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Lawmaker Proposes Penalty Changes for Delinquent Child Support

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Support on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Family law resources are available to help guide parents through child support challenges they may face. A Florida state lawmaker recently filed the Florida Responsible Parent Act which would protect parents in certain categories from contempt of court charges for failure to pay child support. Parents in certain situations who were delinquent on their child support payments would not be subject to contempt of court charges under the proposed amendment to the statute. The statute currently provides for suspending driver's licenses and motor vehicle registrations for parents behind on child support but provides categories of exclusion from those penalties.

The proposed amendment to the statute would add more categories of exclusion from the penalties. Parents who are unable to pay required child support because of an Act of God, involuntary unemployment or a medical emergency would not be subject to penalties related to driver's license suspensions and car registrations. If the court finds a parent has failed to make required child support payments because of one of the forgoing reasons, the court could order the delinquent parent be placed in a work-release program or on home confinement with electronic monitoring.

The current penalties under Florida law associated with a failure to pay child support are serious and should not be viewed lightly. In addition to driver's license suspensions, parents delinquent on child support risk occupational license suspension, the denial of a passport, wage garnishment, intercepts of tax refunds, jail time and other potential penalties. The family law system, however, offers resources that can provide for a child support modification in some circumstances.

When child support obligations become a concern for parents, perhaps due to a job change or other significant change in circumstances of the parent or child, it is important to be aware of how to access the family law legal resources available. Parents should be familiar with all of the child support enforcement and modification options that may be available to help them with their concerns.

Source: Florida Politics, "Kim Daniels files 'Florida Responsible Parent Act'," A.G. Gancarski, Jan. 20, 2017

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