Lakeland Contempt & Enforcement Attorneys
Disputes over alimony, child support, child custody, and other matters frequently arise after the entry of a final judgment. If you are in a dispute over enforcement of your rights or obligations, you need the help of an aggressive attorney to help you enforce or defend your settlement agreement or court order and to protect your rights. We are ready to fight for you.
When there is an issue regarding compliance with your settlement agreement or parenting plan, you have a right to enforce it. Florida law offers a number of enforcement options, including the ability to seize assets, foreclosure on real property, or seek an order holding your former spouse in civil or criminal contempt of court which can include jail time.
We are protect your financial interests and your custody rights in Polk County. Contact one of our experienced Polk County contempt attorneys for a consultation.
Child Support Enforcement
One way to seek unpaid child support is through Florida’s Child Support Enforcement program. This program looks for non-custodial parents and attempts to make them pay past-due child support. The program has the authority to relinquish the delinquent payer’s tax refunds and other monetary assets and apply the funds to their child support obligations. However, it must be noted that this process can be slow.
If all other options are exhausted and the delinquent parent has not met his or her child support obligations, Heather Bryan Law can help you pursue a contempt citation. Courts take following court orders very seriously and when parties, do not, they better have good reason. As last resort, a judge may hold the delinquent parent in jail for non-payment of child support.
My ex won't let me see my kids, can I stop paying child support?
NO! Per Florida statute visitation and child support are completely separate issues and you may not deny one based on the other. A custodial parent cannot legally withhold visitation based on non-payment of child support. Similarly, a non-custodial parent cannot stop paying child support because a custodial parent is interfering with or withholding visitation.
The burden for obtaining civil contempt requires proof that there is a prior court order directing the delinquent spouse to pay alimony, and the delinquent payer has failed to pay according to the terms of the court order. However, a delinquent payer can overcome an an action for contempt by showing that due to circumstances beyond his or her control that he or she no longer has the ability to make the payments required by the court order. In order for this defense to apply, the delinquent payer must prove the failure to pay is unintentional and due to an intervening circumstance not contemplated at the time the original order requiring spousal support was entered.
Although, incarceration is not an option in civil contempt, a Florida family law court does have other means to coerce payment. For instance, under Florida family law, a court can order a garnishment of wages to pay the spousal support that is owed. Further, if the delinquent payer willfully neglected his or her spousal support obligations, but no longer has the ability to pay due to unemployment, the court may order the defendant to seek employment through the Florida State Employment Services.
If you or someone you care about is has a dispute over alimony, child support, and/or child custody, you need the help of an aggressive attorney who will help you fight for your rights. Heather Bryan Law can help. Please contact us today for a consultation at 863-825-5309.