What If My Ex Isn’t Paying Their Child Support?

When parents of minor children separate or get divorced, the non-custodial parent is usually ordered to pay a specific amount of money to the other parent to financially support their child. These payments are known as “child support.”

Child support payments are crucial to promote financial stability for the children following the separation or divorce of their parents. While the person who was ordered to pay child support (the payor) must uphold their obligation, it is not uncommon for the payor to refuse or fail to make the payments to the other parent.

When this happens, the payor may face substantial negative consequences. If the other parent fails or refuses to pay child support, you may still be able to get the money you and your child deserve through a contempt motion or enforcement action.

Contact our experienced and dedicated child support attorneys at Fournier Law to understand your legal options if your ex-spouse is not paying child support. We handle child support cases and enforcement actions in Tallahassee, Florida, and throughout the entire state of Florida.

Contempt Motion

When a parent is not paying court-ordered child support, they may face civil or criminal contempt charges. In Florida, civil contempt cases are more common than criminal ones. If your ex refuses or fails to make child support payments, you can initiate the civil contempt proceedings by filing a motion with the court.

When filing a contempt motion, the parent who does not receive the child support they are owed must show the existence of a valid court order that obliges their former spouse to financially support their child. While the parent receiving child support is not required to prove that the other parent has the ability to pay child support, they must demonstrate evidence proving the payor’s failure or refusal to pay.

Keep in mind that if the payor can demonstrate convincing evidence proving that they are unable to pay (e.g., the loss of a job or disability), they may avoid contempt charges.

Court Intervention

Failure to pay child support carries severe consequences for the payor, especially when the court gets involved. If the payor has the ability to continue paying child support but fails or refuses to make the payments to the parent of their child, the court may find them in contempt of court.

If the payor is found in contempt, the judge will order appropriate sanctions to encourage compliance with the court order. Those sanctions may include:

  • Wage garnishment
  • A suspension of the driver’s license
  • Jail time
  • Any other type of sanction deemed appropriate

Consider speaking with a skilled attorney if your former spouse is not paying child support. A lawyer will advise you on your best course of action to enforce the court order.

Paying Past Due Support

If the other parent fails to comply with the child support order, the court may find that parent in contempt and require them to pay past due support. In Florida, if the payor fails to pay child support and the payment is due and unpaid for 15 days, the clerk’s office will send a Notice of Delinquency to the parent who has an obligation to support their child.

If the parent fails to pay the delinquency plus fees within 20 days, a judgment will be entered against the payor. When a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, the unpaid amount is referred to as past due support or child support arrears. Past due support can quickly add up, which is why it is essential to make sure that the payor pays the full amount that is owed.

Trying to get the child support payments you are owed when the other parent fails or refuses to pay can be difficult, which is why you might consider seeking legal counsel.

How Fournier Law, PLLC Can Help

If your ex-spouse has fallen behind on their child support payments, you—as the parent who is entitled to receive those payments—may have legal options. At Fournier Law, our child support attorneys represent clients in Tallahassee and throughout North Florida to assist them in enforcement actions and other family law matters.


Recent Posts

Florida occupies an interesting space where same-sex marriage is concerned. Same-sex marriage had been banned by constitutional amendment and prohibited ...
Learn More