When two people have a child together, there is an implicit understanding that they are both responsible for that child’s needs. If the parents are in a relationship, that responsibility is shared often in an unspoken way, with each parent chipping in with time and finances as needed. When parents separate, the arrangement becomes more complicated and must be formalized through legal contracts, including a child support agreement.
Under Florida law, each parent is expected to contribute to the financial wellbeing of his or her child as finances allow. While most parents do so without complaint, occasionally a parent will shirk these parental and legal responsibilities and fail to make timely child support payments. When this happens, the other parent has a number of legal options to enforce the terms of the child support agreement.
Taking action for lack of payment
The easiest option a parent can exercise to address the issues of a delinquent parent is to file a motion for civil contempt with the court. What this motion says, in essence, is that the parents have a child support agreement in place and that one of the parents is failing to honor the terms of it. If the court agrees that one of the parents is delinquent, it will find that parent in contempt and may issue a number of penalties.
In the best cases, delinquent parents will resume payments and bring their obligations current. When parents are cooperative, they may work to set up a payment plan. If the parent refuses to make such an arrangement, however, the court can take measures like garnishing that parent’s wages or placing a lien on property. The court may even order jail time if the individual has been especially delinquent.
If you are a parent and your former partner is not upholding the terms of your child support agreement, you have legal options. Meet with an experienced family law attorney in Florida for the guidance you need and deserve.
Attorney Andrea Jevic also contributed to this blog post.