Child Support Enforcement
By Chris Kramer
Both parents have an obligation to financially support their child after divorce. Usually one parent will be ordered to
pay child support to help provide for the child’s
needs. After the divorce court has issued a child support order, if a parent fails to make child support payments, steps may be
taken to enforce the order. Parents who
are owed child support may contact a divorce lawyer or child support enforcement agency to begin the enforcement process.
State child support agencies and divorce courts collect past due child support from a deadbeat parents using a variety of techniques:
- If a parent has failed to make the
ordered child support payments, he or she may be held in contempt of
court. At a contempt hearing, the parent
must provide the court with a legal reason for the unpaid child support or face
sanctions for violating an order of the court. A parent
found in contempt of court may also be fined, jailed and ordered to pay the
other parent’s attorneys’ fees and past-due child support.
Contempt of Court
Wage Garnishment If a parent is behind on child
support, the court may order his or her wages to be garnished to satisfy the
child support debt. The parent’s
employer then holds back the ordered amount from wages and sends it to the
child support collection agency or the custodial parent. In some states, wage garnishment is automatic
upon the issue of a child support order, to ensure that as long as the parent
is employed, child support is paid.
Seizure of Tax Refunds and Property The divorce court may also order the
deadbeat parent’s tax refund check be intercepted to pay back child
support. If the tax refund is not large
enough to satisfy the debt, the court may also seize or place a lien on
property owned by the deadbeat parent.
License Revocation When a parent doesn't pay child
support, in some states the court may order his or her driver’s license
and professional licenses revoked until the child support debt is paid.
Contact a Divorce
If you owe or are owed unpaid child support, contact a local divorce lawyer to discuss your options. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to get started on protecting your child's financial future.
The above synopsis of child support enforcement is by no means
all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. These laws
may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws
that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these
divorce laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.