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Punishing parents who refuse to pay child support

When Florida families split up after a divorce, one parent is likely to be ordered to pay child support. While many noncustodial parents stay current on child support payments, there are some who decide that they do not want to financially provide for the child. Parents may go so far as to leave the state in order to avoid paying.

In 1998, the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act was established. This act allows parents who willfully avoid making their child support payments by traveling to another state to be punished. In order to be punished, the parents must also fail to make payments for the period of one year and owe at least $5,000. Furthermore, parents who have willfully not made payments in two years and owe more than $10,000 can also be punished under the DPPA.

The punishments under the DPPA can be very severe if it can be proven that parents can make the child support payments but refuse to do so. A first offense could potentially result in a maximum prison sentence of six months. A second offense could result in a prison sentence of up to two years. In addition to a potential prison sentence, parents may also be ordered to make additional payments toward their child support debt.

When a noncustodial parent refuses to cooperate on financial matters, it can be difficult for the custodial parent to afford to raise the child alone. If the noncustodial parent is absolutely refusing to pay the child support even though there is evidence that they can afford to do so, an attorney may assist with determining what options are available to the custodial parent. The lawyer may also work with the court to attempt to get some of the funds that are owed. This could be accomplished through garnishing wages or seizing tax returns.

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