What Are Florida Child Support Laws on Property Liens?

By Elizabeth Rayne

To ensure that children in Florida have the financial support they need, the state has several methods for enforcing child support orders, including property liens. While a parent may independently file an action with the court to enforce a child support order, state departments may also initiate enforcement actions if a parent is more than 15 days past due on support.

Overview

Under Florida law, the Department of Revenue's Child Support Enforcement Program enforces child support orders. When the department is involved, the State Disbursement Unit will collect and distribute child support payments. The department has several methods for enforcing child support orders, including license suspension, intercepting lottery winnings and placing liens on property. However, parents are also permitted to initiate private actions against a nonpaying parent instead of going through the Department of Revenue. If requested, the court may place liens on property or suspend licenses to urge a nonpaying parent to comply with his child support obligations.

Child Support Payments

The method of payment for child support will depend on the original court order. The order may require that payments are made directly to the other parent or collected and distributed by the clerk of the court or State Disbursement Unit. Some parents may have payments automatically deducted from their paycheck or electronically transferred from a bank account. In cases where payments are made through a state agency, the state can keep track of payments and initiate enforcement measures when a parent falls behind.

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Notice of Delinquency

For parents making payments to a state agency, the clerk of the court may begin the enforcement process if the parent's payment is more than 15 days late and the amount due is more than one regular payment. The clerk will send a notice of delinquency to the nonpaying parent to give her a chance to respond. The parent may contest the notice if she does not believe she is delinquent or is in disagreement with the amount cited. For example, the parent may state that she was making payments directly to the other parent or that she is no longer obligated to make payments because the child reached the age of majority.

Judgment Liens

After receiving notice, if the nonpaying parent does not make up for missed child support payments, Florida law allows the state to file notice of the judgment lien with the Department of State. State law allows judgment liens to be placed on personal property, including vehicles, and real estate. However, the state makes an exception for a parent's home in Florida. The child support owed is secured by the lien; thus, the parent would not be able to sell the property without first paying off the debt owed.

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Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support in Florida
 

References

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Alabama Child Support Arrears Laws

Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to provide financial assistance with a child's basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter. Support is generally owed until the child turns 18. When a non-custodial parent does not pay as ordered, the owed support becomes past due, or in arrears. In Alabama, the Department of Human Resources' Child Support Enforcement Program aids custodial parents in the collection of child support arrearages.

Alabama Collection & Distribution of Child Support

When two parents have children together but don't share a household, one parent often needs to provide financial support to the other parent. The state of Alabama assists many parents who pay or collect child support. Although some parents may choose to pay support voluntarily, a state court or child support agency cannot enforce an arrangement without a court order.

Child Support Laws in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee provides for child support payments in cases where couples with minor children are divorcing. State law and guidelines set the amount of support, as well as the enforcement mechanism for collecting past-due support payments, health insurance payments, and reimbursement of uncovered medical expenses.

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