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Top Five Child Support Enforcement Options

child support agreement
child support agreement

Florida families count on child support payments to elevate the standard of living of their children. Yet less than half of custodial parents receive the full amount of support, and many receive little or nothing.

The Florida Attorney General has primary jurisdiction to enforce child support orders. This enforcement service is free to obligees. However, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The AG is often slow. Furthermore, its lawyers do not represent families. Instead, they represent the state.

A private Orlando family law attorney has the same available enforcement tools. Furthermore, a good lawyer is always responsive and communicative. Perhaps most importantly, an Orlando family law attorney is duty-bound to represent you and your family. This responsibility infuses all five of the major child support enforcement options.

Demand Letter

In many cases, a letter demanding payment of unpaid support is a waste of time. In other situations, such letters are the only thing needed.

Many obligors want to erase child support delinquency, but they do not know where to start. There is a fear factor as well. Demand letters usually set out the next step in the enforcement process. And, since they have no legal effect, demand letters seldom throw gasoline onto smoldering fires.

Credit or Property Lien

Somewhat similarly, a lien has absolutely no immediate effect. However, sooner or later, the obligor will try to borrow money or sell property. At that point, the lien must be resolved, and the obligee holds all the cards.

Generally, in exchange for a release of lien, the obligor agrees to pay about half the arrearage in a lump sum and pay off the remainder over time. So, obligees receive a cash infusion and a future income stream.

Wage Withholding

This enforcement tool crosses the line from a warning shot to an immediate collection method. Most family law orders have latent wage withholding provisions. So, a wage withholding order might be simply a matter of filing paperwork.

But not so fast. Most companies use out-of-state payroll providers who might not immediately recognize an out-of-state’s court jurisdiction. Additionally, if the obligor is self-employed, a wage withholding order is useless.

Payment Intercept

Many people receive substantial tax refund checks in the spring. Others are entitled to payouts from life insurance policies or lottery winnings. If the timing is right, an attorney could erase most or all of a child support arrearage in one fell swoop.


If all other enforcement options have failed, a judge might order incarceration. Generally, obligors must pay a substantial amount upfront, and they may pay out the rest under court supervision. So, an incarceration order is the closest thing to guaranteed payment.

If your ex owes child support, you have legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Orlando, contact The DeWitt Law Firm, P.A.