If a spouse doesn’t pay child support or alimony, then the proper recourse is to initiate contempt proceedings. The easiest way to enforce a child support or alimony order is by garnishing the wages of the payor through the use of an income withholding order.
Sometimes the income withholding order process doesn’t have much use because a person is self-employed or unemployed. Under those circumstances, it might be necessary to collect the outstanding child support and alimony due by seizing the other’s person assets such as bank accounts, investments accounts, automobiles, etc. An effective lawyer is one who has a good knowledge of the laws regarding collection and enforcement actions.
Under certain circumstances, a person who doesn’t pay his or her child support or alimony can be incarcerated. The law regarding incarcerating someone related to failure to pay support is unique and specific to family law cases.
The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure contain a very detailed procedure for civil contempt proceedings which is unique solely to family law proceedings. At the hearing on the Motion for Civil Contempt, the Court must first find that the party had proper notice of the hearing and has willfully failed to pay all or part of the support owed. If the Court makes such findings and finds the person in contempt then among the sanctions it can impose is incarceration. The Court will set a “purge” amount. This amount is set by determining the person’s present ability to pay. The Court can order that the person be put in jail and only released upon the paying of the purge amount. As an alternative the Court can delay incarceration and order that the person pay the purge within a set period of time. If the person doesn’t pay the purge amount, then the Court will issue a writ of bodily attachment (which is akin to a warrant for the person’s arrest). Having some incarcerated for the non-payment of alimony or child support is not an easy task and the Courts are reluctant to do so unless you are able to prove the necessary facts to show that incarceration is appropriate.