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What happens when a parent falls behind on child support?

When a court issues a child support order, it's important for the named parent to understand that this binding legal document does much more than just set forth terms covering the amount, duration and parties to whom payment should be remitted.  

Indeed, it subjects them to a multitude of possible enforcement actions that can be undertaken by the Florida Department of Revenue's Child Support Program in the event they fail to make payments on time and/or pay the full amount owed.

In today's post, the first in a series, we'll take a closer look at some of the enforcement actions available to the Department of Revenue.

What's the first action typically taken when a parent falls behind on child support?

Recognizing that a missed payment may be attributable to some simple misunderstanding or technicality, the first course of action typically taken by the Department of Revenue is to mail several late payment notices to a parent urging them to become current on their arrears.

What can happen if a parent fails to respond to these late payment notices?

If a parent fails to respond to these late payment notices, officials have a multitude of enforcement options at their disposal, including wage garnishment. What this means is that an income withholding notice will be sent to the delinquent parent's employer essentially ordering them to withhold a set amount of money from their paycheck and forward it directly to the Department of Revenue.

What about driver's license suspension?

Yes, driver's license suspension can be pursued by the Department of Revenue. Here, the delinquent parent will first be mailed a notice warning of the possible suspension of their license and registration.

The delinquent parent then has 20 days from the date of the notice to 1) pay their arrears in full, 2) execute a written agreement for payment of past due child support or 3) challenge the matter in circuit court. Failure to take any of these steps within the designated timeframe will result in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles taking the necessary steps to suspend the license and registration.

We will continue this discussion in future posts.

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions or concerns related to child support, including modification or enforcement.  

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Plantation, FL 33324

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