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Pursuing an Ex-Spouse in Florida Across State Lines for Back-Owed Child Support

Sometimes, getting your ex-spouse to begin paying child support is as simple as requesting it as part of your divorce case. Other times, though, obtaining the sum of money that the court says your child should receive can be more complicated and require greater navigation of the legal system. Given the paramount importance of your children’s well-being, including their financial well-being, it is well worthwhile to make sure that you have a skilled South Florida child support attorney representing you in your child support case.

A recent case involving two divorced parents, Liberty and Charles, was an example of one of those cases that was not simple and straightforward, and the process that can be involved in complex cases.

The couple divorced in 2008 in Okaloosa County. The trial court in that divorce action ordered the husband to pay child support for the couple’s children. Not long after the divorce became final, the mother and the children moved north to Georgia.

Some years later, the father had allegedly fallen far behind in his child support obligations. The mother sought to pursue that unpaid obligation. Since she lived in Georgia, that required some extra steps. She had to ask a Coweta County, Georgia court to register the Florida divorce decree, which would make it enforceable in Georgia. She also pursued an enforcement action based upon the father’s alleged failure to pay child support. In December 2015, the Georgia court held a final hearing. Neither the father nor an attorney representing him attended. The court ruled in favor of the mother and found the father in contempt. The court ordered the father jailed until he paid more than $23,000 in back-owed child support.

Still, that was not the end because the father had allegedly been avoiding entering Coweta County. She went back to Okaloosa County and filed what’s called a “Petition for Domestication of A Foreign Order,” which is the process for making an out-of-state order enforceable in Florida. When you undertake an action like this, the request will almost always be granted. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires recognition of an out-of-state order unless there was fraud or a problem with jurisdiction.

In Liberty’s case, there was nothing in Charles’ proof or arguments that demonstrated the existence of fraud or that the Georgia court lacked jurisdiction over him. That meant that the order was entitled to recognition, and the Okaloosa County court was obliged to enforce it, according to the First District Court of Appeal. This meant that the father would be deemed in contempt of court and subject to incarceration in his home state of Florida, an outcome that could conceivably increase the chances of his payment of the back-owed support.

Your child deserves to be supported appropriately. Sometimes, the use of the legal system is required to make that happen. For advice and representation in your child support case, contact knowledgeable Miami child support attorney Sara Saba, who has been providing reliable advice and strong advocacy to her clients for more than 13 years. Our team is dedicated to meeting your family law needs. Contact us online or by calling (305) 450-8009 to schedule your consultation. Hablamos Español.

More blog posts:

Contempt of Court, Due Process of Law, and Child Custody/Timesharing Cases in South Florida, Miami Divorce Lawyer Blog, June 4, 2018

High-Earning Celebrities Blake Griffin, Britney Spears Both Find Themselves in Child Support Disputes, Miami Divorce Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2018


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