If one parent is legally obligated to pay child support to another parent, but intentionally fails to do so, you can take legal action to collect the past due support. This is done through a motion to enforce the support order, and hold the party who failed to pay in contempt of court. Moreover, if the other party is in fact held in contempt of court, you will likely be awarded your attorney’s fees and costs associated with the enforcement of your contempt action. We can guide you through this process.
Establishing Child Support
Florida law recognizes that parents have an absolute duty to provide financial support for their children. Before you can enforce a support order, you must establish an obligation of the other party to pay child support. This requires a judge to sign a child support order that can be enforced. Florida utilizes a guideline to determine the amount of child support that is appropriate in a given case. The amount is determined by the gross income of the parties, health insurance costs, daycare fees and the number of overnights exercised by both parents under any parenting plan that may be in place. The amount calculated by the Florida Child Support Guidelines is presumptively correct and the court has little discretion to deviate from the recommended amount. Once entered, you will have a legally enforceable right to receive child support.
Past Due Child Support Payments
Most Florida courts are strict about child support payments being paid in full and on time. When an obligated parent falls behind, the past-due amount is called an “arrearage.” We can help you collect the arrearage amount, as well as your legal fees and costs associated with filing an enforcement case against the payor parent.
Motion for Civil Contempt
A petition or motion for civil contempt is used when someone violates a court order. This document tells the court that you have a child support order but the other parent has failed to keep up with their payments. The court will assume that the other parent has the ability to pay child support unless it is proven otherwise. Defenses to contempt petitions often include medical inability to work or being laid off from a job, and thereby being unable to pay support as ordered. In any event, after a court hearing, the court will issue an order stating how and when the past-due support will be paid, as well as any penalties imposed due to the untimely payment.
Speak With Our Child Support Lawyers
If you’re having trouble establishing or enforcing child support, it’s best to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your rights. We will walk you through the entire process, ensure that you have all the necessary information, and answer any questions you may have. We will then file a case on your behalf and protect your right to receive child support. To begin the process, give us a call at (850) 613-6923.