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Florida man faces 13 years in prison for missed child support

Florida parents who rely upon monthly child support payments understand how important the monthly check can be. For some families, the payment can represent the difference between being financially stable or stressed. When a parent ordered by the court to make child support payments fails to make payments, it can create a substantial financial burden for the parent with physical custody. Accordingly, enforcement of child support orders is vital for many families.

Recently, a Florida man was charged with a total of nine felonies alleging that he failed to make child support payments. In total, the man allegedly failed to make payments to his ex-wife for more than $160,000. The amount accumulated over the course of seven years, beginning in 2007. The man could face 13 years in prison if convicted.

Legally, child support payments are typically paid by the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. If parents have joint custody, each parent will be responsible for child support.

A number of different agencies can help parents enforce child support orders. A district attorney can serve the parent with papers in order to create a payment arrangement. If this route of enforcement proves unsuccessful, a court can impose penalties. Among the consequences include but are not limited to garnishment of wages, withholding tax refunds, or suspending occupational, business or driver's licenses. Typically, as a final resort, a court may hold the parent in contempt of court and jail time may be imposed.

Unpaid child support can add up quickly and create potential financial difficulties for the parent with physical custody of the child. Parents who have a valid court order for child support might want to enlist the help of a family law attorney regarding legal options when it comes to child support collection.

Source: Patch Network, "Florida Man Owes Ex-Wife $166K in Child Support, Complaint Says," Feb. 3, 2013

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