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What to Do if You’re Behind on Child Support in Florida?


The obligor parent is “behind on child support” when he or she is only able to make partial payments or fails to pay altogether. Your failure to meet your child support obligations could get you in trouble with the law and may lead to some very unpleasant consequences.

So, what should do if you are behind on child support in Florida? Regardless of whether you missed only one monthly payment or you haven’t paid child support for months or years, you need to speak with an Orlando child support attorney to determine the best course of action in your particular situation.

What to Do if You Missed Child Support Payments?

If you can no longer pay support due to the loss of a job or for any other reason, do not just stop paying altogether. Instead, do your best to partial payments. Failure to pay child support may lead to civil and criminal penalties, including but not limited to:

  • Fines;
  • Suspension of the driver’s license;
  • Seizure of bank accounts;
  • Garnishing your paychecks;
  • Withholding tax refunds; and
  • Jail or prison time.

You should continue making partial payments if you cannot afford full child support payments. While making partial payments, it is important to request a child support modification as long as you can prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances which rendered you unable to continue paying the full amount.

If the obligor parent fell behind on their financial obligation but continued making partial payments, the court is less likely to accuse that parent of willful contempt.

Modifying Child Support in Florida

In Florida, the obligor parent must prove that there has been a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances in order to modify the existing child support order. Ideally, the request to modify child support should be made immediately after the “change in circumstances” and before the parent misses their first payment.

Florida’s family law recognizes the following grounds for modifying a child support order:

  • Involuntary loss of a job;
  • Involuntary reduction in wage;
  • Hospitalization or long-term health concerns;
  • Change in parenting time;
  • Change in expenses; or
  • Childcare is no longer necessary.

However, courts would not be willing to modify the existing child support order if the requesting party is unable to show that the change in circumstances was “substantial” and “unanticipated.” Thus, if you are behind on child support in Florida, you must have compelling evidence proving that the change in circumstances significantly affects your ability to meet your financial obligations.

For instance, if you can no longer pay child support because you lost your job, you must present evidence showing that you attempted to get a new job with the same or better income. If you can prove that you are no longer able to make the same amount of money as before, the court will issue a new child support order as well as provide you with a plan for past-due support collection.

If you are considering requesting a modification or do not know what to do if you are behind on child support, speak with our Orlando child support attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law. Call at 407-377-6399 for a consultation.

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