A Guide to Child Support Enforcement in Florida

Child support provides for the needs of children so they can thrive. But there are often many challenges and questions surrounding child support enforcement in Florida. What happens if there is a failure to pay child support in Florida? How is child support paid? How does Pinellas County child support enforcement work? These are some common questions, among others, that need to be addressed as parents deal with the legal system in our state.

At Golden Key Law, we care about Florida families and help clients with many legal needs in family law, including child support issues. We want you to be well informed regarding the processes and laws regarding child support enforcement in Florida and have prepared a guide to increase your understanding. 

Understanding How Child Support Enforcement Works In Florida

How Do I Enforce Child Support in Florida?

guide to child support enforcement pinellas county fl

If an obligor-parent (the parent instructed by the court to pay the child support) refuses to pay or fails to pay child support in Florida, the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) will step in and take action. There are a number of tools that can be used depending on the type of case.

A Title IV – D case is one of the most common types of cases – this is when “the department is providing child support services within the scope of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 651 et seq.” This can be such actions as locating the obligor parent, assistance in paternity establishment, or assistance in enforcing the child support order.

In a standard Title IV-D case, there is an income withholding order to an obligor parent’s employer. This allows the legally required funds to be deducted from their paycheck and sent directly to the DOR, where they then send the funds to the custodial (obligee) parent.  

If there is a non-traditional income, such as self-employment, the obligor-parent will be required to send the money directly to the DOR. 


What Happens if There is a Failure to Pay Child Support in Florida? 

In addition to the income withholding order from the DOR, there are also other tools the state can use for child support enforcement in Pinellas County.

When it gets to 15 days after the due date and the child support is not paid, the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers can send a Notice of Delinquency. If the delinquency plus associated fees are not paid within 20 days, there is a judgment that is rendered against the obligor-parent. 

This judgment acts as a lien against any real property, such as a car or boat. In addition, the Clerk’s Office also has the ability to suspend the driver’s license of the non-custodial parent if there is delinquency upon request of the obligee. 

Having a family law attorney on your side to ensure your rights are being upheld is recommended when dealing with child support enforcement in Florida. Each parent has the right to understand the process, ensure what is listed as owed is accurate, and the right to legal guidance when experiencing potentially life-changing legal matters. 


How Much Back Child Support is a Felony in Florida?

The non-payment of Florida child support has serious consequences. The delinquency threshold regarding child support enforcement in Florida that would amount to a felony is:

  • $2,500 in past-due support and four months of consecutive non-payment, or
  • Previously convicted of non-payment, or
  • Attempts to leave the state to avoid payment of child support

When someone falls behind in child support payments, it can be because of changes in financial situations. This may be due to a reduction in pay, a loss of a job, or an illness or injury that does not allow the person to work. Warrants and court orders can be issued, fines can really add up, and there could be jail time and other long-term consequences such as credit score reductions and career interruptions. 

If there is a significant change in financial circumstances, a parent may be able to have the child support order to be modified that takes into account the changes. 

It is recommended to seek legal assistance, whether you are a custodial parent having issues getting child support from the non-custodial parent or if you are the parent legally obligated to pay child support. 


How Long Does Child Support Last?

State of Florida child support enforcement lasts, according to a provision in the statutes, until the child reaches the age of 19. This is dependent on whether the child has graduated from high school. 

Here are the parameters:

  • If the child graduates before the age of 18— child support ends on his/her 18th birthday
  • If the child graduates after the age of 18 but before turning 19 — child support ends upon graduation
  • If the child graduates after turning 19 — child support ends on his/her 19th birthday
  • If the child is not on track to graduate from high school before turning 19 — child support ends on his/her 18th birthday

The above parameters are important to remember so each parent understands the legal end to child support and child support enforcement in Florida.


Golden Key Law – Experts in Pinellas County Child Support Enforcement

Our attorneys at Golden Key Law have the expertise and skills needed for child support enforcement cases. We lead as legal advocates for our clients, ensuring your rights are being upheld in the complex judicial system and the processes of child support enforcement. 

We provide expert legal assistance across multiple areas of family law, including divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, child support enforcement, and renegotiating child support agreements, among other needs. 

When our clients need legal help for Pinellas County child support enforcement or other family law issues, we have the experience and dedication you need during these difficult times. We value your concerns and ensure that our client’s voices are heard.

Contact us today at 727-317-4738 for a consultation. We can discuss your best options moving forward to ensure that the child support that is owed is accurate.