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When a couple with a minor child or children divorces, the noncustodial parent is usually ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent (the parent that the child lives with most of the time). This is referred to as a child support order and it is legally binding. When the parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to make payments, the custodial parent can seek out the help of a child support enforcement agency.

Does Florida Have a Dept. of Child Support Enforcement?

In Florida, child support enforcement is handled by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR). The DOR can take a number of steps of escalating severity in order to force payment of owed child support. When you turn to the DOR for state child support enforcement, they will first notify the noncustodial parent that they have missed payments. If the parent still refuses to pay, the DOR can suspend the parent’s driver’s license. They can also go to the employer of the noncustodial parent and ask that child support payments be deducted automatically from the parent’s paycheck and sent to the DOR. The DOR will then pass the payment along to the custodial parent.

More severe steps that can be taken by the DOR for child support enforcement include:

seizing federal and state tax refunds
seizing lottery winnings
reporting the parent to credit agencies
deducting the owed money directly from the parent’s bank account
placing a lien on the parent’s car, boat, or other property
In some cases, failure to pay child support can reach a level where it is considered criminal. In these cases, the DOR can issue a writ, also known as an arrest warrant, for the noncustodial parent.

Occasionally, a parent who owes child support will simply disappear to avoid paying. When this happens, the DOR can conduct a search using the parent’s social security number, date of birth, employer information, and/or mailing address to track them down. The DOR can also check with a number of government agencies in an effort to locate the delinquent parent, including the Social Security Administration, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the Florida Department of Corrections.

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