Florida enforcement of child support arrest warrant

If divorcing spouses have dependent or minor children together, or the wife is pregnant, they must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to start the divorce process.


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If custody is contested, the order will establish a temporary custody solution. A court may also address temporary custody in other legal proceedings, such as child support enforcement, domestic violence protection, and contempt for violations of a court order. Florida law favors joint custody, or shared parental responsibility, in divorce and other types of family law proceedings.

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If you are going through a divorce, your joint custody arrangement will be formalized in a parenting plan. If you are not married, you may establish joint custody and time-sharing by filing a Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief. While Florida courts favor shared parental responsibility in custody matters, it is possible to get full custody if it is in the best interests of the child.

Child Support Enforcement in Florida

Some of the factors a court may look at in granting full custody include whether a parent was abusive to the child, whether he or she abuses drugs or alcohol, and whether there is a history of domestic violence in front of the child. For more information, see our page explaining full custody. Visitation is now referred to as time-sharing in Florida.

To establish a time-sharing arrangement, the parents must work out logistical issues, such as how transportation will be handled, possible parent relocation, and the dividing up of holidays, and outline their arrangements in a parenting plan. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will make one for them. For more information, see our child support modification page. In Florida, enforcing a child support order means getting a parent to do what a child support order says.

For more about collecting unpaid child support, please see our child support enforcement page.


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  7. Florida law only requires a judge to wait 20 days from the time a divorce petition is filed to grant a divorce, and even this waiting period may be waived. This means that the length of time it takes to get divorced in Florida depends largely on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Please see our divorce process page for more information. To learn how we can help in your specific situation, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P. By providing sympathetic counsel, aggressive representation and practical advice, we aim to give clients peace of mind and real solutions.

    There is no obligation and your first 15 minutes are free, let our Fort Lauderdale family attorneys help.

    What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support In Florida? | Boca Raton Child Support Lawyers

    While Florida has a law that provides for grandparents' rights, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled in multiple decisions that the law violates a parent's right to decide which associations are in the best interests of his or her children. We have been doing this for years and know all the situations, let us help. Physical custody, known as time-sharing in Florida, is the right to provide a home for the child.

    Although this responsibility can be shared between parents, one parent usually provides a home for the child on a full-time basis while the other parent has visitation. The parent with visitation rights is typically the one ordered to pay child support. Florida, like all states, requires parents to financially support the children they bring into the world. Although it is not required, parents with physical custody of their children, commonly referred to as custodial parents, can establish a child support order either through the court system or by enrolling in Florida's Child Support Program CSP.

    Once an official child support order is in place, Florida's courts and CSP both can ensure the noncustodial parent meets his payment obligations by using various enforcement tools, including issuing a child support warrant. If only an informal child support arrangement is in place, a warrant cannot be issued if the noncustodial parent stops paying since Florida courts and CSP can only enforce official child support orders.

    When a parent ordered to pay child support stops or falls behind, Florida's Department of Revenue will often file legal action against the parent in circuit court to enforce the child support order. Both parents are notified of the hearing location, date and time; this also serves as an opportunity for the past-due parent to explain why he has fallen behind. To encourage payment, a number of enforcement methods may be employed, including placing the parent on a payment plan, suspending his driver's and professional licenses, intercepting tax refunds and lottery winnings, seizing bank accounts, placing liens on property, garnishing unemployment and worker's compensation benefits, and reporting negative payment history his on credit report.

    If the parent ordered to pay child support fails to appear at the scheduled hearing, the court may issue a warrant for his arrest. If you make the decision to avoid paying this support, you are doing so at a great level of personal risk. Since going to jail is the most severe consequence related to not paying child support, noncustodial parents in Florida are advised to get to know the child support enforcement methods used in the state.

    If you owe back child support, the state of Florida treats this as a failure to adhere to a court-issued order and it is taken very seriously.

    What can happen if a Florida parent doesn’t pay child support?

    As the noncustodial parent, you will receive a notice that informs you that you must go to this hearing. At this point, you will have to stand before the judge and explain why the child support has not been paid.


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    Not only can an arrest warrant be issued, Florida courts do this quite often. Once a warrant has been issued, you can be arrested at any time, regardless of if you are at home, work or even driving. This will require that you provide evidence, and a family lawyer in Florida can help you with this process. You will have to be able to prove valid reasons for not paying the child support and explain why you never tried to modify the order after you realized you were unable to pay.