According to Florida law, a child has a legal right to child support. This is not an obligation that a parent can waive. The state of Florida provides guidelines regarding the amount of child support that is owed based on several factors including income, applicable deductions, health insurance costs, as well as the number of overnights agreed to in a time sharing agreement.
If your spouse has stopped paying child support, this is a serious offense according to Florida law. There are a few steps that you can take in order to receive the money that you are owed to make sure that your child is receiving the appropriate financial support that they are owed.
Review Your Child Support Order
Following a divorce, or in the cases of establishing a time sharing agreement, make sure that you have a child support order that has been signed by a judge. Until you have an order for child support, you do not have a requirement to pay. Hoping that your child’s parent will support them is not the most reliable form of action, and establishing an order from a judge will ensure that you have the law on your side.
Gather Records to Prove Non-Payment
You must establish that your ex has been unwilling to provide child support. All payments made by your child’s parent should be provided by check, money order, or bank transfer so most likely there will be records of any transactions that have taken place. This will allow you to easy show that you have not received payments according to the child support order that you have. Before you seek the help of an attorney, making sure that you have the documents that help to tell you story will expedite the process to receive child support payments.
Request a Child Support Enforcement Order
If you have repeatedly requested that your ex make the appropriate payments according to their child support order, and have no had any luck, now is the time to meet with an attorney to bring your case in front of a judge. This will require you to file motions regarding the non-payment, and use the courts to assist you in remedying the problem. There are several options during this part of the process:
- Motion for Enforcement: this is a motion that you want the problem fixed and your want your child’s parent to comply with the court’s orders.
- Motion for Contempt: this is a motion that you want the problem fixed and your child’s parent to comply, but also that you are seeking compensation for this process because the other parent is not doing what they are supposed to do.
- An Order to Show Cause: this is similar to a motion for contempt, but it is the court that is making this request. This requires your ex to explain to the court why they have not been making payments properly.
Once a motion is filed, you will need to serve the papers to your child’s parent. Once you receive a court date, you will be required to present your gathered evidence and your attorney will be able to ask your ex about their failure to pay. The judge will then make a decision regarding the next course of action to ensure payment.
Request an Income Withholding Order
If you have gone through the process of the courts and have still been unsuccessful in getting proper child support payments, you can request an income withholding order. This order will require an employer to automatically deduct the required amount for child support on a monthly basis from your ex’s paycheck. This process often takes 4-6 weeks to complete and must be signed off by a judge.
Wage garnishment is similar to income withholding, but can only be used for future payments and does not apply to past due payments.
Making sure that you are receiving the proper funds on a regular basis to provide for your child can be a daunting task. If you have questions or need assistance with properly receiving child support payments that are owed to you, Seff & Capizzi Law Group has the ability to assist with your situation. At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives.
If you need assistance with your divorce or child custody case, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.