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Is It Possible To Collect Child Support From a Deceased Parent in Orlando?
Parents in Florida have a legal responsibility to support their children financially. If the parents divorce or are not together, the custodial parent typically receives child support from the non-custodial parent. Child support payments are based on Florida’s Child Support Guidelines.
Child support payments continue until they are modified or ended by the court. Typically, child support ends when the child turns 18 years old or is emancipated. There are a few exceptions.
However, what happens when the parent paying child support dies? Can the custodial parent still collect child support from a deceased parent in Orlando?
How Are Child Support Payments Affected by a Parent’s Death?
Some states require child support payments to continue after a parent’s death, but Florida is not one of them. When a parent dies, the child support payments end. The estate is not obligated to pay future child support payments.
However, the estate is responsible for child support arrears. Death does not forgive unpaid child support payments under Florida law.
Collecting Child Support Payments From a Parent’s Estate
If your ex-partner passes away owing back child support, you might be able to collect those funds from their probate estate. The debt carries over and becomes the responsibility of the decedent’s estate.
Florida Statute §733.707 lists the order that a personal representative must use when paying debts and expenses from the estate:
The administrative costs and expenses for the estate, including attorneys’ fees and court costs
Reasonable funeral expenses
Taxes and debts that have preference under federal law, including claims of the state
Necessary and reasonable medical bills incurred during the last 60 days of the person’s last illness
Child support arrearage from court-ordered child support obligations
Debts acquired after death to continue the person’s business
All other valid debts
Unfortunately, unpaid child support payments are low on the list of priorities for payment from the estate funds. However, depending on the size of the estate, a custodial parent might receive some or all of the child support arrearage the parent owed when they died.
The custodial parent should file a claim with the probate estate as soon as possible to avoid missing the claims deadline. The claim is a notice that the deceased owed you a debt before they died.
There are other rules and policies for payment of debts from an estate that could impact the payment of back child support. The custodial parent might want to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An Orlando child support lawyer can help the custodial parent pursue a claim for child support from the estate.
Survivor Benefits for Children After a Parent’s Death
Losing child support payments can be challenging and financially draining for a custodial parent. Therefore, it is crucial to explore survivor benefits for your children.
Children who are unmarried and under 18 years old (19 years old if attending school full time) could be eligible to receive survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration. A child with a disability that began before age 22 can receive survivor benefits at any age.
The survivor benefits are based on the parent’s earnings before death. Therefore, the benefits your child could receive through Social Security could be more than you receive in child support payments. In many cases, a surviving child could receive 75% of the parent’s benefit amount.
What Should I Do if My Ex Refuses To Pay Child Support Payments in Orlando?
There is no statute of limitations on child support payments. Therefore, the state can take numerous actions to collect child support arrears, including:
Liens on real estate
Seizing bank accounts, tax refunds, and assets of the deceased parent’s estate
Enter a judgment that accrues interest
The court can move to hold the parent in contempt of court for failing to pay child support payments. The contempt charges could result in jail time.
The state can also suspend the person’s passport, vehicle registration, license plate, and driver’s license. It can also revoke business, occupational, and other licenses.
If your ex is still living but refuses to pay child support, there are several things you can do. You can contact the Florida Department of Revenue for assistance in collecting back child support payments.
Because the state has so many cases, it could take a long time for the state to get to yours. However, you can contact an Orlando enforcement attorney about back child support payments. The attorney reviews your case during a free consultation and helps you determine your legal options for collecting child support, including filing an action with the court.