Friday, October 22, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions for Child Support Enforcement Division

QHow can the Child Support Enforcement Division help me and my children? 
They can:

  • Locate missing parents for child support purposes
  • Establish paternity when needed
  • Establish medical and financial support orders
  • Enforce support orders
  • Modify support orders
QWhat are the address, telephone number and hours of operation?
AChild Support Enforcement Division
Overtown Transit Village, South Tower 
601 NW 1ST COURT, 12th FLOOR
(786) 530-2600
The hours of operation are 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
QWhat is a "non-custodial" parent?
A non-custodial parent is the parent who does not live with the child. According to Florida law, every child under the age of 18 has the right to the support of both parents, including the non-custodial parent.
QCan the Child Support Enforcement Division help locate the non-custodial parent?

Yes. They must know where to find the parent responsible for support.  If this is not known, the Child Support Enforcement Division will search for him or her through a variety of local, state, and federal location resources.   It is very important for you to provide any information about the non-custodial parent so that he or she can be located.   Otherwise, your case cannot  move forward.

QWhat is the application process and how much does it cost?
If you are a parent receiving public assistance, Medicaid, and/or Food Stamps, you are automatically referred to the Child Support Enforcement Division and you must cooperate with efforts to obtain support.  There is no fee for this service.   Failure to respond to requests for information, or missing appointments and court hearings may result in sanctions being imposed, causing your benefits to be reduced or canceled.

If you do not receive public assistance, Medicaid, and/or Food Stamps,
you need to complete an application for services. There is no fee for this service.

To begin the Child Support application process, call (305) 530-2600.
   NOTE: Your full cooperation is needed to assist the Child Support Office with your case.  A lack of cooperation could cause your case to be closed.
QHow is a child support order obtained?
Once the application process is initiated, the Child Support staff will contact you to obtain preliminary information needed to begin processing your case. Due to the Family Law Rules of Procedures which went into effect January 1, 1996, detailed financial information is needed from you and the non-custodial parent to establish a support case.  You will need to provide a written explanation if certain information cannot be obtained.

If the location of the non-custodial parent is not known, the Child Support Enforcement Division will first need to find him or her before your case can be processed.  Once he or she has been located, you will be interviewed by a child support case analyst.  NOTE:  Please refer to the appointment letter sent to you for a list of the documents you should bring to the interview . During the interview, you must tell the case analyst about any other legal case involving your child, no matter what kind of case it is or was.  This will help determine how your case should be filed or processed.  After the interview is completed, your case will be referred to the Child Support Legal Department.   The  non-custodial parent must then be served (notified of the action against him/her). The service process includes providing the non-custodial parent with copies of the documents you have signed, including your financial affidavit.   Once he or she is served, a court date can be scheduled.
QHow long does it take to obtain an order?
The time it takes to obtain a child support order varies depending on the facts in your case, how much information you can provide, and other factors. These factors, which include successfully locating and then serving the NCP with the case documents, actions taken by the opposing attorney, requests for paternity tests, the need for certified copies of existing support orders, etc., may delay the final results. You can help speed the process by cooperating fully.

The usual time for a paternity and/or support case is 6 to 8 months from the date of your interview.  A case involving the enforcement of an existing order may take 4 to 6 months. However, there is no guaranteed time as this depends on the facts in your case and how much information you can provide.  Different factors, such as successfully serving the NCP with the case documents, actions taken by the opposing attorney, requests for paternity tests, or the need for certified copies of existing support orders may delay the final results.   You can help speed the process by cooperating fully.
QHow are support orders enforced?
The Enforcement Unit works hard to ensure you receive child support payments on a regular basis.  Some methods used are:

  • Income Deductions - Payments are deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck. 
  • IRS Intercepts - Tax refunds can be intercepted to collect delinquent child support. 
  • Freezing Bank Accounts – A computer search is done for non-custodial parents who have bank accounts with participating financial institutions. If a match is found, the bank account may be frozen.
  • Lottery Intercepts - Winnings of $600 or more from the Florida Lottery can be intercepted to pay delinquent child support. 
  • Liens - In certain cases, courts can place liens on real estate and personal property for non-payment of child support. 
  • Consumer Reporting Agencies - Information about delinquent child support is given to credit reporting agencies, possibly affecting the non-custodial parent's credit rating.
  • Suspension of Licenses - Driver's license, vehicle registration, and professional licenses can be suspended or denied for not complying with a court order for child support. 
  • Referral for Contempt - Court action can be taken if the non-custodial parent does not pay the child support as ordered by the court. He/she could face potential penalties, such as jail time.
  • Passport Denial – NCPs can be denied U.S. passports if their certified past due amount exceeds $2,500.
QHow are the support payments processed?
All child support payments must be sent to the State of Florida Disbursement Unit, PO Box 8500, Tallahassee, Florida, 32314-8500.  Official court records are created of payments and disbursements to allow accurate enforcement and monitoring of your child support case.   For this reason, You must not take payments directly from the non-custodial parent. 

If you do not receive public assistance, a check will normally be mailed from Tallahassee within two working days of receipt of the payment. If you do receive public assistance , support payments will be kept by the State of Florida as reimbursement for the public assistance money you are receiving from the state.
QHow is paternity (fatherhood) established?
When a child is born to parents who are not married, fatherhood must be determined before any other action can take place.  The alleged father may voluntarily admit that he is the father of the child(ren).  In cases where he does not admit paternity, a court hearing and/or paternity test is scheduled.  When a paternity test is necessary, the child's mother, the alleged father and the child are tested.
QHow much child support will be ordered?
The amount ordered is based on guidelines set by Florida law which take into account children's needs and the income of both parents.  Day care, health insurance costs, and other children are also considered.
QI already have a child support order, but I am having problems with the payments.   Can the Child Support Enforcement Division help me?
Yes. If you already have an order for child support and/or medical insurance, the full force of the law will be used to enforce that order so that you can receive regular payments.
QCan I get help if I don't have a child support order?
Yes. If you don't have a court order, legal proceedings will be used to establish child support and medical support obligations so that you can begin to receive payments from the non-custodial parent.
QCan the Child Support Enforcement Division help me with visitation, custody or alimony matters?
The Child Support Enforcement Division does not enforce visitation or custody rights.  Nor does it enforce alimony obligations, unless there is an ongoing child support enforcement matter which is being handled by the Division.
QHow can I increase the amount of child support?
Once the support order is established, it may be modified if there is a significant change in your financial situation or that of the non-custodial parent.  If you request a modification, the amount will be recalculated based upon guidelines set by Florida law.  Normally, a modification petition is filed with the court only if the guidelines show the amount should change by at least 15% or $50 monthly, whichever is greater. If this is an interstate case (involving another state), there may be additional restrictions. Once the process is started, we are required to pursue it to completion even if it means the non-custodial parent will pay less.
QWhat happens if the non-custodial parent lives in another state?
When custodial and non-custodial parents live in different states, the State Attorney's Office works with child support offices in other states.  When this type of case is referred to another state, that state's child support enforcement office and court system must be allowed to process the case within their applicable time frame.

If you already have a support order, some states will allow the deduction of payments from the non-custodial parent's paycheck.  However, when other states do not allow this OR if there is no order for support, the case must be filed with the child support agency in the other state.  That state has legal jurisdiction over the non-custodial parent and takes the necessary action, while the State Attorney's Office acts as a liaison between you and the other state.  If a new support order is needed, this process could take 6-12 months.

The State of Florida has also entered into international agreements with various foreign countries for the establishment and enforcement of child support obligations.
QHow can I find out the status of my case?
Please understand that all available resources are being used to resolve your case and you must allow for the necessary time to complete research and case actions.  Frequent calls to check on the status will only delay the processing of your case.  However, if you have additional information about the non-custodial parent such as location, employment or social security number, please contact the office immediately.   To provide new information, or inquire about your case, contact out Call Center at (305) 530-2600.
QWho do I call if I am a person with a disability who needs assistance?
Please contact ADA Coordinator, at:
Voice Mail: (305) 349-7175
TDD: (305) 349-7174
Fax No:. (305) 349-7355
Email:. ADA@jud11.flcourts.org
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