What Happens When You Do Not Pay Child Support?
An unusual story highlights the particular perils of failing to meet your child support obligations in the digital era. According to sources, Christopher Robinson, 23, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin never made a single payment to support his 2-year old child, pleading poverty. However, Mr. Robinson posted photos of himself on Facebook holding a lot of cash and liquor. This prompted the Milwaukee County District Attorney to seek access to Mr. Robinson’s Facebook account, based upon evidence contradicting his claim of inability to support his child. Mr. Robinson now faces felony charges for failure to pay child support.
In Florida, the courts regard child support as an absolute, non-waiveable right of the child. Florida is equipped with a diverse array of collection and punitive enforcement devices to ensure that parents meet their child support obligations:
- Tax interceptions. Tax refunds may be seized, possibly without prior notice, through Florida’s Department of Revenue. This occurs in conjunction with the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program.
- Asset seizures. Subject to limitations as to the amounts and types of funds, Florida can seize bank accounts, investments and other property. Note that a certain percentage of government benefits are exempt from seizure.
- Wage garnishment. Through garnishment, child support may be deducted from the wages or unemployment assistance of non-supporting parents. Such parents can find themselves with a substantially reduced income and an employer aware of your “deadbeat” tendencies.
- Liens. Florida can place liens on property — including homes and workers compensation benefits — to compel payment of unpaid support.
- Other enforcement measures. The Florida Department of Revenue has authority to coerce compliance with support orders by the following methods: negative credit reporting; business, vehicle registration and driver’s license suspensions; and, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, prevention of a delinquent parent from getting a passport.
If none of these methods compel a parent to meet their support obligations, the Florida Child Support Enforcement Unit can bring a non-supporting parent into police custody and keep him or her there until all delinquent payments are made. Our Boca Raton child custody attorney is experienced in the enforcement of child support orders and can inform you of your rights regarding child support obligations.