Picture this: You don’t receive your child support and the arrears keep increasing, your lawyer insisted that payments be made through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) in Tallahassee, and you have a certified copy of the Clerk’s records tracking the payments (and lack thereof). If payments aren’t made through SDU, you have kept meticulous records along with copies of your bank statements to verify when you received payments. At this point, you are fed up with waiting to receive your child support payments, right?
So, you hire a lawyer to file a Motion for Contempt/Enforcement to try to collect your past due child support, or maybe you even try to do it yourself. Then, you attach to the Motion a record of the payments you received and how much the arrearages are. If payments are made through SDU, you attach a certified copy of the Clerk’s record of the payments. You set your motion for a hearing, and everything goes well. The General Magistrate finds the payor in contempt and adjudicates the amount of the arrears into a certain sum and imposes contempt sanctions. But what about interest on this adjudicated amount? Are you entitled to interest? The answer is “yes,” interest should be allowed on an arrearage judgment from the date of the last support payment to the date of the arrearage judgment. This is considered “pre-judgment interest.”
You are also entitled to interest on the judgment from the date of its entry until it is finally paid off. The interest is simple interest calculated at the rate designated by the State of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. The interest rate is recalculated on December 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1 for the following quarter.
Many times, general magistrates and judges don’t mention the interest that is owed. Your lawyer may need to point out that you are entitled to interest on your arrearage amount.
If you are lucky enough to have your arrearage judgment paid off, before the Clerk of the Court shows a satisfied judgment, you must receive the interest that has accrued on your judgment.
The collection, adjudication, payment, and satisfaction of arrearages are tricky matters. You should contact an experienced family law attorney who has experience in child support enforcement.