Child Support Arrearages

by Sidney from Miami, Florida, Miami-Dade County

My children's dad is severely in arrears for child support and over the years has told the court that he is unemployed.

Is the court or another government agency empowered to investigate his unemployment claim using his social security number?

If so, what should I do to initiate the action to be taken?

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Sydney,

Enforcing child support can be an extremely time consuming and frustrating process.

First, I have to assume from your question that the child support order is a Florida court order and that your ex lives in Florida.

The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is the entity that is supposed to enforce child support.

Many Florida child support orders are written so that the non-custodial parent pays support payments into the Registry of the Court. And then payments are forwarded to the custodial parent or loaded onto a debit card issued for that purpose.

More recent Florida child support court orders are being written with an Income Deduction Order (IDO) in place. And, yes, the Department of Revenue absolutely has the access and power to find out whether your ex is working or collecting unemployment benefits.

The ways that the DOR can collect child support are:

  • Notify the parents when they miss payments

  • Suspend Florida driver licenses

  • Take
    IRS tax refunds

  • Take tax refunds to pay past due support

  • Take Florida Lottery winnings if over $600

  • Take support payments from unemployment and worker's compensation

  • Tell employers to take payments from paychecks

  • Place liens on the parent's car, boat, or other property

  • Report past due support to credit agencies

  • Place a hold and take money from bank accounts

  • Take the case to court because the parent did not do what the order says

For more information go to the Department of Revenue website. Or call the DOR 1-800-622-5437.

Their telephone menu states that you do not need to do anything to request child support enforcement, but you do. Go through the menu until you speak to a live person and explain your situation to them. Tell them that you want your child support enforced.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Child Support Arrearages

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How Many Years Back Can I Ask For Back Child Support?
by: Anonymous

When I file for child support in the state of Florida can I ask for five years in arrearages?

--You can ask, but it is doubtful you will get it. Florida child support law provides for collection of arrears of up to 2 years. --Staff

by: Terry Clark

I see you have stated that FL Law allows for 2 yrs of retroactive arrears. I believe this to be 2 yrs from date of final order, not from date of file. Please correct me of I am wrong.

--Child support can be awarded up to 24 months before the filing of the petition. The statute governing retroactive child support is §61.30.

§61.30(17) In an initial determination of child support, whether in a paternity action, dissolution of marriage action, or petition for support during the marriage, the court has discretion to award child support retroactive to the date when the parents did not reside together in the same household with the child, not to exceed a period of 24 months preceding the filing of the petition, regardless of whether that date precedes the filing of the petition. In determining the retroactive award in such cases, the court shall consider the following:
(a) The court shall apply the guidelines schedule in effect at the time of the hearing subject to the obligor’s demonstration of his or her actual income, as defined by subsection (2), during the retroactive period. Failure of the obligor to so demonstrate shall result in the court using the obligor’s income at the time of the hearing in computing child support for the retroactive period.
(b) All actual payments made by a parent to the other parent or the child or third parties for the benefit of the child throughout the proposed retroactive period.
(c) The court should consider an installment payment plan for the payment of retroactive child support.

How can I find out about Arrearage Balance
by: Dee, from Carmel Indiana

After my son's father lost his job, we agreed to reduce his support via court order to $400 monthly. He pays $25 every couple months.

I believe over the past 15 years, he owes nearly, if not over $150,000 in back support. He used to have a good paying job, but now works doing an internet radio out of his girlfriend's home, so I cannot prove of any income to have garnished per an attorney I talked to.

Our order is in Florida, where he resides. I live in Indiana now. Do I have a right to see what he owes in arrears? And if so, how can I request and from whom?

-- You can find your child support case payment history from the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Program. Here is the link to apply for services. You can also contact the DOR directly. --Staff

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