When an ex-spouse refuses to abide by the terms of a family court order or a parenting plan, it can cause both hardship and stress. At Lewert Law, an experienced Boca Raton family law attorney can help clients enforce child support and alimony orders to ensure their security and best interests. We also help parents enforce their parenting and timesharing rights to ensure that both parents are active participants in their children’s lives and that neither parent is acting counter to the best interests of the child.
HOW CAN A COURT ENFORCE CHILD SUPPORT?
When a Florida court issues a child support order, a spousal support order, or a visitation order, that order must be followed, and it can be enforced. To enforce child support, you must have a child support order signed by a judge and filed with a court clerk’s office.
When an ex-spouse fails to comply fully with a court order, Florida law provides a number of tools to coax persons into cooperation and to penalize noncompliance. One thing that you can do is file a motion for civil contempt, which will ask the court to find your ex-spouse in contempt of court because of the violation of a court order. This informs the court that you have a valid court order and that you ex is noncompliant. You and your ex will then have to attend a contempt hearing where your attorney will present the evidence of noncompliance. Your ex-spouse will be allowed to offer a defense. If you can prove your case to a judge’s satisfaction, the ex-spouse will be held in contempt of court.
Remember, the child support order is a court order and must be complied with. If the judge finds that your spouse has indeed been in contempt by his failure to comply with the terms of the child support order, then he may issue an order requiring your spouse to pay all of his child support dues. Your spouse may also face a number of other penalties, including fines. Your spouse could even be sentenced to jail for failure to pay child support. The order will design a payment plan, under which the parent will continue to pay child support. Talk to a Boca Raton family lawyer about how you can accomplish this.
There are a few things a judge may do to enforce a support order and ensure you receive future support. Judges will:
- Establish a payment plan for the other parent
- Garnish a delinquent parent’s paychecks
- Garnish federal or state tax refunds when arrearages are over $500
- Intercept lottery winnings when arrearages are more than $600
- Garnish money from bank accounts when arrearages are more than $600 or 4 months’ of child support is owed
- Place liens on vehicles and force sale when arrearages are more than $600
- Place liens on personal property and arrange their sale
- Claim and sell a delinquent parent’s abandoned or unclaimed property
- Freeze a home equity line
- Intercept worker’s compensation funds
- Order jail for up to a year until overdue child support is paid
- Order delinquent parents to reimburse the custodial parent’s attorney’s fees, travel expenses to the court and expert witness costs
- Revoke the delinquent parent’s driver’s license
- Suspend the delinquent parents’ professional, occupational, or recreational licenses until they pay overdue support or agree to a payment plan
Remember, child support payments are your child’s right, and there are legal actions that you can take to enforce those rights. Filing a contempt of court motion is not the only way to recover child support. If you are having trouble recovering child support payments, speak to a Boca Raton family lawyer.
ENFORCING CHILD CUSTODY
Florida Statutes, Title VI, Chapter 61, are the laws on child custody and visitation in the state of Florida. These laws are used to establish initial custody, create visitation orders, to make provisions for enforcing custody orders, and for changing a custody arrangement in certain circumstances, although the courts prefer to see a couple work out a plan that is in the best interest of the children.
When the courts have to set up the initial custody order, there are many considerations to be made. Courts look at:
- the length of time the child resided in a particular home
- the length of time the child resided with a particular parent
- the mental and physical health of the parents
- the moral fitness of each parent
- the school, home and community record of the child
- the preference of the child (age appropriate)
Florida statutes also provide for the need to enforce child custody, if needed. When a parent does not follow the rules imposed by the courts, the court can and will take action. They may hold the non-custodial parent in contempt, arrest that parent, or suspend their visitation indefinitely.
HELPING CLIENTS ENFORCE FAMILY COURT ORDERS
If you need an experienced Boca Raton support enforcement attorney to enforce a child support or alimony order or a parenting plan, you need the services of Lewert Law. Tina L. Lewert, Esquire, is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law. She has helped thousands of clients in Palm Beach County and Broward County who are disputing with an ex-spouse or a co-parent. When a Florida family court judge issues an order, each party is expected to abide by the terms of that order; when one party fails to meet that expectation, Boca Raton support enforcement attorney Ms. Lewert brings her extensive experience in enforcement to court on your behalf to hold that person accountable.
WE DO WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN JUSTICE
We understand how frustrating and stressful it can be when your ex-spouse or co-parent fails to pay child support or alimony on time or in full or disregards a parenting plan or custody order. We can immediately file a motion seeking enforcement, and when appropriate, we seek to hold the other party in contempt of court. Contact Lewert Law today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Boca Raton support enforcement attorney regarding contempt and enforcement actions against an ex-spouse. At Lewert Law, we explain your options, protect your rights, and help you take the appropriate legal steps to a better future for you and your children. We invite you to schedule an appointment by phone at 561-220-0123 or by e-mail through this website to discuss your needs, options, and legal rights as quickly as possible.