Delinquent Child Support is a Major Issue in Florida

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Support on Monday, November 19, 2012.

In South Florida, underpayment and nonpayment of child support is a very real issue. According to government data, only 40 percent of parents receive all the child support owed to them. Fortunately, there are many options available for child support enforcement.

Some parents avoid paying court-ordered child support payments and enforcement efforts by working for cash or moving assets around via transfer to others. Both family law attorneys and the Department of Revenue can help parents collect unpaid child support and aid in child support enforcement.

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, 500,000 parents in Florida are in need of past-due child support. Penalties for nonpayment of child support on a child support order can lead to criminal repercussions.

Over 8,000 cases were reviewed last year to determine if they should be recommended to the state attorney for criminal non-support charges. Only three are facing further consideration. Oftentimes, the conduct must be egregious, which usually is non-support related, to face criminal penalties such as jail time. Many view jail time for non-payment as a zero-sum game, since it makes it less likely that the parent will fulfill their debt.

There are many types of penalties that a nonpaying parent can face when child support obligations are not met. Federal tax refunds can be withheld to make unpaid child support payments on a support agreement. Wages can also be garnished and property can be seized. Occupational, business and driver's licenses can be suspended. The U.S. Department of State can also refuse to issue a passport when more than $2,500 is owed in child support.

If payments are still not made after other penalties are applied, the court can issue a contempt order and place the delinquent payer in jail. Though possible, this penalty is not relied upon often for enforcement because the court recognizes that the primary objective is to provide support for the children.

There are many options and agencies available to those that are owed child support. It is in the best interests of everyone when child support obligations are met.

Source: WPEC-TV News, "Florida's deadbeat dads owe millions in unpaid support," Scott T. Smith, Nov. 9, 2012

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