On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Parents who are ordered to pay child support in the state of Florida are expected to make timely payments as agreed. To fail to do so puts the parent at risk of sanctions against them by the state, and this includes being arrested and jailed for up to 179 days. Still, even though arrest is on the table, that does not mean that the state uses jail time as a first-line tactic in child support collection. Parents are generally afforded several options to get in compliance with their child support orders prior to facing time behind bars.
Most of the time, parents who are behind on child support payments may be asked to enter into a payment agreement or face other less-intimidating sanctions, such as having their driving privileges revoked or having any tax refunds due to them intercepted by the government. Nonetheless, if a parent is ordered to appear at a child support enforcement hearing and does not show up and explain himself/herself to the court, then a warrant may very well indeed be issued.
The state of Florida expects both parents to provide financial support for their minor children. Parents who have physical custody of the child are generally the parents to seek out a child support order. This can be done through the court system and by enrolling in the Child Support Program. After that order is in place, the courts and the program work together to ensure that the noncustodial parent meets the financial obligations established in the case or face penalties as a result.
A warrant of arrest cannot be issued for non-paying parents if there is no formal order of support in place. An informal or verbal arrangement for child support cannot be enforced by the courts or Florida’s Child Support Program.
Penalties for Non-Payment of Support
Florida has several remedies to encourage parents to meet their obligations to their children. Some of these include:
- Suspension of driver’s license or professional licenses
- Seizing tax refunds and lotto winnings
- Seizing bank accounts
- Placing liens on the non-paying parent’s property
- Garnishing wages
- Garnishing worker’s compensation benefits
- Placing a negative comment on the non-paying parent’s credit record
Jail is a great disincentive to parents who try to shirk their responsibilities to the children they bring into this world. However, it is in everyone’s best interests for the non-paying parent to be afforded solutions that don’t involve incarceration, since they cannot pay their support if they are locked up and not working. Jail is generally only used as a last resort if a parent truly makes no effort to work out a payment plan or seems intent on not paying.
No two families are alike, and no two child support cases are alike. At the Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, we are staunch advocates for our clients, helping them work out the issues that revolve around child support, so they can get their lives back together. Call 954-297-6546 or click here to speak with our Fort Lauderdale child support attorney or schedule a free consultation.