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Enforcement of Child Support Orders

A child support order is a legal order that establishes a parent's periodic obligation to pay child support. A parent also may be ordered to provide health insurance or pay all or part of a child's reasonable and necessary medical expenses. A child support order is based on the specific circumstances of the parties and it states the amount owed, the frequency (weekly, monthly), where to send payments, and other terms.

Payment Information provides information about the many ways that parents can use to pay their child support. If you are having trouble paying your support on time you should come to our office to talk about your situation. If payments are not made as ordered and we do not hear from you we will take steps to enforce the order and collect the money that is owed.


These are some of the actions we take when child support payments are not made as ordered:

  • Late payment notices
    One or more late payment notices are mailed to the parent who owes support if payments are not made on time as ordered.
  • Income withholding
    We send income withholding notices to employers and other payors of income. Payments are withheld from wages or other income by employers and sent directly to us.
  • Driver license suspension
    A parent's driver license may be suspended if they are not paying support as ordered. We mail a notice to the parent who owes support to let them know we will suspend their driver license unless they begin paying as ordered. If they do not pay what is owed or contact us within 20 days, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will mail them a notice of suspension and suspend their driver license. The parent can get their license back if they pay what they owe or enter into a written agreement with us to pay past due support. License reinstatement fees may be owed to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
  • Suspension of business, professional, or recreational licenses
    We can suspend business, professional, hunting and/or fishing licenses when a parent is not paying support as ordered. The parent who owes support is mailed a written notice that we will suspend their license(s) if they do not pay as ordered. From the date we send the notice, the parent has 30 days to pay what they owe, enter into a written agreement for payment of past-due support, or request a hearing. If they do not pay or respond, the license is suspended.
  • Appointment Notice
    If a parent is not paying support as ordered, we may ask them to come into a local child support office to negotiate a written agreement for payment of past-due support or discuss other ways to address their account balance.
  • Federal income tax refund intercept
    If a parent who owes support files a federal income tax return and is due a refund, we may use the refund to pay past-due support. The parent who owes support will be mailed a letter from the IRS telling them that all or part of the refund has been taken for past-due support. The parent has thirty days from the date of the notice to contact us or request a hearing if they believe there is a mistake.
  • Florida lottery winnings
    If a parent owes past-due child support and has Florida lottery winnings of $600 or more, the past-due amount is taken from the winnings.
  • Reemployment Benefits
    When the State of Florida is paying Reemployment (formerly unemployment) Benefits to a parent who owes child support, a percentage of their benefits will be deducted for child support. The amount deducted will be up to 40 percent of the benefits, but not more than the child support owed.
  • Worker's compensation
    If a parent owes past-due support and is getting worker's compensation, we may use part of the worker's compensation to pay child support, including part of any lump-sum payment.
  • Personal property liens
    If the parent who owes support owes at least $600 in past-due child support, we may place a lien on a motor vehicle or boat registered in their name.
  • Credit reporting
    If there is past-due support of at least $400, we report the parent who owes support and the amount owed to consumer reporting agencies (credit bureaus). If there is no payment or contact within 25 days after notice, the past-due support is reported and will appear on the person's credit report.
  • Garnishment
    We send legal process to banks and other financial institutions to collect past-due support. Notice is given and there is an opportunity to contest the action.
  • Circuit Court
    If the parent who owes support is able to pay but does not, the Department may file a legal action in circuit court to enforce the child support order. Notice is mailed to both parties with the date, time and place of the court hearing. A person who is found in contempt of court for willful nonpayment may be incarcerated until payment is made as ordered. If the parent who owes support fails to appear in court, the court may issue an order of arrest. To see if there is an outstanding order of arrest in your case, go to Writ Search Site.
  • Passport Denial
    Parents who owe at least $2,500 in past-due support are ineligible to have their passport renewed until the past-due support is paid.
  • Collect Medical Expenses Not Covered by Insurance

    Collect Medical Expenses Not Covered by Insurance

    If you are owed child support and you have paid medical expenses for the child, you should read your support order. If your support order says the parent ordered to pay support must pay all or part of the child's medical expenses not covered by insurance, that parent may be required to pay you back for some of those expenses.

    Before our office can help you collect that money, you must ask the other parent to pay directly to you what they owe for the medical expenses you have paid.

    When asking the other parent for their part of the medical expenses, you should follow the instructions in your support order.

    If your support order does not give instructions, you may want to include the following in your written request to the other parent:

    • The date you are making the request
    • The name of the child who received the medical service
    • The name of the doctor or medical provider
    • The type of medical service received
    • The date the medical service was received
    • The amount you paid for the service
    • The amount the other parent owes you for their part of the medical expense
    • The date by which the other parent should pay you

    If your support order does not say how much time to wait for payment, you may want to give the other parent 30 days from the date you give them your request.

    You may also want to give the other parent copies of the medical bills and the proof that you paid them.

    Keep a copy of your written request and all attachments for yourself. If the other parent does not pay you their part of the medical expenses and you want our help collecting, we will need a copy of everything you sent to the other parent.