Child support: What happens if I get behind?

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Child Support on Thursday, July 30, 2015.

Missing a child support payment may seem like a fairly minor issue, especially if you plan to make it up later, but it’s easy for this to snowball until you are significantly behind. Paying parents should always be aware of their state’s child support enforcement procedures and the possible consequences of becoming delinquent.

In the state of Florida, the child support agency usually begins by sending the paying parent written notices that the child support is past due. This is one reason why it is very important to always keep the agency updated on your current address. After this, the next step is usually to notify the paying parent’s employer to start withholding the child support from the parent’s checks so that the money can go straight to the child support balance.

In serious cases, where the payor gets significantly behind or ignores the child support agency’s notices, the penalties increase. It is possible for your driver’s license to be suspended or your passport revoked or denied. If you are at least $400 behind and have not been in communication with the child support agency, the delinquent amount will also be reported on your credit.

If you are having trouble making your child support payments or have just become aware that you are going to lose your job or experience a significant decrease in income, it’s important to talk with an attorney as soon as possible. If you notify the child support agency ahead of time, it may be possible to set up an alternative payment schedule or the like until your employment and income stabilize again. This is not possible in every situation, but a family law attorney can help you understand your options.

Source: Florida Department of Revenue, “Enforcement of Child Support Orders,” accessed July 30, 2015