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Five Ways to Enforce Past-Due Child Support Obligations


Child support enforcement is one of the most common post-divorce issues. Less than half of residential parents receive the full amount of child support. The attorney general technically has jurisdiction over child support enforcement matters. But public enforcement of a private obligation may be a bad idea, for several reasons.

The attorney general does not represent individuals. The attorney general represents the state. So, the assistant attorney general assigned to your collection case has no ethical obligation to you. Furthermore, the attorney general does not know your family. There are a number of collection alternatives available, and not all of them are best for a particular situation.

Below are some of the most common child support collection methods. You and your Maitland family law attorney can decide which one is best, and then aggressively pursue that solution.

Execution of Wage Withholding Order

Typically, divorce decrees include language regarding suspended withholding orders. These directives usually say the obligor can pay directly unless s/he becomes delinquent. Then, the wage withholding order may apply. So, executing the existing wage withholding order is usually the easiest way to collect child support.

However, there may be problems. For example, not all obligors have regular 9-to-5 jobs. Additionally, many companies use out-of-state payroll firms that may not recognize Florida court orders. An attorney can overcome these hurdles.

Drivers’ License Suspension

This approach does absolutely nothing to address the actual delinquency issue. But, it is an excellent way to get the obligor’s attention. It’s also not contingent on employment or payroll status. Pretty much everyone has a drivers’ license. Sooner or later, the obligor must take care of the suspension, which means the obligor must also make suitable payment arrangements.

Tax Refund Intercept

One would think that this option is popular during the spring. Sometimes, that’s the best time to request a tax refund intercept. But other people intentionally file these requests during other times of the year. In so doing, they give obligors a chance to work out payment plans before they lose their tax refunds. So, the tax refund intercept can either be a revenue-generating enforcement tool, like a wage withholding enforcement, or an attention-getting tool, like drivers’ license suspension.

Motion to Modify and Enforce

For several reasons, a motion to modify and enforce may be the best way to collect past-due child support.

This court action keeps the matter in the court system. So, if you need to transfer the order from another Florida county to Orange County, you may do so in the same proceeding. The judge can also take care of other housekeeping matters, such as cleaning up obscure language.

Additionally, a motion to enforce usually generates revenue straightaway and also gets the obligor’s attention. Typically, the judge requires obligors to pay half the delinquency upfront and set up a payment plan for the remainder.

Child Support Lien

The classic attention-getting device is effective whether or not the obligor owns real property in Florida.

Child support liens adversely affect credit ratings. They also carry the dreaded “deadbeat dad” label. Alternatively, if the obligor owns property, the obligor must resolve the lien before transferring the property. In either case, the obligee has control over the situation. S/he need only dissolve the lien once payment is made in full or the parties agree on a settlement figure.

Rely on a Dedicated Lawyer

Your best child support collection options rest with a private attorney. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Maitland contempt enforcement attorney, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Orange County and nearby jurisdictions.

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