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What happens if a parent is unable to pay child support?

Some divorce orders require one parent to pay child support. This money allows the child or teen to have a lifestyle and opportunities that would be possible if their parents had remained together. Although child support is important, the parent doesn’t always pay properly.

There are several reasons why a parent might not be able to make support payments. Financial hardship, illness, unemployment and unexpected expenses could make payments unaffordable for the parent. Even if they want to help, they feel stuck between providing for their child and barely holding their finances together.

It’s also possible that the parent decides not to pay child support intentionally. While this may seem to be an action against the child, they often make this choice out of concern for how the other parent is using the money. Divorce can create distrust between former spouses. They may believe that the other parent does not use the money for the benefit of the child. Instead, they might try to give the child cash directly to forego the other parent’s control.

Regardless, parents must fulfil this legal obligation properly. Florida law may punish parents who fail to first follow the steps to seeking modification if needed. Skipping child support payments can lead to criminal penalties, including time in jail.

Jail is not the first course of action, however. When a parent misses support payments, the Department of Revenue will begin to send reminders. The department’s next step is to issue additional fines on top of the original payment. If the parent still does not pay or modify the agreement, the department will start to take more serious measures, such as harming the parent’s credit, suspending their licenses and seizing the value of their personal property.

In a failure to pay situation, neither parent wins. Therefore, parents should call their attorney as early as possible if they have concerns regarding child support payments.

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