There are many enforcement tools to help the parent who was ordered to receive child support but fails to receive such support from the other parent. Both the parent who is to receive child support and the parent who is ordered to pay child support should be aware of different enforcement mechanisms available. The parent receiving support, the obligee, needs to be aware of these remedies in order to collect past due child support. The parent who is ordered to pay child support, or the obligor, needs to be aware of the enforcement tools because failure to pay the support can have devastating, long-term effects on his or her financial and personal life.
Options available to enforce and compel compliance with child support obligations and collect child support arrears, including, but not limited to, the following:
- initiation of legal proceedings for contempt of court with the possibility of incarceration;
- federal criminal prosecution pursuant to the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (when the obligor and child reside in different states);
- wage withholding through the obligor’s employer;
- interception and garnishment of obligor’s federal and/or state income tax refunds;
- seizure of bank accounts;
- suspension or restriction of driver’s license;
- revocation of professional and occupational licenses;
- revocation of hunting and fishing licenses;
- placing a general lien upon real or personal property owned by the obligor;
- reporting the indebtedness to the credit reporting agencies which may adversely impact obligor’s ability to obtain credit or a loan;
- and restricting, revoking, or denying a United States passport for obligors who owe $2500 or more in child support arrears.
There are certain factors, such as the amount of the child support arrears and how long the arrears have been owed, that are usually taken into consideration in determining the appropriate collection and enforcement remedies.It should be noted, however, unlike other types of debt, child support arrears cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. The child support debt will remain due and collectible until it has been satisfied.If you are having financial problems and struggling to pay your bills, paying your child support obligation should be your number one priority. If you have experienced a change in financial condition that has impacted your ability to pay your child support obligation, you may be eligible to seek a modification or reduction in your child support payment.
Whether you are a custodial parent or a noncustodial parent, Daphne Edwards is available to assist you with your child support matter. She can provide representation in making an initial determination of child support (including high income child support), enforcement or contempt proceedings, or obtaining a modification (either an increase or reduction) in child support. Ms. Edwards is dedicated to providing compassionate guidance and effective advocacy to help you achieve the best possible outcome of your legal matter.