Child Support Arrears Payment Guidelines

by Sara from Fort Myers, Florida, Lee County

My daughter graduates from high school next month. There is an existing garnishment order in place, taking out child support plus an additional 180 for arrears.

He has paid regularly for the past five years, although very limited payments prior to that. As a result he still owes $36,000.

I thought that the original garnishment order would remain in effect deducting the same amount until he has a balance of "0". 100% of the existing order to be applied toward the arrears.

I was told today, by Florida DOR phone operator that a new order would be sent to his employer upon graduation to deduct only the $180 per month to pay off the arrearages which contradicts prior conversations with them. I'm confused now, as I'm getting mixed messages.

Of course I then asked for a modification hearing, as paying 180 per month would take him near 20 years to pay off 36000. Do I need to go to court to modify order arrears payments or will existing order continue until paid in full? How does the court decide on arrears payments, 20 years is too long to pay off debt!

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Sara,

It is my understanding and my personal experience that Florida child support arrears are to be collected at the court ordered amount, until all arrears are paid in full.

The ongoing child support ends, but the same amount is garnished from his paycheck.

The DOR operators told me
the same thing at one point.

I collected child support arrears, at the court ordered amount, until my son was well past age 18. I know how painful it is to call the DOR, but try calling them back and demand to speak to a supervisor.

Explain the situation, and tell them that you expect the full amount to be garnished from his check. You went all those years receiving nothing, while they were sleeping on the job.

If you still don't receive proper assurances that the court ordered amount will be deducted from his paycheck, there is contact information on the Florida Department of Revenue's website, for The Office of Taxpayer Rights. Call them.

At some point, and I don't know what triggers it, child support arrears can be reduced to a judgment in your favor. I believe, that if they have been unable to collect arrears for a certain amount of time, they finally give up, and issue a judgment.

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 Arrears Payment Guidelines

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Rear Child Support Amount
by: Jeff from West Palm Beach

I am court ordered to pay 450 a month in child support and agreed to pay another 175 towards the rear amount. My son turns 18 next March. I know the "support" stops at 18 but my question is what will be my payments when he turns 18. Will I have to pay the 450 or still the additional too?

--I don't think so. My understanding is that only your ordered monthly child support will continue until the arrears are paid off. If I were you, I would go to the child support office in Palm Beach county and make an appointment to discuss your case just to be sure.

West Palm Beach Office:
881 S. Congress Ave.,
West Palm Beach, FL 33406-4118

Belle Glade Office:
2990 N. Main St.,
Belle Glade, FL 33430-5300


by: Jenny

If you see this reply I also live in Ft.Myers and am in the same situation and am curious to how your situation turned out for you.


Well over 18 in Florida
by: Anonymous

My son's father was ordered to pay child support since 1992 in which he never had, until now that my son is 23yrs old. I received a notice from child enforcement office that he must pay arrears due over $36,000. So I have been receiving payments of $140/month in this first year.
I've read that Florida has no statue limitations (what does it mean?) and my concern is that my son is an adult and files his own taxes. He graduated from job training school 2 years ago. Do I need to repay this $140 a month from this payment received? When does it actually end? I think is until paid off but am not sure what to expect and since my son is now 23yrs old. Thanks for your response.

my husband arrears
by: Anonymous

My husband is court ordered to pay $99 a week for current support and $5 a week for arrears (balance is $20,000). His son turns 18 this October, and states on court order to end on his birth date. Will the payment stay $104 until arrears are paid in full or the current amount be dropped. Will his full tax return continue to be garnished as well? Also can his arrears be modified if during all these years she has received HUD and food stamps and never reported her employment to child support?

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