When the Co-Parent or Ex-Spouse Stops Paying Child Support

When the co-parent or ex-spouse stops paying child support, the options you have available are many, however it will be according to what your situation is and the terms of the judgment that awarded the support. Usually, the Income Withholding Order or IWO is already in place, but if not, you should request it. This is an order which the court signs that will directs the employers, future or present, to have the support obligation withheld from their paycheck. The employer will then send the payment to the Central Government Depository directly, who will then issue a check to the oblige parent.

When parents previously agree to direct payments, this option is usually the first when the obligor parent becomes more delinquent or erratic in payments. Note: By law, the court is obligated to impose the IWO, which previously was referred to as the "Income Deduction Order" as per Florida Statutes 61.1301(1)(a), except in the cases of older cases where the statute did not apply, is the only time an IWO cannot be used. Having an IWO put into place is therefore quite easy to do as long as the oblige parent can prove the obligor parent is delinquent and that the oblige parent is entitled to support.

If you are making the request of an IWO, also be certain to request the court to assess any arrearage in support you might be due, as payment toward the delinquent child support, which can be ordered paid through income withholding at a rate of 20 percent of the monthly payment. An example would be when the obligor owes $100 per month "regular support" the added arrearage payment would be $20 per month. This payment will continue every month until the complete back support is paid off completely. However, if the obligor parent only makes their income in "under the table" cash or by being self-employed, the IWO will not be of much service to you.

Your Option is of Course Enforcement

An order of contempt enforces child support orders. You will have to prove contempt by proving the obligor was able to pay and willfully did not meet their obligation. The obligor parent has several sources besides income to pay support including liquidating assets such as jewelry, boats, retirements or an extra vehicle. When an order of contempt is served, very often there will also be a "purge" payment so as to avoid more punishment to the obligor like serving a jail sentence, as willful failure to pay child support is a misdemeanor crime.

If however, the court is unable to find suitable evidence of either the obligor's ability to pay or their willfulness, the support arrearage will probably be permitted to continue to accrue, with no other punitive enforcement until the obligor is able to start payments. An example of this would be situations like medical leave and or temporary unemployment.

For the purpose of enforcing child support payments there are other remedies. One of these remedies includes having payments made through the Central Depository, at which time you can motion for the suspension of the obligor's driver's license. This motion initiates a hearing to determine if the nonpayment is justified. Additionally, if because of going through several contempt hearings, you have an arrearage lump sum for an aged out child, the court may decide on a "monetary judgment" to satisfy the debt. Though there are several options you have for obligor's who do not pay child support, the ultimate course of action will depend on the particular circumstances of each case, including but not limited to the terms of the obligation as well as the reasons for non-payment.

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