Consequences of Not Paying Florida Child Support

If a court orders you to pay child support, I have two words for you: Pay It.  Child support is taken so seriously by the Florida and federal government that it is one of the few types of debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, and it can be enforced against you no matter which state in this country you live in or move to.

The Florida Statutes and Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure provide several consequences of not paying support.

A circuit court judge can order you to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of a person trying to enforce a child support order.  The court can suspend your driver’s license, and even suspend or deny professional licenses and certificates for failure to pay.  A family law judge can even throw you in jail if you have been ordered to pay support, the order is clear, you have the ability to pay the support, and yet you fail to pay the child support.

Keep in mind that if you were ordered to pay child support, and there has been a substantial change in circumstances since a court entered the child support order, you may be eligible for a modification of the child support order.

Though it may seem great for people receiving child support that there are so many methods for enforcing support orders, the truth is that support proceedings can oftentimes take many months.  Additionally, the party seeking enforcement (as well as the person who owes child support) will usually end up spending thousands – and sometimes tens of thousands – of dollars out of pocket to attempt to recoup the child support.

This is why I highly recommend anyone seeking enforcement of child support or defending against child support enforcement to consider the private, respectful collaborative family law process.  In the collaborative process, both parties retain a trained attorney who is hired for the limited basis of reaching an out-of-court settlement.  The clients and their attorneys agree that the attorneys may not appear in contested court hearings, so they are focused solely on coming to a negotiated settlement.

If there has been a lot of conflict between the parties, I have found it beneficial to use a Facilitator, who is a neutral professional that helps parties communicate and reach an agreement.  Facilitators usually have a mental health background, which is useful in child support cases as payment and failure to pay child support can oftentimes be connected to emotional issues that, if ignored, will lead to many years of unnecessary and costly contested litigation.

Further, it is usually more efficient to have a neutral financial professional, with either an accounting or financial planning background, to help create financial affidavits and gather all necessary financial documents.  In most cases this gathering of financial information is done by both parties’ attorneys at their hourly rates, and so a consolidation of this effort by one professional with a financial background can greatly reduce costs.  The financial professional may also provide options for settlement that the attorneys and parties could not have developed on their own.

The collaborative process is beneficial to the person who owes support in that embarrassing details never become part of the public record, and the parties can usually agree to a pay schedule or other accommodation that is uniquely tailored to the payor’s ability.  The collaborative process is also beneficial to the person who is owed child support because he or she usually spends less money in professionals’ fees to get an acceptable result, and I have found that the collaborative process generally is much quicker than a court-based resolution (the Courts are overflowing in cases, and oftentimes it takes many months to schedule a hearing in front of a judge).

Additionally, once the parties have reached a resolution, then you can submit it to a judge (usually without a hearing) who can make it part of an enforceable court order.

If you have questions regarding child support or the collaborative process, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or by filling out our contact form.

Adam B. Cordover is the current president of Next Generation Divorce, a non-profit organization composed of caring and collaboratively-trained attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals serving Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, Florida Statutes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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