Many fathers across Florida have the responsibility to pay child support. Paying this money on time and in full is one very important way to support a child and establish at least a financial connection between kids and a parent who is not the primary caregiver.
However, child support is not just a one-time obligation: Child support payment plans can be in place for decades. Because of how long this responsibility can last and how much can change over the course of raising a child, it is crucial for fathers (and mothers) to understand two very important issues that often arise in regards to child support: enforcement and modification.
Enforcement of a child support order refers to the practice of making sure all parties comply with what a court has ordered in terms of payment. For instance, if you miss payments, fail to pay the appropriate amount, do not send them at the appropriate time or to the appropriate place, the court can step in to enforce the terms of the original child support order.
When enforcing a child support order, Florida courts may hand down serious penalties to any party in violation. These penalties include license suspension, wage garnishment, withholding of tax returns or lottery winnings, denial of a passport and even jail time in some cases.
However, as we mentioned earlier, these orders can be in place for several years and many things can change during that time. This is where modifications come in. If you are a parent paying child support that no longer reflects your abilities, the child's needs or the custody arrangement, you can seek a modification of a child support order.
Modification allows parents to reassess and in some cases change the terms of the original order for support. It should be noted, however, that modification is typically only granted when there are significant changes in the lives of the parents or the child.
Rather than face the harsh consequences of unpaid child support, it can be crucial to discuss your options and obligations regarding support with an attorney to avoid any costly mistakes. Making sure a support order is fair and appropriate can be the best way to protect your parental rights as well as the well-being of your child.