressful and frustrating when your ex is not paying child support. After all, you rely on those payments to help pay for the costs of rearing your child. If you have discussed the matter with your ex, and they are still refusing to pay child support or ignoring your attempts to talk to them, it’s time to look at your legal options.
Enforcing a Child Support Order in Florida
To enforce a child support order and ensure that your ex takes responsibility for their actions, you can file a motion for civil contempt. This motion informs the court that your ex is not paying child support. You need to prove that your ex is in contempt of the order by showing that:
- Your child support order is valid and has been signed by the judge.
- Your ex has not made payments according to the order.
- Your ex is financially capable of making child support payments. The court usually assumes that the non-custodial parent is capable of making payments, so it’s up to your ex to prove they cannot pay to avoid being held in contempt of court and getting penalized.
The court will schedule a hearing where a judge will determine whether your ex is in contempt. If the judge believes your ex is in contempt, they will issue an order that details when and how your ex must pay overdue payments. The judge may likewise decide to include other penalties, such as fines or jail time.
The judge may order various remedies to collect child support payments from your ex, such as:
- Withholding income from your ex’s paychecks
- Establishing a payment plan that your ex must follow
- Intercepting state or federal tax refunds when they owe more than $500
- Intercepting lottery winnings that exceed $600
- Placing liens on your ex’s vehicles and ordering their sale if they owe $600 or more
- Garnishing money from your ex’s financial accounts if they owe you four months’ worth of child support or more than $600
- Placing liens on your ex’s personal or real property and ordering their sale
- Claiming and selling your ex’s unclaimed or abandoned property
- Freezing your ex’s home equity line to prevent money that’s supposed to be spent on child support from being spent on something else
- Intercepting your ex’s workers’ compensation benefits
- Incarcerating your ex for up to one year until they pay overdue child support payments
In addition, the judge can order your ex to pay for your lawyer fees and other costs related to filing the contempt motion, such as travel costs and fees for expert witnesses.
Seek Legal Help From a Top West Palm Beach Family Lawyer
If your ex refuses to pay court-ordered child support payments, leaving you overwhelmed with the responsibility of financially supporting your child, discuss your case with Brian McMahon, our West Palm Beach family lawyer, to learn about your legal options. Call our office at 561-658-1789 or send us an online message to set up your free case review with our West Palm Beach family lawyer today.