Child Support Enforcement Lawyer Jacksonville, FL
Parents have a legal and ethical obligation to support their children. Unfortunately, sometimes you’re child won’t get the resources they need without help from a child support enforcement attorney. At The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, PA, we aggressively protect our clients’ rights and advocate for their children’s interests. If you have questions about a child support order, we’re here to help.
What Should I Do If My Ex Refuses to Pay Child Support?
If your child’s non-custodial parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support, you can file a petition for support. However, if your child support agreement was voluntary and not court-ordered, you should immediately consult with a child support enforcement attorney. A lawyer can help your children get the financial support they deserve. This might include a temporary child support and custody while you and your ex sort out the details of a permanent agreement.
However, you should never violate a child custody or visitation agreement in retaliation for non-payment of child support. This can open you up to civil liability and criminal charges. Instead, consult with an experienced child support enforcement attorney who can help you build a plan that protects your children and ensures their financial stability.
For more information about obtaining an initial child support order, contact The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran. If you need help enforcing an existing order, keep reading.
You Have Child Support Enforcement Options
While most parents want to support their children, some simply refuse to meet their obligations. These dishonest parents might opt for voluntary unemployment, work for cash (“under the table employment”), or intentionally get jobs that are below their qualifications and income potential. To make matters worse, they might taunt you with their refusal to pay child support — or simply disappear.
When someone willfully violates a child support order, you can petition the court to enforce it. This typically involves filing documents with the court and proving that the non-custodial parent is intentionally violating the order. In Florida, you might have civil and criminal enforcement options, depending on your circumstances. You can also work with Florida’s Child Support Enforcement Program, but that process can be slow and frustrating.
For many parents, the first step towards recovering unpaid child support is a meeting with a child support enforcement attorney. A family law attorney will listen to your story, and can investigate your claims, and guide you through the process of filing a petition and enforcing a new court order.
Civil Contempt of Court
A petition for civil contempt of court is the most common way to enforce a child support order. When one party refuses to comply with any provision of a court order, the other party may file an action for contempt and/or enforcement. There are both civil contempt actions and criminal contempt actions. A party’s refusal to comply with any provision of a final judgment may subject him or herself to civil contempt proceedings. There are different consequences for this.
If the noncompliance is willful and pertains to non-payment of child support or alimony, then the court may use its contempt powers and incarcerate the disobedient party. The court can not use its contempt power to impose incarceration if the payment is ordered to equalize the “equitable distribution” scheme of a final judgment. Instead, the court may enter an order of enforcement or enter judgment against the non-complying party. If the non-compliance pertains to the parenting provisions of a final judgment then incarceration is generally unavailable.
The Florida court may also sanction a parent for his or her misconduct if the evidence is sufficient to warrant a finding by the court that the parent’s actions constitute parental misconduct.
What Can an Enforcement Order Do?
In a child support enforcement claim, civil contempt motions typically seek enforcement of the child support order, rather than incarceration. An enforcement order can:
- Withhold income from the parent’s paychecks
- Demand a payment plan for unpaid child support
- Seize a parent’s income tax returns or lottery winnings (under certain circumstances)
- Withdraw funds from a parent’s bank account if they have extensive unpaid child support
- Divert workers’ compensation payments towards the parent’s child support obligation
- Place liens on property or demand the sale of real estate or personal property
Once you have this order, your child support enforcement attorney or Florida Child Support Enforcement can help you hunt down your ex’s assets and bank accounts, looking for ways to get the funds your children desperately need.
The court can also revoke a delinquent parent’s driver’s license, professional and other licenses, and passport. Once the parent meets the enforcement order, he or she will typically regain these privileges.
Criminal Contempt of Court
Conduct that is calculated to embarrass, hinder or obstruct the administration of justice is punishable by criminal contempt of court. A respondent in a criminal contempt proceeding is entitled to the protections afforded a defendant under the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. For more information about criminal contempt, consult with a child support enforcement attorney.
What Must I Prove in Court If I Am Not Receiving Child Support?
First, you must show the existence of a valid court order requiring the payment of child support. If you need help getting a copy of your court order, a child support enforcement attorney can help.
Second, you must show that the other person has not fulfilled the requirements of the child support order. For example, at your hearing, you might testify that the non-custodial parent has failed to make payments for an extended period of time. Your child support enforcement attorney might also present information about your ex’s bank account activity.
Finally, you must convince the court that the non-custodial parent has the financial ability to pay child support but refuses to do so. This can be done by demonstrating that the non-paying party, although unemployed, is living a lifestyle beyond the extent of the court ordered child support payment. At the Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, we carefully investigate child support enforcement claims, looking for patterns of work avoidance, “under the table” employment, and other improper activities.
What Must I Prove in Court If I Am Not Paying Court Ordered Support?
It’s important to note that non-custodial parents also have legal rights. Sometimes, nonpayment of child support is unintentional. People lose their jobs, become ill, and face legitimate challenges that make payment impossible. In these cases, you must show that you have no ability to comply with the court-ordered obligation. You must show that any loss of employment or income is involuntary or not your fault.
You might also qualify for the modification of your child support order. Typically, you must show that a significant change in your financial circumstances merits a decrease or termination of your child support obligation. To learn more about child support modification and enforcement defense, schedule an appointment with a child support enforcement attorney at our office.
Getting the Help You Need — Call a Jacksonville Child Support Enforcement Attorney Today
If you need help enforcing court-ordered child support payments or other provisions of a final judgment, call an experienced Jacksonville Child Support Enforcement Attorney anytime at (904) 360-6100. At The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, PA, our attorneys are knowledgeable and compassionate. We’re also aggressive litigators and skilled negotiators, To schedule a confidential evaluation, contact us today.
Remember: for Family Law, choose Family Values.