Can My Spouse Flee the State to Avoid Paying Alimony or Child Support?

Divorce can be complicated because the process is not only emotionally taxing, but it can also create a sense of fear for the future. In extreme cases, this mix of grief and anxiety may cause some parties to take actions to avoid their potential responsibilities. Fortunately, Florida law can help protect you and your family during the divorce and custody process by preventing a spouse from fleeing your home state.

Florida Statute 61.11 provides that a court may enter a “writ of ne exeat”, or injunction, to prevent a party from removing themselves from the jurisdiction, or removing their property from the jurisdiction, for the purpose of securing alimony or child support owed by that party.

In practical effect, this statute allows for the entry of a court order that would prevent a spouse or former spouse from leaving the state or from taking their property from the state. For example, when a parent that owes support that is deemed a credible flight risk because they have threatened and/or have taken actions to leave the state specifically to avoid paying support, the court may order that they not leave the state.

Another purpose of the statue is to order that a person not take property out of the state. This can be important when an asset or property might serve as security for payment of the support, and is applicable only to support awards, not to equitable distribution awards.

Issuance of writs or injunctive relief such as this one are considered extreme judicial remedies and the case law interpreting Fla. Stat. 61.11 has cautioned that use of such writs is only appropriate under unusual and extreme circumstances.

Divorce and family law issues can be complex. For information on how Givens Givens Sparks can assist you with your divorce and family law matters, contact our Tampa family law attorneys today.

Written by:

Blair H. Chan III, Esq. | Principal

Givens Givens Sparks

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