With prices rising in almost all categories, the cost of living can feel overwhelming for some parents in Florida. Raising a child may be a joyful and fulfilling experience, but it does not come without costs. And for divorced or separated parents, addressing these costs can be challenging.
When a child support order is in place, some parents can continually meet these terms. However, no matter a parent’s circumstance, a substantial change in circumstances could present problems when it comes to being able to pay child support.
Failure to pay
Becoming delinquent with child support is a serious situation. There are serious consequences in Florida for the failure to pay child support. And if a parent is able to pay but purposefully choses to not pay child support, they could be found in contempt of court.
The penalties associated with the failure to pay child support can be severe because it is treated like a serious offense. In addition to fines, a delinquent parent could face jail time, the suspension of a diver’s license, seizure of bank accounts, interception of tax refund, income withholding and liens on property. It is important to keep in mind that this is likely to negatively impact the individual’s credit score.
Child support enforcement
You can feel rather helpless when the other parent is not paying child support; however, you can take enforcement actions. The first step is to contact your local child support office. By working with the Department of Revenue, this could help get the other parent to pay the child support owed.
If this process is not successful, a case can be filed to be heard before a hearing officer. While they are not a judge, they can render recommendations to the judge as to how they should rule on the child support matter. Additionally, the Department of Revenue will file a Motion for Contempt. In this case, the hearing officer will determine whether a parent willfully failed to pay child support.
Child support matters can get complex; however, if a parent finds it difficult to pay or recently experienced a significant life change, then it might be appropriate to seek modification. If you can illustrate the need to modify, a parent could avoid the harsh penalties associated with the failure to pay.