Statute of Limitations of Back Child Support in Florida

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When couples break up and they have children together, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to help in the care of her child.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

In the state of Florida, there is no statute of limitations for back child support payments. The debt will follow you until you pay it in full.

Does Florida Have a Child Support Statute of Limitations?

In Florida, the state provides a set algorithm for figuring out how much child support payments will be, depending on a number of factors, such as each parent's income, the cost of insurance and child care and the number of nights the child stays with each parent per week.

The amount of the payment can change if these factors do, but the responsibility does not. Both parents must support their children at least until the age of 18, and it can be longer if the child is still in high school or is disabled. Parents who fall behind in these payments are still responsible for the money; the debt doesn't just disappear if the parent refuses to pay. In the state of Florida, this requirement goes on forever. There is no child support statute of limitations, and even after the child turns 18, all back child support payments are still a debt that must be paid.

Florida Child Support Arrearage Laws

If your child's non-custodial parent is behind in monthly child support payments, you have a lot of options when it comes to collecting that financial support. The Florida Department of Revenue is the governmental entity designed to help you get the money you and your child are owed. The first steps they take will likely be contacting the other parent's employer and ordering a garnishment of wages. This will continue until the delinquent amount has been collected.

If he no longer has a job, you're not out of luck. The FDR will work with the other parent in a number of ways to encourage or force him to pay. Some of the options available are:

  • Working out a payment plan
  • Suspending the parent's driving, business or recreational licenses
  • Confiscating income tax refunds, lottery winnings of more than $600 or workers' compensation payments
  • Establishing a lien on any personal property he may have
  • Reporting the past due amount to the appropriate credit agencies
  • Denying an application or renewal of a passport

Further Legal Remedies

If you've tried all the above options and your ex-partner is still delinquent, the state of Florida can turn your case into a criminal one. Florida back child support rules state that you can file a motion for contempt with the court. This will cause a hearing to be scheduled, during which a judge will determine whether the delinquent parent is deliberately not paying his back child support. If it's determined to be true, he'll be found in contempt of court and can suffer a number of punishments, such as:

  • A jail term of up to 179 days
  • Attending counseling
  • Going to and completing a parenting class
  • Paying a fine and/or attorney's fees
  • Working a certain number of hours per week in order to make money to pay delinquent payments

These remedies can be applied to the delinquent parent even after the child reaches 18 years old, but you'll have a much stronger case if you stay current and involved during your child's entire life. It's best if you contact FDR as soon as any child support payments are missed instead of waiting until there is a large delinquent bill. The longer you wait, the more chances the other parent has to raise objections to your legal claims to these payments.

References

About the Author

Victoria Bailey has a degree in Public Law and Government. She has spoken before state Supreme Court justices and her photograph is on the back cover of Bill Clinton's autobiography. As a former member of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Bailey worked closely with lawmakers to help set public policy. Bailey's work appears on numerous websites, and she's currently writing the text for a governmental information app.

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  • Janie Airey/Digital Vision/Getty Images