Getting and Enforcing An Order for Child Support
Raising children is expensive, and never more so than now. Between the rising costs of daily essentials such as food and clothing, combined with high health care and education costs, extra-curricular activities, field trips, cell phones, shopping trips to the mall and nights out at the movies, it’s easy to see why today’s parents can get overwhelmed. For many families, it takes two incomes just to meet basic financial needs. Parents going through a divorce and single parent families are no different. Where children are involved, both parents have an obligation to provide financial support. If one parent isn’t doing there share, it may be time to consider getting a court order for child support. Getting, as well as enforcing, a child support order is a significant step towards making sure your child or children are financially provided for.
Getting an Order for Child Support
Under Florida law, both parents have an obligation to support their children. While the parent who has custody of the child or children is responsible for their daily health and welfare, the non-custodial parent, or the parent who does not live with or have custody of the child, is expected to contribute through the payment of child support.
In order to get a court order for child support, the court will need a clear picture of both parents’ financial situations and an indication of their actual – as well as potential – earnings. Florida Statute 61.30 provides guidelines for the amount of child support a non-custodial parent will have to pay based on income. The family court has the authority to order support based on these guidelines, taking into account factors such as the estimated expenses involved in raising the child, as well as the incomes of both parents.
Financial affidavits by both parties are needed in order to determine each parent’s ability to pay. Not having a job or income will not excuse a non-custodial parent from paying child support, as the court can impute earnings based on median average incomes from census data. In some cases, the non-custodial parent will cooperate, in terms of disclosing income. In other situations, your lawyer will have to work to uncover hidden earnings and assets that could affect the amount of child support the court orders.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
Once you’ve gotten an order for child support, how can you be sure the non-custodial parent will pay the amount that’s been ordered? The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is in charge of enforcing child support orders, and they have a number of policies and procedures in place to make sure that child support gets paid. Some of the tools the DOR uses to enforce child support orders include:
- Income deduction: Support is deducted directly from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck, and can follow them even if they change jobs or relocate to another state.
- Intercepting or seizing assets: If past due child support is owed, the DOR can seize tax refunds, lottery winnings, bank accounts, and credit unions to pay the debt.
- Liens: If past due support is owed, a lien may be placed against the house, car, mobile home, or boat of the non-custodial parent.
- Driver’s license suspensions: If the non-custodial parent falls behind on payments, the state can suspend their driving privileges.
- Arrest warrants: Not paying court ordered child support can result in a warrant being issued for the non-custodial parent’s arrest.
Contact Our Experienced Child Support Lawyer
If you or a loved one need help in getting an order for child support, contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III. Our experienced Florida child support lawyers understand how important child support is in providing for your family. Serving all of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, we’ll work hard to make sure you receive the full amount of support you and your child deserve.