Statute of Limitations for Enforcement of Alimony & Child Support – in Florida No statute of limitations applies to enforcement of alimony or child support obligations; although laches can apply. “Florida does not have a limitations period for I enforcement of alimony or child-support orders, and thus Florida’s unlimited period applies. Notwithstanding the absence of a limitations period, the former wife’s action for enforcement is equitable in nature and thus may be limited by the doctrine of laches. See Dep’t of Revenue ex rel. Brown v. Steinle, 837 So. 2d 1072 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003).” Jackmore v. Jackmore
A finding of criminal contempt of court must be based upon a finding that a party has the present ability to pay. [T]he court’s finding that Mr. Keeler had the present ability to pay was ‘based upon his history of obtaining funds when needed.’ In Bowen v. Bowen, 471 So. 2d 1274, 1279 (Fla. 1985), the Florida Supreme Court stated: ‘If incarceration is deemed appropriate, the court must make a separate, affirmative finding that the contemnor possesses the present ability to comply with the purge conditions set forth in the contempt order…From the trial court’s order, it seems the judge focused on the past, not the present ability to pay. We therefore vacate the contempt but otherwise affirm.” Keeler v. Keeler,
Enforcement – Contempt of Court in Florida
If a party has a good faith basis to questions whether payments are required, contempt of court is not the appropriate remedy. An order requiring payment is the more appropriate course of action. “Because the husband had a good faith basis to question whether the medical expenses for which the wife sought payment were reasonable and necessary, we conclude that the circuit court should not have held him in contempt. See Sulman v. Sulman, 510 So. 2d 908, 909 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987) (“We do not disapprove of the trial court’s decision not to hold the former husband in contempt, since his challenge to the request to pay appears to have been in good faith and his behavior does not appear to constitute willful disobedience of a court order.”) (citation omitted). We remand for the circuit court to vacate the order of contempt and to enter an order requiring the husband to pay the wife the final charge of $169,746.82 within thirty days of the court’s order. If the husband fails to comply with that order, then the wife may file a new motion for contempt.” Lustgarten v. Lustgarten.
An order holding a party in civil contempt must recite the facts upon which the finding of present ability to pay is based. “An order holding a party in civil contempt must recite the facts upon which the finding of present ability to pay is based. Fla. Fam. L. R.P. 12.615(d)(1)” Elliot v. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw