Can You Be Put in Jail for Not Paying Child Support?

March 17, 2020

When you have a child, you’re legally obligated to contribute to the support and welfare of that child, even if you’re not a custodial parent. When a noncustodial parent refuses to pay their child support obligations, the custodial parent can file an action to force payment—and if the other parent refuses, they can experience serious consequences.
If you’re dealing with nonpayment, contact a child support attorney in Miami, FL. If the noncustodial parent reneges on the support agreement, they could see consequences such as fines, jail time, revocation of licenses and passports and more.

Consequences for nonpayment

While jail time as a consequence is somewhat rare, judges do retain that as an option. However, most prefer to try another option first, saving jail as a last resort.
When you’re establishing child support liability in Florida, you first have to show that you either have or should have an agreement. If child support was part of your divorce agreement, you can file a motion for civil contempt, which basically means that you’re alerting the court to the other party violating the court order. However, if you don’t already have an agreement in place, you’ll need the help of a child support attorney in Miami, FL to establish your right to support. If the noncustodial parent disagrees with the arrangement, the judge will decide the amount and who pays.
Violating your court order could come with the following consequences:

  • Additional court orders: A judge has broad leeway in ordering a party to comply with child support decrees. They can garnish wages, intercept lottery winnings, place liens on property and holdings, intercept lawsuit settlements and worker’s compensation wages and more. If the conduct is particularly egregious, they can order up to a year of jail time.
  • Reporting to credit agencies: Delinquent parents (by as little as 15 days) could see their nonpayment reported to all the major credit bureaus, which affects their ability to take out credit for homes, credit cards, cars and more.
  • Freezing financial accounts: If the payments total over $600 or more than four months of payments are owed, judges can freeze the delinquent parent’s financial accounts until the money is paid.
  • Passports and passport applications revoked: Finally, if you fall $2,500 or more behind on your child support, you can forget about traveling out of the country. Your passport can be revoked and/or any applications will be denied.

Ultimately, you should strive to pay your child support on time, every time. If you’re the victim of an unfair settlement or the other parent isn’t pay, contact an attorney today.

Child support attorneys in Miami, FL

The Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler has been providing quality legal services to Miami-area clients for over two decades. Dealing with divorce and child support issues can be a stressful and trying time for parents, which is why we work hard to see that you receive a fair and just outcome. Call us today for compassionate, zealous representation throughout your child support case.

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