An order for child support can be achieved through an agreement at the end of a divorce case or by agreement of the parties. This order provides the obligations and rights of both parties. If there are minor children involved, the order must include provisions for child support. If the party ordered to pay child support does not pay in accordance with the order, he or she can be subject to a motion for contempt that seeks enforcement. This usually occurs if monthly child support is not paid. If alimony is not paid in accordance with an order, the process is the same. Both an order for child support and an order for alimony are deemed “in the nature of support,” which is significant because the resources available to the court are very different when enforcing these orders. Specifically, if a person does not pay an amount that is owed to another in civil law, he or she can have his or her assets seized or wages garnished. However, it is important to realize that debtor’s prison has been long abolished, which means that a person cannot be thrown in jail if he or she does not pay his or her credit card bill. This is not the case in support orders, as a judge can impose incarceration for a failure to pay.
The law begins with the presumption that a person ordered to make support payments has the means to pay it, as the court found that ability. The burden is on the payee to provide evidence to the court that he or she is unable to pay the support amount. Even if jailtime is not ordered, the obligation still exists to pay. Keep in mind that support that is not paid bears interest until it is paid and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
There are additional ways in which support can be enforced. For instance, the amount of money owed can be taken out of a tax refund. In extreme cases, the driver’s license of the payee can be subject to suspension. If a judge sees an individual repeatedly, he or she will be deemed in an unfavorable light. If there are valid reasons for non-payment, such as the loss of employment or health problems, then the payee can file a motion to modify the support amount. Accordingly, it is in your best interest to hire a skilled Florida Family Law Attorney to help you prosecute or defend an action to enforce a support order.
Attorney Beryl Thompson-McClary has 28 years of family law litigation experience in the State of Florida and she is extremely dedicated to achieving the best results for her clients. Schedule a confidential consultation today at no cost to you by calling our Orlando, Florida office at (888) 640-2999.