Jacksonville Attorney helping clients Penalized by Child Support Enforcement
The Florida family courts—particularly those in Duval and Saint Johns Counties—have taken a rather strict stance on the ordered payment of child support. The Florida Department of Revenue's Child Support Enforcement Division has a number of recourses available to it when a parent who has been ordered to pay child support falls in arrears.
A parent who has been ordered to pay child support, but lapses in those payments, may face the following penalties:
- Notice of Arrearage (A letter informing you of your delinquency)
- Florida Driver's license suspension
- Seizure of IRS tax refunds
- Garnishment of unemployment pay or worker's compensation
- Garnishment of wages from the employer
- Liens on a car, boat, or other property
- Reporting to credit agencies
- Canceling or holding a Passport
- Removal of funds from bank accounts
- Warrant for Arrest
These penalties can be utilized individually or jointly against the delinquent parent.
Sometimes a parent will fall behind in their payments because of a change in personal circumstances, or because the situation of the parent to whom they were paying support has changed. For instance, a father who has been ordered to pay periodic child support may have had his work shifts reduced, negatively impacting his income. He may decide that it's reasonable to reduce the amount that he's paying, or maybe he just skip a month because he feels that it's fair. A judge may grant a modification based on his change of income, but by the father taking it upon himself to change the amount, he is opening himself up to action from Child Support Enforcement.
Another situation arises from a failure to understand the terms of the child support agreement. Almost all child support orders in Florida have a clause requiring the supporting parent to pay a portion of medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance. This is independent of periodic child support payments. Depending on the type of coverage that the parents carry for the child, uncovered medical expenses can be quite significant and can occur without warning. A refusal to pay for medical expenses can also result in a notice of arrearage from Florida Child Support Enforcement.
If you are a parent in Florida who pays child support, and you receive a notice of arrearage or are subject to any other action from Child Support Enforcement, it's important to determine whether or not you have violated the terms of your child support order. If you have, it is probably to your benefit to try to reconcile the discrepancy. If you don't agree with the action from CSE, it may be time to contact a qualified family law attorney.